U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano will dispatch senior agency officials to meet with airport executives around the world to review security and technology used to screen passengers on U.S.-bound flights, the department said.
The decision was announced late on Thursday, six days after a botched attempt by a Nigerian man to blow up a plane en route to Detroit from Amsterdam.
Deputy Secretary Jane Holl Lute and Assistant Secretary for Policy David Heyman will spearhead a broad international outreach effort at major international airports in Africa, Asia, Europe, the Middle East and South America, the department said in a statement.
"We are looking not only at our own processes, but also beyond our borders to ensure effective aviation security measures are in place for U.S-bound flights that originate at international airports," Napolitano said in the statement.
"I will follow up on these efforts with ministerial-level meetings within the next few weeks," she said.
From the New York Times, on increased international travel security:
Citizens of 14 nations, including Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Nigeria, who are flying to the United States will be subjected indefinitely to the intense screening at airports worldwide that was imposed after the Christmas Day bombing plot, Obama administration officials announced Sunday.
But American citizens, and most others who are not flying through those 14 nations on their way to the United States, will no longer automatically face the full range of intensified security that was imposed after the attempted bombing of a Northwest Airlines flight, officials said.
In the immediate aftermath of the episode, officials had put in place heightened restrictions, and the change on Sunday represents an easing of that response. But the action on Sunday further establishes a global security system that treats people differently based on what country they are from, evoking protests from civil rights groups.
Citizens of Cuba, Iran, Sudan and Syria, countries that are considered "state sponsors of terrorism," as well as those of "countries of interest" - including Afghanistan, Algeria, Lebanon, Libya, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia and Yemen - will face the special scrutiny, officials said.
From the San Diego Union Tribune, on Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative requirements at the nation's borders and ports of entry:
There are no public events scheduled for today.
U.S. citizens entering the United States at land or sea ports from Mexico, Canada, Bermuda and the Caribbean must present one of these documents:
. U.S. passport or passport card
. Trusted-traveler document, such as SENTRI
. Radio-chip-enhanced driver's license available in some states, but not California
. Birth certificate or naturalization certificate for minors younger than 16
. Tribal identification
. Military identification for service members traveling under orders
In the months following the implementation of new travel-document requirements at U.S. land and sea port of entries last June, there was a spike in the number of people arrested along the southern border posing as U.S. citizens, customs officials say.
Between June 1 and the end of August, the latest period for which information is available, there was a 30 percent increase compared with the same period a year earlier in the number of people who tried to enter illegally by either declaring themselves to be U.S. citizens, posing as citizens using someone else's documents, or using phony ones.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials aren't sure why the increase has occurred, but believe it is tied to the introduction of stricter document requirements at the border that began last year. Among other things, it has been a year since oral declarations of citizenship, once an accepted practice, were ruled out and travelers were required to present some sort of identification.