It's a concerning wrinkle to this sad story, and one that highlights a real vulnerability in security, it's not as difficult as you think to board a plane with a stolen passport.
Amid layers and layers of security, if a passenger's documents aren't checked against Interpol's database of lost and stolen documents, it is possible they could slip through with a stolen passport.
Countries can access Interpol's database but airlines cannot and many countries do not routinely check passports against the database.
According to Interpol, the US searches the database more than 250 million times annually and the Department of Homeland Security says that U.S. Customs and Border Protection runs a check on all travelers coming into or flying out of the U.S. through what it calls the advanced passenger information system, which does include a search of Interpol's database.
There are 190 countries that are members of Interpol and each has free access to the database. However, one former FBI official says that many countries may not currently have the technical capacity or resources to access it.
But Interpol Secretary General Ronald K. Noble said he hopes that governments and airlines will learn from this incident and start regularly screening the passports of all passengers.
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