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Napolitano: Here’s How We’re Fixing Air Travel

Sure, she got quoted out of context immediately after the near-attack on Northwest Airlines Flight 253. But in her testimony this morning to the Senate’s homeland-security panel, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano referred to ”the terrorist attack aboard Northwest Flight 253,” not anything about how the system worked after Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was subdued. (Although she reminded the panel that was true as well.) He “never should’ve been allowed board the aircraft with explosives,” Napolitano said.

So what will the Department of Homeland Security do? In addition to the enhanced screening underway now — Napolitano did not refer specifically to the rules for extra screening of Muslim air passengers from the 14 “countries of interest” — the secretary said aviation security is “increasingly an international responsibility,” so she’s traveling tonight to meet with the European Union to discuss “information sharing, technology and other related issues.” DHS is partnering with the Energy Department to “improve screening technology at domestic airports,” including deployment of 450 advanced imaging technology and explosive detection systems by the end of the year. Air marshalls and other aviation law-enforcement systems will be enhanced. And she pledged to work with the rest of the Obama administration to fix the watchlisting criteria and standards.

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