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Bin Laden fallout: Do US trains need a 'no-ride list'?

Osama bin Laden wanted Al Qaeda to attack US rail transportation on the 9/11 anniversary, according to intelligence taken from his compound. A 'no-ride list' for Amtrak is being considered.

An Amtrak train leaves the station in Detroit on Monday, May 9. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood was in New York on Sunday to announce $2 billion in high speed rail awards.

Paul Sancya/AP

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On Sunday night, as he traveled from Washington to New York, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood says Amtrak brought sniffer dogs on the train at every stop.

Not surprisingly, Mr. LaHood says he felt safe.

But, are the rails really as secure as they can be?

The question is important considering that as part of its treasure trove of intelligence gathered up at Osama bin Laden’s compound, was a plan to try to disrupt rail transportation on the 10th anniversary of 9/11.

Considering bin Laden’s interest in rail – including bombings in Europe – some legislators are wondering if Amtrak should emulate airlines with a “no ride list,” that duplicates the “no fly list.” Unlike air travelers, rail passengers do not have to go through electronic scanning machines or have their luggage checked. And most Amtrak trains don’t have armed marshals aboard as some flights to.

“We’re going to look at all these security matters,” Mr. LaHood said at a press conference on Monday in New York. “We’re going to look at everything and then we’ll make a judgment with our friends in Congress and decide what direction we should go.”


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