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Credit Checks On Suspicious Air Traveler

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Jun 5, 2002
Credit Checks Sought On Suspicious Air Travelers
Fri Jun 07 2002 11:13:16 ET

Uncle Sam may soon want to check passengers"credit histories before they board airplanes, the WALL STREET JOURNAL reported on Friday. The Transportation Security Administration is enlisting companies that analyze personal credit-card and insurance records.

"The aim is to target suspicious travelers when they make a reservation so that by the time they show up at the airport, authorities will be on alert."

The US "is asking a handful of firms that provide fraud- detection technology for credit-card companies or insurers, such as HNC Software Inc. and Infoglide Software Corp., to demonstrate how the government could run airline passengers' names against various databases to identify potential terrorists. The government hasn't disclosed what databases it plans to tap, but efforts to expand what authorities know about air travelers are taking wing.

"The project, run out of the TSA, is seeking help from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other law-enforcement agencies that keep lists of people wanted by the government. The TSA is asking Congress for $45 million to fund the project."

Ok, I may be a little slow...but how is a credit check going to determine anything?? It sounds like that if you just get a credit card and use it to buy a ticket...short notice too, that BAM (with emeral enthusiasm) your a terrorist.

Wouldnt most terrorists pay with cash so their is no "paper trail"? I think that all this will do is waste $45 million dollars and harass ALOT of people who are normal and decent human beings.

Let me guess ....if Ahab the Arab gets selected as being suspicious....LAWSUIT...were profiling again. Or we are only picking on him because of where he is from.

WHATEVER....save the money for something usefull.

You mean you've never noticed that little box on the loan applications that reads "Check here if you're a terrorist"? - It's usually somewhere towards the bottom!
Expand those minds a bit, gents. It's all about information. Credit information contains more than simply a rating. Software used to look into someone's life can track credit card purchases, bank information, and just about anything else concerning an individual (or an identity) that might need to be known. That information can be compared against other data from other sources to form a more complete picture. It's not a panacea; it's another tool with additional information to assist in a very big project.

Credit information can be used to track movements. Someone wants into an apartment, they go through a background check. Their location and information is fixed, data provided, and a trail set. Someone uses a point of sale somewhere, it's recorded and cataloged.

Someone is using an identification of someone else or stolen ID, it's easier to catch it.

The individuals implicated in some of the more recent public activities had legal paperwork, and were under a strict edict to blend in. Get drivers licenses, get credit cards. Do everything that everyone else does, in order to not attract attention.

Certainly the system can be circumvented, but that act alone draws attention, and redflags the actor. Certainly cash payments may draw attention more than credit card payments, as do short notice bookings, etc.

Rather than decrying every security initiative and whining about toe nail clippers, shoes, and nail files, look at the bigger picture. Don't look at what it doesn't do, look at what it does do. It's more than you think. Appreciate the fact that perhaps you're not a security expert, and that the system really is doing something. Perhaps you don't know everything, and before being too critical of the evolving system, support it. It's for your own good, as well as that of every other employee and traveler.
Seems our government will do anything to avoid profiling. Don't wanna lose those Muslim votes for 04, do ya George?

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