House Republicans are raising concerns about an Obama administration deal to give "pre-approved, low-risk travelers" from Saudi Arabia a quicker pass through customs when entering the US. "Of the 19 individuals who hijacked American planes on September 11, 2011—15 were from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia," a group of Republicans, led by Homeland Security chair Mike McCaul, wrote in a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, Politico reports.
The group also pointed out that, following the 2009 failed Christmas Day bombing, passengers from Saudi Arabia were among those chosen for extra scrutiny, and they questioned why Saudi Arabia got Global Entry program consideration "before other trusted allies" including the UK and France. A Homeland Security spokesman says the US has agreed only to "begin discussions" with Saudi Arabia on the Global Entry program, and another, speaking on background, tells the Hill that these "trusted travelers" would undergo extensive background checks. (Read more Saudi Arabia stories.)