Foreign Airports Now Home to ... US Screeners

US officers advise, work at several international airports
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 14, 2012 4:17 AM CDT
Updated Jun 14, 2012 5:37 AM CDT
US Boosts Overseas Airport Security
We are the world. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano appears with Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman. Napolitano is negotiating joint airport security with Israel and Jordan.   (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)

(Newser) – The extremely long arm of the US law is reaching across oceans. US officials are boosting security checks at foreign airports, reports the New York Times. Passengers at Ireland's Shannon airport are already screened for explosives and cleared to enter the US by American Customs and Border Protection officers before they even board a plane heading to America. US security officers are also on the ground at several airports, including in Madrid, Panama City, and Tokyo, to advise local officials. The strategy essentially pushes the American border thousands of miles away, for an extra margin of safety, notes the Times.

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“It’s a really big deal. It would be like us saying you can have foreign law enforcement operating in a US facility with all the privileges given to law enforcement, but we are going to do it on your territory and on our rules,” said Department of Homeland Security chief Janet Napolitano. She's just negotiated with Israel and Jordan about joint airport security programs. Substantial concessions have been negotiated to put in place American-style security at 14 foreign airports. Some allow US officers to carry weapons and detain passengers in foreign airports. Abu Dhabi has agreed to build a special terminal where US officers will clear passengers to enter the US. Some 30 million travelers in the last two years have passed through foreign airports staffed with American officers. The security network is expensive, however—some $115 million a year—and still not "robust" enough to satisfy some Republicans. (Read more airport security stories.)

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