Homeland Security: Better Use of Terrorist Watchlist Information and Improvements in Deployment of Passenger Screening Checkpoint Technologies Could Further Strengthen Security
The December 25, 2009, attempted bombing of flight 253 raised questions about the federal government's ability to protect the homeland and secure the commercial aviation system. This statement focuses on the government's efforts to use the terrorist watchlist to screen individuals and determine if they pose a threat, and how failures in this process contributed to the December 25 attempted attack. This statement also addresses the Transportation Security Administration's (TSA) planned deployment of technologies for enhanced explosive detection and the challenges associated with this deployment. GAO's comments are based on products issued from September 2006 through October 2009 and selected updates in January 2010. For these updates, GAO reviewed government reports related to the December 25 attempted attack and obtained information from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and TSA on use of the watchlist and new technologies for screening airline passengers.