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Feds on terror lookout for 'high-risk' Pakistanis


Department of Homeland Security agents

Pakistani travelers are the focus of a new temporary watchlist the federal government has created to identify high-risk passengers entering the United States, WND has learned.

The Department of Homeland Security has programmed a computer system that screens inbound passengers for signs of terror activity to flag certain individuals traveling from Pakistan. The system automatically creates a “one-day lookout” for the individuals in the official terror-watchlist database.

U.S. authorities are on high alert for Pakistani travelers who pose a possible terror risk after American spy satellites recently turned up photographic evidence of al-Qaida training camps inside Pakistan, U.S. officials say.

According to internal DHS documents obtained by WND, the department has directed customs officers to escort passengers identified by the “one-day lookouts” to secondary inspection, where they are subjected to a battery of questions to determine if they have visited terror camps in Pakistan.

American citizens of Pakistan descent also are under increased scrutiny. Over the past few years, U.S. authorities have arrested or investigated several Pakistani-American men who have trained at the camps during trips to Pakistan. One camp used photos of President Bush for target practice.

“The camps are a big concern,” said a DHS official, who requested anonymity. “We are questioning U.S. citizens, as well as Pakistani nationals, as they come back to the states if the computer says they might have terrorist ties.”

Vice President Dick Cheney earlier this week confronted Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf with “compelling” evidence of active al-Qaida camps inside Pakistan. The two met face-to-face in Islamabad.



Cheney’s secret visit revealed new cracks in an already fragile alliance between Washington and Islamabad in the war on terror. Musharraf has denied the existence of terror camps in his country, even as authorities have traced major British terror plots back to al-Qaida-tied madrassas and camps in Pakistan.

DHS refers to the ramped-up screening process for Pakistani and other high-risk travelers as “augmented primary.”

The “one-day lookout” is usually the result of analysis conducted on passenger information submitted by the airline prior to an international flight’s arrival in the U.S.

Muslim-rights groups and Democratic leaders in Congress have complained the government’s use of such information to “profile” potential terrorists constitutes an invasion of privacy. The government has said the nation’s ability to spot security threats would be critically impaired without access to such data.

DHS officials claim the system has resulted in several suspected terrorists being turned away or apprehended.

According to DHS documents, the airline-passenger information is fed into a so-called Automated Targeting System, or ATS-P, which flags inbound passengers who may pose a terrorism risk based on various criteria, including: