Secretary Napolitano discusses enhancing international aviation security measures and standards with European counterparts in Spain

Press Office
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Contact: DHS Press Office, (202) 282-8010

Press Release

January 21, 2010

TOLEDO, Spain—Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano today traveled to Toledo, Spain, at the invitation of her Spanish colleague, Interior Minister Alfredo Rubalcaba, to meet with her European counterparts regarding ways to bolster international aviation security measures and standards.

“The attempted terrorist attack on Dec. 25 threatened the lives of individuals from 17 foreign countries, including more than 100 citizens of European nations,” said Secretary Napolitano. “The international dimensions of this incident—and the international threat posed by radical extremism—require an international response to strengthen global aviation security measures.”

In Toledo, Secretary Napolitano stressed the need for collaborative international action to prevent terrorists from boarding commercial aircraft during meetings with ministers from more than 30 countries—the first in a series of global meetings intended to bring about broad consensus on enhancing international aviation security standards and procedures.

Secretary Napolitano also emphasized the Obama administration’s commitment to strengthening information sharing about terrorists and other dangerous people with international partners. In 2009, DHS, the Department of Justice, and the Department of State worked together to forge agreements to prevent and combat crime with Greece, Italy, Spain and Portugal. These agreements allow for the exchange of biometric and biographic data to bolster counterterrorism and law enforcement efforts while ensuring privacy protections.

Tomorrow, Secretary Napolitano will travel to Geneva to meet with members of the International Air Transport Association—which represents approximately 230 airlines and more than 90 percent of the world’s air traffic—as part of the Department’s efforts to work with the airline industry to ensure all flights to the U.S. meet both international and U.S. Transportation Security Administration security standards now and in the future. She will also meet with officials from the International Civil Aviation Organization in Geneva on these issues.

Earlier this month, Secretary Napolitano dispatched Deputy Secretary Jane Holl Lute, Assistant Secretary for Policy David Heyman and other senior Department officials to meet with government leaders and major international airport executives in Africa, Asia, Europe, the Middle East, Australia and South America to review airport security procedures and work on ways to collectively bolster our tactics for defeating terrorists.

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