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Passengers to receive rating risk in US when flying
Posted on Tue, Sep. 09, 2003

New air travel database will assess risk posed by all passengers
Washington Post Service

WASHINGTON - In the most aggressive -- and, some say, invasive -- step yet to protect air travelers, the federal government and the airlines will phase in a computer system next year to measure the risk posed by every passenger on every flight in the United States.

The new Transportation Security Administration system seeks to probe deeper into each passenger's identity than is currently possible, comparing personal information against criminal records and intelligence information. Passengers will be assigned a color code -- green, yellow or red -- based, in part, on their city of departure, destination, traveling companions and date of ticket purchase.

Most people will be coded green and sail through. But up to 8 percent of passengers who board the nation's 26,000 daily flights will be coded ''yellow'' and will undergo additional screening at the checkpoint, according to people familiar with the program. An estimated 1 percent to 2 percent will be labeled ''red'' and will be prohibited from boarding. These passengers will face police questioning and may be arrested.

The system ''will provide protections for the flying public,'' said Transportation Security Administration spokesman Brian Turmail. ``Not only should we keep passengers from sitting next to a terrorist, we should keep them from sitting next to wanted ax murderers.''

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