Passengers arriving in the United States with Algerian passports are to be referred for “selectee screening”. That is TSA standard operating procedure according to a document uncovered by The Wandering Aramean this past Sunday. The supposedly sensitive document was posted on the internet with limited security restrictions that could easily be overcome. The story was picked up by The New York Times which indicates that:
The document also describes these screening protocols:
¶Individuals with a passport from Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Libya, Syria, Sudan, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Somalia, Iraq, Yemen or Algeria should be given additional screening unless there are specific instructions not to.
¶Aircraft flight crew members in uniform with valid IDs are not subject to liquid, gel, aerosol and footwear restrictions.
¶Wheelchair and scooter cushions, disabled people’s footwear that cannot be removed, prosthetic devices, casts, braces and orthopedic shoes may be exempt from screening for explosives.
While a case could be made for the restrictions affecting most of the countries on this list: absence of diplomatic relations (Cuba, Iran, North Korea), state of war (Afghanistan, Iraq, Sudan), lack of a central government (Somalia) , attacks on US embassies (Yemen, Syria), the presence of Lebanon and Algeria on the list is surprising. In the case of Algeria, the TSA story appears on the eve of a visit to the US by the Algerian foreign minister (video) and only two weeks after the visit to Algiers by General Ward, Commander of the United States Africa Command.