|U.S. Begins Fingerprinting at Airports
New York Times
January 5, 2004
In Security Push, U.S. Begins Fingerprinting at Airports
By CHRISTINE HAUSER
he United States began finger-printing and photographing foreigners at airports and seaports in the United States today in a pilot program that Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge said was intended to keep borders open and the country more secure.
The program was launched at 115 airports and at cruise ship terminals at 14 seaports, Mr. Ridge told a news conference in Atlanta this morning.
The program involves finger-printing and taking digital photographs of foreigners at airports. Mr. Ridge said that a test-run of the program in Atlanta in the past several weeks has screened 20,000 travelers, yielding "21 hits" on the Federal Bureau of Investigation's criminal watch list, including people with prior convictions of statutory rape, drugs and visa fraud.
"It is part of a comprehensive program to ensure that our borders remain open to visitors but closed to terrorists," Mr. Ridge said.
The Bush administration began an aggressive approach to defending American airspace when the nation was put on orange or "high" alert on Dec. 21. Since then, at least seven international flights have been canceled because of security concerns.
But administration officials have said no arrests had been made in connection with any of the more than a dozen international flights subjected to rigorous scrutiny, and they have acknowledged that they are uncertain whether they have succeeded in foiling a terrorist plot.
Mr. Ridge said the new national program would "facilitate legitimate travel and trade" while allowing customs and border protection officials to focus on "at-risk" travelers and allowing immigration officials to confirm identities of passengers and ensure that they are adhering to visa policies.
He said the finger-scanning and photographing would only add 15 seconds to the entry process. "We are adding an import layer of security," Mr. Ridge said.
The program, known as "U.S.-Visit," is the first in a series of steps that American officials will take at borders this year. Citizens from 28 countries will be exempt from the new program, mostly European nations whose citizens are allowed to come to the United States for up to 90 days without visas.
But Mr. Ridge told CNN that in October this year, everyone will be required to present machine-readable passports and other forms of biometric identifiers.
"For the time being it is a matter of policy," he said. "We are going after those countries where they need visas."
Asked about the numbers of flights delayed to the United States because of security concerns, Mr. Ridge said, "I think we will probably see more and more of this in the future as long as the intelligence pushes us in that direction."
The Bush administration has faced questions from American allies about the reliability of the intelligence information that has led to the recent rash of flight cancellations.
British Airways canceled a flight to the United States on Friday, grounding a flight from London to Washington.
On Sunday, the British transportation minister, Alistair Darling, said travelers will face security-related flight delays and cancellations "for many years to come" and Prime Minister Tony Blair renewed warnings of terror attacks, according to remarks published by The Associated Press.
"You know the terrorist threat is real right around the world at the present time," Mr. Blair told reporters while flying home from a visit to Iraq. "Nobody is immune from it; you have to remain vigilant."
||I can't wait to give a finger to america hahahaha
||Brazilcive se ludi :)
The U.S. State Department has changed its stance on a new Brazilian security process for U.S. citizens entering the South American nation. Washington is now urging Brazil to alter its new process of fingerprinting and photographing U.S. visitors.
"We have told the Brazilians that we think that these are measures that provide tremendous inconvenience to travelers and that they need to be changed," State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said Tuesday.
Just last week, Boucher's deputy -- J. Adam Ereli -- said the United States understood Brazil's new policy. "This is their sovereign right to do if they want to do it." Ereli said.
Brazil's program began after a similar process was announced for the United States. The US-VISIT program began January 5 and applies to any visitor, including Brazilians, who are required to have visa to enter the United States. Visitors from most European nations are excluded
Outside the United States, there has been a backlash as well.
In reaction to the U.S. policy, Brazil last week began fingerprinting and photographing American visitors arriving at Sao Paulo's airport. Brazil's Foreign Ministry has also requested that Brazilians be removed from the U.S. list.
Ridge said that "if the Brazilian government thinks it's in their interests (to fingerprint and photograph Americans), so be it."
"It's not two standards, one for the United States and one for the rest of the world," he said.
The U.S. program, which has a budget of $380 million, will require an estimated 24 million visitors to submit two finger scans and have a photograph taken upon entering any of 115 airports or 14 seaports.
Homeland Security spokesman Bill Strassberger said once screeners become proficient, the extra security will take only 10 to 15 seconds per person, The Associated Press reported.
Inkless fingerprints will be taken and checked instantly against a digital database for criminal backgrounds and any terrorist lists. The process will be repeated when visitors leave the United States as an extra security measure and to ensure they complied with visa limitations.
||SAD nezadovoljne kako Brazil tretira americke putnike
SAD su zatrazile od Brazila da ukine mere prema americkim drzavljanima, od kojih se na aerodromima zahteva da daju otiske prstiju i da se fotografishu. Vashington smatra da takvo maltretiranje, koje su brazilske vlasti uvele kao odgovor na iste takve mere SAD prema strancima, "nije dobrodoshlo", kao i da je "nepravedno i suprotno interesima i Brazila i SAD". "To shto vidimo je jedan program sproveden navrat-nanos, ne bash dobro pripremljen i koji dovodi do znacajnih kashnjenja (letova)", izjavio je portparol Stejt departmenta Ricard Baucer. "Ta kashnjenja nisu u interesu SAD, americkih putnika, a zaista ni u interesu Brazila, ako zeli da privuce poslovne ljude i turiste", dodao je on. "Rekli smo Brazilcima da te mere predstavljaju veliko maltretiranje za putnike i da ih treba izmeniti", rekao je Baucer
ova nevazi za kengurite deka sne epten dobri lujgi i site imat poverejne vo nas, ili pa ic ne nejcat amerikancite i nemu vredi da gubat vreme i da trosat film za da ne slikat [:p][:o)][:D]