All flights entering the United States will now be subjected to increased levels of security screening, the federal government announced Friday.
A senior administration official told CNN that racial or religious characteristics could be used to identify passengers requiring a more thorough review, though the official insisted the new system will not constitute racial profiling.
Among other things, passengers entering the country from international destinations "may notice enhanced security and random screening measures throughout the passenger check-in and boarding process, including the use of explosives trace detection, advanced imaging technology, canine teams, or pat downs, among other security measures," according to a statement from the Department of Homeland Security.
The new security measures are the result of a review President Barack Obama ordered after a Nigerian national tried to blow up a Northwest Airlines flight from Amsterdam, Netherlands, to Detroit, Michigan, on December 25. Emergency measures put in place after the failed Christmas Day attack will be superseded by the new rules.
"These new measures utilize real-time, threat-based intelligence along with multiple, random layers of security, both seen and unseen, to more effectively mitigate evolving terrorist threats," Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said.
The new security steps will begin Friday but will take a short period of time to fully implement, the senior administration official said.
The new level of screening will augment the no-fly and selectee lists. Those lists require a full name, a date of birth, and other information. This new system will use "fragmentary information" that might include travel itinerary, age, partial passport information, and a partial name, the official added.