New No-Fly Policy at Airports Across the US


airport-securityThe US Department of Homeland Security is making key changes to its policy regarding the No-Fly list and how airlines go about checking passengers. It’s now requiring the carriers to check updated lists within two hours of being notified after one of two key lapses that almost let the recent Times Square suspect get away.

The first lapse occurred after, somehow, the FBI surveillance team, which had been tailing Times Square suspect Mr. Shahzad in Bridgeport, Conn., since Sunday, lost him at some point before he bolted for the airport on Monday night.

The second happened when Shahzad made his resveration by phone from the car – no questions asked – despite an electronic notification from the Department of Homeland Security on Monday telling airlines to check for an updated No-Fly list.

But Emirates Airlines apparently did not check.

Shahzad then paid for his ticket in case and walked on board – almost home free – with the plane starting to back away until the pilots received a message from air traffic control to return to the gates immediately.

It wasn’t until the airline sent the final passenger list to Customs that Customs agents quickly made a match and ordered the plane back to the gate. That’s when agents boarded the plane and arrested Shahzad.

“They went up to one guy who had white shirt and blue jeans and they told him ‘Can you get your luggage with you and your passport and can you come with us back to the terminal?’ And there was another one that had a black shirt and I think black pants,” said a passenger who witnessed the arrest.

Shahzad, however, didn’t sound as surprised as others when he was approached by agents. “I was expecting you. Are you NYPD or FBI?” Shahzad told customs officials who came aboard the jet to arrest him, an official with knowledge of the investigation told The Associated Press today, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the case.

Authorities say Shahzad has admitted his role in the botched bombing plot and is cooperating with investigators, but don’t yet know whether others were involved in the plan to blow up the SUV.

{WCBS-TV/Noam Newcenter}