In the aftermath of the attempted bombing of a Northwest Airlines flight from Amsterdam to Detroit on Christmas Day in 2009 by Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) moved to increase airport security. Passengers flying “non-stop” to the US were subject to enhanced screenings, including in some cases a full-body pat-down. But, immediately, TSA realized that this placed an “extraordinary burden” on airports and airlines and TSA moved to develop a “regime” that would subject a “reduced pool” of passengers to “enhanced screenings.”
On January 13, 2010, it was announced a list of fourteen countries of interest. The list included: Cuba, Sudan, Syria, Iran (four countries on the State Department’s list of state sponsors of terrorism) and Afghanistan, Algeria, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia and Yemen. The new regime meant all passengers traveling from any of the fourteen countries would, regardless of nationality or US citizenship, be subject to increased security and possible violations of privacy.
Newly published cables from WikiLeaks shed light on reactions from leaders of countries on the list.