December 31, 2009: Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano today announced that she is dispatching Deputy Secretary Jane Holl Lute, Assistant Secretary for Policy David Heyman and other senior Department officials on a broad international outreach effort to meet with leaders from major international airports in Africa, Asia, Europe, the Middle East and South America to review security procedures and technology being used to screen passengers on flights bound for the United States.
“As part of the ongoing review to determine exactly what went wrong leading up to Friday’s attempted terrorist attack, we are looking not only at our own processes, but also beyond our borders to ensure effective aviation security measures are in place for U.S-bound flights that originate at international airports,” said Secretary Napolitano. “Because I am fully committed to making whatever changes are necessary to protect the safety of the traveling public, I am sending Deputy Secretary Lute and Assistant Secretary Heyman to work with our international partners on ways to collectively bolster our tactics for defeating terrorists wherever they may seek to launch an attack, and I will follow up on these efforts with ministerial-level meetings within the next few weeks.”
Deputy Secretary Lute and Assistant Secretary Heyman will first travel to Europe , departing on Monday. While there, they will brief European authorities on the findings of President Obama’s aviation security review and then report back to Secretary Napolitano on their discussions on enhancing international security measures.
Following the attempted attack on Christmas Day, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) issued a directive for additional security measures to be implemented for last point of departure international flights to the United States , such as increased gate pat-downs and bag searches. At the direction of the flight crew, passengers may also be asked to follow additional instructions, such as stowing personal items, turning off electronic equipment and remaining seated during certain portions of the flight.
Other security measures implemented have included the deployment of additional law enforcement at airports, air marshals, and explosives detection canine teams. TSA will continue to work with airline and law enforcement authorities, as well as federal, state, local and international partners to put additional security measures in place to ensure that aviation security remains strong.