In the wake of the attempted terrorist bombing of Northwest Airlines flight 253 on Christmas Day, the Transportation Security Administration today announced extra security directives to combat threats of terrorist attack, effectibe Monday, January 4.
"TSA is mandating that every individual flying into the U.S. from anywhere in the world traveling from or through nations that are state sponsors of terrorism or other countries of interest will be required to go through enhanced screening," a statement read. "The directive also increases the use of enhanced screening technologies and mandates threat-based and random screening for passengers on U.S. bound international flights."
A senior official identifies the relevant" countries of interest": Afghanistan, Algeria, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, or Yemen, or one of the following countries designated as a state sponsor of terrorism: Cuba, Iran, Sudan, and Syria.
UPDATE: The senior administration official tells us that "the majority of passengers, regardless of where they’re from, will receive threat-based and random enhanced screening."
The official adds that passengers with passports from, or who are traveling from or through, the countries discussed above will also receive enhanced screening.
So — as Brian Lehrer on WNYC asked me Monday morning — will someone with a Nigerian passport traveling from London be screened?
"The answer to your question is yes," the official said. "Someone with any other passport traveling through or from a place like Nigeria would also receive enhanced screening."
And what will enhanced screening mean?
"Enhanced screening could include measures like a full body pat down and inspection of property," the official said. "Passengers may also be screened using explosive trace detection or advanced imaging technology, where available."