US vetting suspects entering country
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.