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Thursday, March 4th, 2021

GAO report: CBP should evaluate pre-departure procedures for identifying high-risk passengers on U.S.-bound flights

According to a recent report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) should evaluate the procedures used by the agency’s National Targeting Center (NTC) to determine its overall effectiveness at keeping high-risk travelers off of United States-bound flights.

NTC evaluates passengers through traveler data matching, which assesses whether individuals are high-risk by matching their information against U.S. government databases and lists, and rules-based targeting, to identify potentially high-risk travelers.

The agency’s data showed that it identified more than 22,000 high-risk air travelers in FY2015 through its procedures. In total, 10,648 of the approximately 16 million air travelers seeking admission into the United States were determined to be inadmissible.

The report said that the pre-departure programs have helped identify potentially high-risk travelers, but CBP had not yet evaluated the program for its overall effectiveness by using performance measures and baselines. While the agency tracks some data, it has yet to set baselines to determine if the program is achieving its stated goals consistent with best practices.

GAO recommended that CBP develop and implement a system of performance measures and baselines to evaluate the effectiveness of its pre-departure programs and assess whether the programs are achieving their stated goals.

CBP agreed with the report’s recommendations and identified planned actions to address the report’s concerns.