U.S. Government Wants to Increase Trusted Travelers Amid Terror Threats

The U.S. must bolster its trusted traveler programs as it works to thwart terror threats so that customs workers can focus on people most likely to cause harm, Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Alan Bersin said.

Customs, which runs the so-called Global Entry program and programs focusing on borders with Canada and Mexico, wants to increase the number of participants in those programs to 3.5 million people in two to three years from the approximately 900,000 now registered, Bersin said today at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington. The programs’ automated kiosks would help speed pre-approved travelers through customs lines as they enter the U.S., he said.

“Our inspectors will be able to spend time on those travelers about whom we do not have a level of confidence to hasten your movement through the line,” he said.

Bersin’s comments come almost a year after Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, a Nigerian man, hid explosives in his underwear and tried to detonate them on a Northwest Airlines flight to Detroit. Abdulmutallab had been flagged for secondary screening once his international flight reached the U.S., which “would have been too late,” Bersin said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Angela Greiling Keane in Washington at agreilingkea@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Bernie Kohn at bkohn2@bloomberg.net.

Press spacebar to pause and continue. Press esc to stop.

Bloomberg reserves the right to remove comments but is under no obligation to do so, or to explain individual moderation decisions.

Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.