More Random Screenings at US Airports

POSTED: Monday, January 4, 2010 - 11:19am

UPDATED: Thursday, June 3, 2010 - 11:59pm

New screening rules were not a factor in a security scare last night in Newark after a man walked the wrong way through a checkpoint and disappeared. Hundreds of passengers had to be re-screened. Flights were delayed hours.

Now as of midnight, new rules mean tighter security for all travelers bound for the U.S. More random screenings: pat-downs, bag searches and body scans. Passengers from 14 named countries…all deemed state sponsors of terror or countries of interest can expect such checks across the board.

That includes Yemen, the country where President Obama said Nigerian-born Umar Abdulmutallab was trained to carry out the Christmas day bomb plot. "This group-al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula-trained him, equipped him with those explosives and directed him to attack that plane headed for America," said Obama.

Now in custody, investigators are questioning the accused bomber about al Qaeda in Yemen. John Brennan, Deputy National Security Advisor for Counterterrorism & Homeland Security said, "There is advantage to talking to us in terms of plea agreements, we're going to pursue that." Critics say the case doesn't belong in civilian court.

South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint said, "If we had treated this Christmas Day bomber as a terrorist, he would have immediately been interrogated military-style." In Yemen today, the U.S. and British Embassies remain closed, citing threats by al Qaeda.