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Kirk wants State Dept. to share info on passport checks

U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL) unveils proposal for strengthening aviatisafety protocols concerning lost or stolen passports Friday April 11 2014.

U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL) unveils a proposal for strengthening aviation safety protocols, concerning lost or stolen passports, on Friday, April 11, 2014. | Chandler West/For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: May 13, 2014 6:09AM

U.S. Sen Mark Kirk, noting that two of the passengers on the missing Malaysia Airlines flight were apparently flying on stolen passports, says it’s time American travelers were better informed about which countries check for stolen passports and which ones don’t.

“My concern is that Americans should know when they fly to those countries that do not routinely use [Interpol’s] database,” said Kirk, talking to reporters at his Loop office Friday.

Kirk, who said 92 percent of O’Hare Airport’s international flights are to countries that don’t check, is proposing that the U.S. Department of State include information about which countries participate on the department’s website and the websites of U.S. embassies.

The United States and Great Britain are among a handful of countries that check, Kirk said.

“Today we have an opportunity to get ahead of the terrorists,” said Robert Pape, a University of Chicago professor and the director of the Chicago Project on Security and Terrorism who joined Kirk. “This is a security gap we can do something about, and we shouldn’t wait for an attack to occur with tremendous harm.”


Twitter: @stefanoesposito

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