Resolution Approved by Homeland Security Committee with Unanimous Support
May 12 2011
WASHINGTON – Today, Sen. Tom Carper cosponsored a resolution emphasizing the importance of sharing airline passengers' names to prevent terrorists from boarding airplanes bound for the U.S.
The resolution, passed by the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee (HSGAC) Wednesday, comes as the European Union seeks changes to an agreement with the United States on Passenger Name Record (PNR) data, which was supposed to be in effect until 2014. This agreement allows Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to begin pre-screening international flights against terrorism databases 72 hours before the flights are scheduled to depart. HSGAC Chairman Joe Lieberman, ID-Conn., and Ranking Member Susan Collins, R-Me. introduced the measure.
Data collected from the airlines' PNR systems have also contributed to terrorism investigations and to the arrests of Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad and David Headley, who helped mastermind the 2009 Mumbai attacks.
"While it has been nearly a decade since the 9/11 attacks that sharpened our focus on fighting terrorism and protecting our vulnerable infrastructure, we cannot let our defenses down and must adapt as terrorists change their tactics," said Sen. Carper. "Passenger Name Record data is an invaluable resource in the ongoing fight against terrorism. It helps officials prevent those who want to harm Americans from boarding planes in the first place, and helps catch other terrorists before they can cause more devastation. While we must continue to strengthen transportation security and make sure we have the best information possible, it is just as important to ensure innocent travelers' personal information is not misused in any way. There is still more work we can do to make our aviation transportation sector – and homeland – more secure, and our Passenger Name Record agreement must stay intact to better ensure the safety of all citizens."
The measure passed unanimously by voice vote and now heads for the Senate floor.