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Homeland Security director answers questions on airline security

USA Today's editorial board recently conducted a Q&A with Homeland Security Director Michael Chertoff. The questions, partly geared toward security efforts currently in place and partly toward new ideas for airport security, revealed a few interesting items.

Among them, Chertoff says, "We are training our screening officers in behavioral pattern recognition [rather than profiling], looking at ways people behave that will actually suggest they're trying to hide something."

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Also of note, Chertoff is asked about the "very obvious security gap regarding [the] less stringent screening of cargo shipments that are placed on passenger planes." While acknowledging it is a threat, he says the likelihood of such an attack—given the various factors involved in implementing one—is very low.

"They would really have no way of knowing in advance whether a particular package would wind up on a passenger plane ... The idea that anybody can come up and stick something in a passenger plane and know it's going to go there is actually not true," says Chertoff.

The interview also addresses the Registered Travel program, civil liberties, and the convenience factor of flying with these current restrictions. It's a fascinating Q&A and certainly worth a read.

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