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Lack of passport checks expose air security flaw

March 10, 2014 • Business


In this photo released by Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency, a patrol vessel of Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency searches for the missing Malaysia Airlines plane off Tok Bali Beach in Kelantan, Malaysia, Sunday, March 9, 2014. Military radar indicates that the missing Boeing 777 jet may have turned back, Malaysia’s air force chief said Sunday as scores of ships and aircraft from across Asia resumed a hunt for the plane and its 239 passengers. (AP Photo/Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency)

PARIS (AP) — When you travel, airport security agents may pat you down, inspect your deodorant and scan your body from head to toe. But there’s a good chance that no one’s checking whether you’re using someone’s lost or stolen passport.

A gaping, if little-known, loophole in international aviation security came into broader view Sunday when the international police agency Interpol said its computer systems had contained information on the theft of two passports that were used to board an ill-fated Malaysia Airlines flight — but no national authorities had checked the database.

Largely unheeded, Interpol has long sounded the alarm that growing international travel has underpinned a new market for identity theft and bogus passports have lured many people: Illegal immigrants, terrorists, drug runners, pretty much anyone looking to travel unnoticed.

It’s not known whether stolen passports had anything to do with Saturday’s disappearance of the Boeing 777 bound from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to Beijing with 239 people on board. But such oversights aren’t new — and Interpol hopes national authorities Login to read more

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