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U.S. to further tighten passport rules

The AP is reporting that Homeland Security will require "virtually all air travelers" entering the U.S. (including U.S. citizens) to show passports beginning January 23.

"Until now," the AP says, "U.S. citizens, travelers from Canada and Bermuda, and some travelers from Mexico who have special border-crossing cards for frequent visitors were allowed to show other proofs of identification, such as drivers' licenses or birth certificates."

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"Each of these steps raises the bar to an attack," says Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff. "None of this is perfect. None of them is foolproof. But we're always better off when we build higher levels of security."

You'll recall that Congress previously approved an amendment to the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative that delayed the passport requirement for land and sea border crossings from some countries until June 1, 2009.

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