The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has called on the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to increase security and to perform “enhanced security measures” at airports overseas that have flights that fly directly to the United States.
The directive comes after military leaders within the U.S. government have warned of the potential for al Qaeda-linked fighters using Western passports to bypass no-fly lists. The threat is thought to come from eastern Syria and and western Iraq, where there has been an increased flow of people from those regions to Europe. It is believed that these foreign fighters have access to American and European-style passports.
In a statement, Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson said, “DHS continually assesses the global threat environment and reevaluates the measures we take to promote aviation security. As part of this ongoing process, I have directed TSA to implement enhanced security measures in the coming days at certain overseas airports with direct flights to the United States. We will work to ensure these necessary steps pose as few disruptions to travelers as possible.”
According to Air Force General Philip Breedlove, one of the military leaders who has “great concern” over the threat, said that the department is sharing information with foreign allies as well as leaders of the aviation industry. General Breedlove said “These communications are an important part of our commitment to providing our security partners with situational awareness about the current environment and protecting the traveling public.”
Secretary Johnson said that the department will do everything in its power to prevent inconveniences for travelers over the July 4th holiday weekend.