The intelligence-based security system is devised to raise flags about travelers whose names do not appear on no-fly watch lists, but whose travel patterns or personal traits create suspicions. The system is intended to pick up fragments of information — family name, nationality, age or even partial passport number — and match them against intelligence reports to sound alarm bells before a passenger boards a plane….
The bombing attempt exposed significant flaws in how the administration collected and shared intelligence reports. The president said the government had sufficient information to uncover the terror plot to bring down the commercial jetliner, but had “failed to connect those dots.”
While the United States has never formally confirmed the names of the 14 countries where passport holders face automatic additional scrutiny, they have been widely reported. Administration officials said terrorist organizations had turned their recruiting efforts elsewhere.