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New airport security plans: less frisking, more 'pre-screening'

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US officials are getting better at focusing their efforts, Napolitano argued Monday. “Our experience over the past several years has made us smarter about the terrorist threats we face and how we best deal with them,” Napolitano said. “We have learned that we can apply different protocols in different cases.”

Doing just that among airport travelers, for example, makes good business sense. “Simply put, our homeland security and our economic security go hand-in-hand,” she added. “We must recognize that security and efficiency are not mutually exclusive.”

Napolitano argued Monday that pre-check screenings do not involve “profiling” passengers, nor do security measures in which some passengers may receive more robust screening. “For example, we may have information that certain travel routes are problematic,” Napolitano said. 

Likewise, it may involve not intensely screening all passengers from a certain country, but “certain males” that may have traveled to a series of “certain countries” and are, say, between the ages of 20 and 50.

Along with people-screening, the department is also working with more than 80 other countries to prevent certain chemicals into the US through “theft or diversion of precursor chemicals that can be used to make improvised explosive devices, or IEDs." 

To date, DHS has sized more than 62 metric tons of materials, including certain kinds of agricultural fertilizers that can be used in explosives. 

Napolitano acknowledged that when it comes to American-made semiautomatic weapons that are increasingly being used by Mexican drug cartels, “serious mistakes were made” and DHS officials are working to make sure that “those kinds of mistakes are never again repeated.” 

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