Instances of travelers being mistaken for people on terror watch list are likely to be less as the airlines flying to US are collecting each passenger’s detailed information while they book the tickets, under the Secure Flight Program recommended after 9/11 terrorist attacks.
“When someone makes a flight reservation, the information goes to the Secure Flight database within seconds,” John Pistole, chief of the US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) told an international news agency.
The program gives security authorities enough time to identify a suspect. This will enable them to remove any suspected terrorists from flights well ahead in time.
Airport security rules in the United States have been going through undulating changes over the period of last ten years, followed by the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The recent furor over TSA’s body screening rules, involving full body scans showing naked images of passengers and intrusive pat-downs, was an addition only to the whole situation.
Amidst all such woes, misidentification of travelers is yet another inconvenience many innocent passengers, including famous figures, have gone through as they were mistaken for terror suspects just because of their names. In August 2009, Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan was questioned for two hours by U.S. immigration officials. He was released only after the Indian Embassy intervened.
Now, with the TSA implementing the Secure Flight Program, the occurance of such instances are likely to fall. To a question if such occurrences have already reduced, Pistole said, It's just still too early to say.”