The United States is refusing to participate in a new aviation-security program designed to stop people from even buying a plane ticket if they're using stolen or bogus passports, the head of Interpol said.
In an exclusive interview with ABC News, Interpol Secretary General Ronald Noble said he was surprised to learn that U.S. officials will not enter his agency's new I-Checkit program, scheduled to kick off in the coming weeks. The system would add a new layer of security and would apply to Americans traveling with U.S. passports, even if they're not going through American airports.
"The U.S. should embrace (the program) enthusiastically," Noble, the only American to lead the global police organization, told ABC News. "I'm 100 percent convinced that ... the highest levels of the U.S. government -- if they knew about the option the U.S. is not exercising -- they would change it right away."
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security, which oversees passport control and airport security, may still decide to opt in to the new Interpol program, officials said.
The department, "in consultation with our interagency partners, is currently reviewing Interpol's proposed program and has not yet come to a final decision," spokesman Peter Boogaard said.
Regardless of the final decision, Boogaard insisted that the United States is aggressive when it comes to aviation security.
"Any international airport that has a direct flight to the United States must abide by strict U.S. security measures, which include appropriate verification of all travel documents," Boogaard said.