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Program to fingerprint U.S. visitors starts

Reprinted: Sunday, January 4, 2004 Posted: 10:10 PM EST (0310 GMT)
(CNN) -- Visitors to the United States with visas will be greeted with a demand for fingerprints and photographs Monday as a government program intended to fight terrorism takes effect.
Find the original here:  http://www.cnn.com/2004/US/01/04/visit.program/index.html

Program to fingerprint U.S. visitors starts
Sunday, January 4, 2004 Posted: 10:10 PM EST (0310 GMT)

(CNN) -- Visitors to the United States with visas will be greeted with a demand for fingerprints and photographs Monday as a government program intended to fight terrorism takes effect.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security says the goal of the US VISIT program is to track the millions of people who come to the United States every year on business, student and tourist visas -- and to use the information as a tool against terrorists.

US-VISIT stands for United States Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology.
Critics say the broad-reaching program will cause unnecessary travel delays and may never prove to be effective.
"There's so much information in such volumes that there's a limit to what any analyst can absorb," said Larry Johnson, an aviation security consultant.

Faiz Rehman, president of the National Council of Pakistani-Americans, points to the disruption in travel.
"Without proper training, there will be long lines, there will be missed flights, there will be people who would be wrongly stopped," Rehman said.

Outside the United States, there has been a backlash as well.

In reaction to the U.S. policy, Brazil will require that American visitors be fingerprinted and photographed.
The U.S. program has been appropriated $380 million. It will require an estimated 24 million visitors to submit two finger scans and have a photograph taken upon entering any of 115 airports or 14 seaports.

Not all visitors to the United States will be put through the extra security steps.

Citizens from 28 countries, mostly in North America and Europe, aren't required to carry a visa if their visit is less than 90 days. Visitors from those countries are exempt.

Lawmakers who included the program in the Homeland Security Act of 2002 say the program will improve security.
Rep. Jane Harman, D-California, is among those who believe the new measures could help prevent a repeat of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

"We want to keep the bad guys out of our country," Harman said. "We want to identify them and keep them out, and we want to find them if they're already here. And we did a bad job of that on 9/11."
Tim Edgar, a critic of the program and legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union, said it will not take the place of improved intelligence gathering.

"The problem with 9/11 is that we didn't know who the terrorists were," Edgar said. "We could have put them through this system and they would have gotten through without any problem."
... 05.Jan.2004 09:07

this thing here

>"The problem with 9/11 is that we didn't know who the terrorists were," Edgar said. "We could have put them through this system and they would have gotten through without any problem."<

i have a problem with this person's first assertion. not two days after 9-11, the photos and personal histories and allegiances of THE hijackers were being broadcast far and wide accross america. the bush admin. wanted everyone to know they were sure who did it. how is it that the u.s. government claims it knows nothing about terrorists before they attack, and everything right after they attack?

Biased. 05.Jan.2004 09:36

Martha Stewart

Q: Why not post an article on the ways the system can help keep americans safer?

A: Because you just want to hear more of your side of the story.

This website is dripping with hate and malice towards everything manly, and hu-manly. Grow-up, become an adult, and stop hating your fathers.

please. 05.Jan.2004 09:54

this thing here

childish crap can take a hike.

offer your own info about how it will make americans safer, answer my question, or split.

US Police state grows 05.Jan.2004 10:11

me

That this plan is being implemented without a huge public outcry is truly terrifying.
What else are we going to accept without protest? Obviously, keeping terrorists "out of the country" will never help- the really scary people are already here, and already in charge.

Ok then. 05.Jan.2004 10:27

Mrs. Stewart

Well, ok. How about having all visitors coming from countries on the terrorist watch list being put into a searchable database with their photo and fingerprints available for better intelligence for law enforcement, enabling police and other agencies to better deal with potential threats to average citizens form poeple who wish to, oh I don't know, fly a plane into their house? Or maybe drive a truck bomb into their mother's office bulding? Don't you think that is helpfull? But what you hear from the article above is that it is bad, and there will be missed flights, long lines and backlash from other countries and all this stuff from some pakistani who probably wants us to die anyway, that's real nice. Response?

Questions for Ms. Stewart 05.Jan.2004 12:27

just straight answers, please

Even if you go along with the fingerprinting and photographing, why have exemptions in the first place? Why not have across-the-board fingerprinting/photos?

- Wouldn't an across-the-board policy provide better security?

- What purpose do the exemptions serve?

- How can one be sure that *all* of the citizens of a particular country are not terrorists? In other words, how does exempting *all* the citizens of the exempted European countries, Australia, and Japan protect the U.S. from terrorists or would-be terrorists who happen to be citizens of these countries?

hillarious 05.Jan.2004 12:57

reader

Bush supporters can't even get the official story straight. Remember, 9/11 wasn't caused by a lack of intelligence but by "intelligence fatigue", or in other words, too much intelligence. So of course, we're going to fix that problem by collecting *more intelligence*. Truly laughable. Of course, as this thing here points out, the real reason the 9/11 attacks were successful was the failure to act on the already existing intelligence. Again, this will do little to change that fact but succeeds wonderfully in the creating the "we're safer thanks to Bush" propaganda. The only thing that will make people safer from terrorists is to remove those in power who have a substantial benefit in allowing terrorist attacks to succeed; nothing else will work.

hah! 05.Jan.2004 19:53

clamydia

"...stuff from some pakistani who probably wants us to die anyway...."

You fucking racist.