U.S. Sen. Mark S. Kirk (R-Ill.) is proposing giving a warning to travelers who are going to countries that don’t regularly check for lost or stolen passports. Kirk’s plan would require the U.S. State Department to include information on its website about how often countries check travel documents against a database of lost and stolen passports set up by INTERPOL.
Robert Pape, director of the Chicago Project on Security and Terrorism, says 92 percent of the internationals flights at O’Hare Airport go to countries that don’t often use that database.
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“The United States is a model of this, but it’s a global problem,” Pape said, “and because we do it well, we can stand up and say others should do it well.”
Kirk was motivated by the fact two passengers with stolen passports were onboard the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, but he says he’s not implying terrorism was involved in the plane’s disappearance.
“We actually don’t know that,” Kirk said. “That with two Iranians onboard without documentation—that shouldn’t have happened.”
Since that plane went missing, security officers at U.S. airports have begun screening passports for both incoming and departing passengers.