(WBNG Binghamton) U.S. Senator Charles Schumer announced legislation Sunday to close the loophole in global aviation security revealed by the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.
The democratic senator said shortly after the plane went missing, it was revealed that two passengers on the flight were traveling on stolen passports, an indication that foul play may be involved in the disappearance. Even more troubling, he said, it was revealed that only three nations regularly check air passengers against Interpol’s stolen passport database, and that fewer than 20 of Interpol’s 190 member countries used the database even once last year.
The database contains 40 million entries and includes a list of missing or stolen, passports and the names of war criminals, suspected terrorists, and others who are suspected of major crimes.
“In a post 9/11 world, when we’ve all seen the destruction compromised planes can cause, it boggles the mind that every country in the world is not using this free database,” said Schumer. “For the security of everyone in the air and on the ground, we need to make sure that the people who are flying are who they say they are, otherwise we’re opening ourselves up to destructive acts of terrorism.”
Schumer’s legislation, the Transnational Regulation of Identity of Passports Act, would remove countries from the Unites States’ Visa Waiver Program if they have not begun the process of implementing infrastructure to screen passengers on international flights against the Interpol’s Stolen and Lost Travel Documents database within five years of passage.
It would also deny any country from entering the Visa Waiver Program if they have not made significant progress in implementing infrastructure to screen passengers against the STLD database, starting five years after passage.
Finally, the legislation would deny tourist and business visas to citizens to any country that has not made progress in implementing infrastructure to screen passengers against the STLD database within ten years of passage.
On March 8, Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 disappeared on a trip from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. The plane still has not been found, and many experts fear that foul play was involved.