Interpol introduces heightened passport screening program

Interpol Secretary General Ronald K. Noble said on Tuesday at the Aviation Security and Border Control Summit that Interpol is rolling out a heightened screening program in order to fix "a gaping hole in aviation security."

Nobel said the program, called "I-Checkit," will allow an airline or ticket agency to verify that a passport has not been marked as lost or stolen before it issues a ticket. The 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center in New York City and the 2003 assassination of Serbia's former prime minister were both committed by travelers with stolen passports.

"We still rely on a model where governments are left alone to screen the waves of individuals crossing borders on a daily basis," Noble said. "A model where in far too many countries we wait for threats to reach an airport, before trying to identify them as such - when it is just tragically too late, as history has taught us."

Noble said travelers are expected to increase from 1 billion to 1.95 billion by 2025.

"While passengers can't understand how a bottle of water presents a security threat, they can understand why they don't want to be sitting next to a terrorist or transnational criminal who got on the plane using an unscreened stolen passport," Noble said. "This is why Interpol believes that airlines will be first in line to test new and commonsense-based ways to protect us all from the invisible, yet dangerous threats presented by persons carrying stolen passports."