PositionUS Transportation Security Administration - Visa Waiver Programme

The United States' response to the foiled airline terrorist plot, on 25 December 2009, is taking shape and it looks like it will involve intensifying cooperation with European governments and airlines. US President Barack Obama, speaking on 5 January after discussing the incident with top security officials, said he had ordered "new screening and security for all flights, domestic and international; more explosive detection teams at airports; more air marshals on flights; and deepening cooperation with international partners". He added that the US' no fly' list system would be strengthened. Details would be announced in the days ahead on how to bring about "better integration of information and enhanced passenger screening for air travel".

The incident, in which a Nigerian man,aUmar Farouk Abdulmutallab, tried to blow up a Northwest Airlines flight en route from Amsterdam to Detroit, looks like accelerating the introduction of whole body image scanners, which has been held up due to personal privacy concerns. The US Transportation Security Administration announced that all international airlines with US-bound flights must, from 4 January, go through "enhanced screening" if travelling through nations that the US deems state sponsors of terrorism or "other countries of interest". The thwarted bomber began his journey in Lagos, Nigeria, before passing through Amsterdam.

The impact this will have on terrorist data sharing arrangements between the EU and US authorities is less clear. President Obama said the incident "was not a failure to collect...

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