Obama orders review of screening technology, watch list system

In the wake of an attempted in-air terrorist attack on Christmas Day, the president ordered the Homeland Security Department on Tuesday to lead a review of aviation screening technology and report results to the White House by Thursday.

In the wake of an attempted in-air terrorist attack on Christmas Day, the president ordered the Homeland Security Department on Tuesday to lead a review of aviation screening technology and report results to the White House by Thursday.

President Obama also released a memo directing the White House to lead an interagency review of the terrorist watch list to determine if different standards and practices would have thwarted the bombing plot.

DHS will work with other agencies, including the Defense, State and Energy departments as well as the Attorney General and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence to review processes for ensuring air travel is safe. The department will provide the White House by Dec. 31 a preliminary report that includes recommendations for strengthening screening technology and procedures, and an outline for how DHS plans to work in the future.

"All aspects of aviation screening technology and procedures regarding domestic and international air travel should be considered as part of this review," Obama said in the memo. He noted that the review should not interfere with the ongoing criminal investigation and prosecution of those involved in the attempt to detonate an explosive device on a Northwest flight on Dec. 25.

Other reports have stated the Christmas Day attempted bombing may have been prevented with the use of full-body scanners, which privacy groups argue are too intrusive because they show an image of a traveler's entire body.

A second memo ordered an inventory of all intelligence that existed prior to and up through Dec. 25 that was relevant to the attempted bombing. Agencies should also "provide written account of how any such intelligence or other information was handled, shared and acted upon within individual departments and agencies and what intelligence or other information was shared with others."

In addition, the memo ordered a written account of the standards and processes for approving or denying individuals for placement on the terrorist watch list, including a summary of how those standards and practices have developed or have been revised since 2001.

The White House will provide guidance based on the reports, according to the memos.

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