Frenchwoman needed tougher screening

2012-05-23 22:08

Washington - A French woman whose bizarre behaviour triggered a major security alert on a US-bound transatlantic flight should have undergone tighter screening when she left Paris, the head of Congress' security committee said on Wednesday.

Representative Peter King, chair of the House Homeland Security Committee, said there should have been red flags when the woman boarded.

"Even though she was flying without luggage and she was flying for 10 days, I think if that had been in the US, she would have been taken aside for secondary screening and would have been questioned and asked, you know, where she was going and why she was doing this, and they would have asked a series of questions trying to get some indicators from her," he said on CNN.

Mid-flight on Tuesday, the woman told crew she had a "surgically implanted device" inside her, according to King.

The US Airways plane, flying from Paris, was diverted to Maine, where the woman was taken into custody by the FBI before the Boeing 767 continued its journey to Charlotte, North Carolina.

Coming on the heels of a thwarted airline bomb plot by al-Qaeda's Yemen branch, the incident has laid bare US worry over shifting tactics of militants as they seek new ways - and new technologies, including non-metallic bombs - to penetrate ever-tighter US security.

Last year, US officials warned airlines that militant groups were studying how to surgically hide bombs inside humans to evade airport checks.

However, officials quickly said that the plane was not at risk and further checks on the woman revealed she had no apparent connections to militant groups.

"She's been checked through all of the data bases. Her name has not shown up anywhere which is also a good sign," King said.

Read more on:    us airways  |  al-qaeda  |  us  |  air travel  |  us terror threat

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