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Homeland Security

Obama to Unveil Reforms to Anti-Terror Policies

VOA News 05 January 2010

U.S. President Barack Obama is preparing to announce reforms to the nation's counterterrorism policies, following the attempted Christmas Day bombing of a U.S. jetliner.

Mr. Obama will outline the new measures Tuesday, after meeting with senior members of his national security team. He summoned the officials to the White House to discuss ongoing reviews of a Nigerian man's alleged attempt to detonate explosives on a Northwest Airlines flight as it approached Detroit.

The president is to receive an update from FBI Director Robert Mueller on the investigation, while Attorney General Eric Holder will detail the prosecution of the 23-year-old suspect. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano will provide a review of terrorist detection techniques.

Other attendees are to include Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Defense Secretary Robert Gates and CIA Director Leon Panetta.

Mr. Obama ordered an interagency review to determine how Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab allegedly brought explosives onto the Amsterdam-to-Detroit flight. The explosives failed to detonate, and passengers and crew restrained him.

The suspect's father had alerted U.S. authorities in Nigeria that his son, who was studying in Yemen, had extremist views and should be watched closely. He was placed on a U.S. terror watch list but not on the no-fly list, which would have prevented him from flying into the United States.

The U.S. government has increased security screening for air travelers from 14 countries in response to the attack.

The Transportation Security Administration said every person traveling "from or through nations that are state sponsors of terrorism" - listed by the State Department as Cuba, Iran, Sudan and Syria - or "other countries of interest" will be subject to enhanced screening. The other countries are Afghanistan, Algeria, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia and Yemen.

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