May 7, 2008, - 4:48 pm

The “Global Entry” Program: $100 Formula for Terrorist Contraband Smuggling

By Debbie Schlussel
I’ve written many times on this site about my opposition to “registered traveler” programs. They speed travelers who pay $100 and pass a background check through airport security without a second look. As I’ve always said–and the TSA finally admitted–this is a program ripe for terrorist exploitation. Any terrorist without a criminal background can qualify.
Now, there is a new version of “registered traveler” that Homeland Security is introducing at airports for those entering the country to speed through U.S. Customs. It’s called “Global Entry,” and it’s even more dangerous, and it has the same loophole. It also costs just $100, and, oddly, Stephen Brill, the same gazillionaire who had much of the Registered Traveler contract, praises Global Entry. Interesting coincidence, no? Does he have the government contract to run Global Entry? Press coverage doesn’t say, but it sounds like it.

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If anyone wants to smuggle weapons or cash from terrorist groups inside or even valuables that can be sold and turned into cash, they can easily do it without the regular scrutiny of U.S. Customs and Border Protection inspectors at airport “ports of entry.”
Sadly, though the TSA admitted the loophole in the Registered Traveler program and abandoned its expansion (it should have canceled the program in its entirety), the right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing at DHS, and the identical program will now start for U.S. Citizens and legal permanent residents who pay the $100 and pass the basic background check:

Starting Monday, air travelers can sign up to speed through Customs checkpoints at select U.S. airports when they return from trips abroad.
A government program called Global Entry will enable U.S. citizens and permanent residents to avoid the long lines that often greet them when they get off airplanes arriving from international destinations.
People who pass a background check and pay $100 to enroll will enter a separate Customs line at certain airports. They will swipe their passport at a kiosk instead of having it read by a Customs officer and electronically answer questions similar to those on a Customs declaration form. If no problems arise, they will be cleared through Customs.
The program will start operating June 10 at three airports ‚Äî Washington Dulles, Houston Intercontinental and New York’s Kennedy. Customs and Border Protection expects it will expand to 17 other major U.S. airports, program director John Wagner says. There is no timeline for expansion.
Tourism and travel groups hail the program, saying it will speed up Customs lines and could boost a similar program for domestic airline passengers. . . .
Global Entry could heighten interest in Registered Traveler, a program overseen by the Transportation Security Administration that creates a separate line at airport checkpoints for fee-paying passengers.
“The whole idea of voluntary credentialing gets helped the more you have programs like (Global Entry),” says Steven Brill, CEO of Verified Identity Pass, a New York company that manages Registered Traveler programs at 16 airports.
Wagner of Customs and Border Protection says Global Entry is aimed at people who take at least four international trips a year. Applicants will be barred if they have a criminal conviction, a penalty related to customs or immigration issues or are on a government watch list of people linked to terrorism, Wagner says.

Hmmm . . . If I were Bin Laden or Nasrallah of Hezbollah I’d be recruiting sympathetic U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents (a ton of ’em in Dearbornistan, etc.) with no criminal record to join the Global Entry program. They could smuggle all kinds of stuff into the states for “operations.”
If you want to come into America, there should be long lines and there should be strict scrutiny of what you’re brining in.
This new program is a giant national security black hole created by Michael “Serpenthead” Chertoff.
Heckuva Job, Mr. Burns Lookalike.

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6 Responses

George Bush
Condi Rice
Michael Chertoff
Julie Myers
– Guess who is / is not, a threat to national security.
– Now, guess who is / is not, at the root.

Alert on May 7, 2008 at 6:18 pm

Well, why not? We’re giving up national security in every other way — no security safeguards on technology exports, giving industrial & military secrets to our enemies, permissive attitudes to all spys from politically correct countries, why not just hand the country over to the barbarians? Oh, I forgot, it’s already happening.

c f on May 7, 2008 at 7:10 pm

Not all that different from the “Nexus” prgram that the Canadians have come up with.
You cross their palms with silver ($50 US) and they let you take ‘cuts’ in the lines to get in.
Just another scheme to make money….

Shootist on May 8, 2008 at 11:27 am

We’re in big f’ing trouble.

samurai on May 8, 2008 at 12:16 pm

Ok, i think you guys have no clue what this does.

1. it uses a biometric scan to prove you are who you say you are. This is more effective than a CBT agent looking at a passport and looking at you to make sure you are who you say you are.

That is about it. I DOES NOT get you past the random checks by CBT and USDA when you pick up your luggage.

So, exactly how does this program help a terrorist?

Thom on October 19, 2009 at 1:10 am

I agree with Thom. I just joined the Global Entry and it is a godsend for those of us who travel frequently.

If there is any country which can be considered to have security down to a science it is Israel. And Israel has a similar biometric program for its citizens who travel frequently and want to avoid passport lines. Their program has been in existence for almost a decade, and hasn’t led to any security problems, or increased terroritst infiltration. Why? Because the same security oversight at the airport is still in place.

What makes you think that the 20 seconds you spend with a bored customs agent while he stamps your passport is going to stop terrorists?

Mark on December 23, 2009 at 6:56 pm

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