US vet­ting sus­pects en­ter­ing coun­try

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

Peo­ple trav­el­ing to Greece from third coun­tries who are con­sid­ered ter­ror or or­ga­nized crime sus­pects are be­ing vet­ted by the US Depart­ment of Home­land Se­cu­rity, Kathimerini has learned.

Among those vet­ting mea­sures is the de­ploy­ment of spe­cial de­vices at air­ports and other en­try points that iden­tify fin­ger­prints and re­lay the data di­rectly to Amer­i­can se­cu­rity ser­vices in Wash­ing­ton.

Ac­cord­ing to sources, the mea­sures were ac­ti­vated within the frame­work of a bi­lat­eral agree­ment to com­bat ter­ror­ism and “se­ri­ous” crime signed by for­mer al­ter­nate cit­i­zens’ pro­tec­tion min­is­ter Nikos Toskas and US Am­bas­sador Geoffrey Py­att.

Sources told Kathimerini that US Home­land Se­cu­rity of­fi­cials have – in agree­ment with their Greek coun­ter­parts – in­stalled state-of-the-art equip­ment at 30 en­try points (air­ports and bor­der sta­tions) that can iden­tify and check sus­pects in a mat­ter of sec­onds.

In a re­cent re­port on ter­ror­ism in Greece, the US State Depart­ment said the me­moran­dum was signed to im­prove checks on mi­grants, asy­lum seek­ers and refugees com­ing to Greece.

A Greek of­fi­cial told Kathimerini that the ex­change of in­for­ma­tion between the US and Greece con­cerns sus­pects in­volved in in­ter­na­tional, not do­mes­tic, ter­ror net­works.

As part of the agree­ment, the US has granted Greek po­lice ac­cess to a data­base with 200,000 Is­lamic ter­ror sus­pects.

Of the 5,000 mi­grants who were reg­is­tered in the east­ern Aegean in Septem­ber and checked against the US data­base, fewer than 10 were said to have to drawn the at­ten­tion of in­ves­ti­ga­tors.

Greek Prime Min­is­ter Alexis Tsipras (cen­ter), Cyprus Pres­i­dent Ni­cos Anas­tasi­ades (right) and Egyp­tian Pres­i­dent Ab­del Fat­tah el-Sisi ad­dress re­porters in Elounda, Crete, af­ter talks aimed at boost­ing re­gional sta­bil­ity, se­cu­rity and growth.

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