A watchlist of possible terror suspects distributed by the US government to airlines for pre-flight checks is now 80,000 names long, a Swedish newspaper reported, citing European air industry sources.
The classified list, which carried just 16 names before the September 11, 2001 attacks in New York and Washington had grown to 1,000 by the end of 2001, to 40,000 a year later and now stands at 80,000, Svenska Dagbladet reported.
Airlines must check each passenger flying to a US destination against the list, and contact the US Department of Homeland Security for further investigation if there is a matching name.
The list contains a strict “no fly” section, which requires airline staff to contact police, and a “selectee” section, which requires passengers to undergo further security checks.
Some 2,000 passengers checking in at Stockholm’s Arlanda airport have had to be cleared with the US authorities because of name matches on the “selectee” list this year, although none was prevented from boarding, Svenska Dagbladet said.