AP: Since Foiled Christmas Day Bombing, U.S. Blocks 350 Suspected Terrorists

Since the end of the 2009, reports the AP, the United States has stopped 350 people, suspected of having connections with terrorists groups including al-Qaida, from boarding planes headed to the U.S.

In its exclusive, the AP reports that the U.S. changed security procedures, after Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the "underwear bomber," was foiled trying bomb a plane on Christmas day in 2009 in Detroit:

Until then, airlines only kept passengers off U.S.-bound planes if they were on the no-fly list, a list of people considered a threat to aviation.

Now before an international flight leaves for the U.S., the government checks passengers against a larger watch list that includes al-Qaida financiers and people who attended training camps but aren't considered threats to planes. The government was checking this list before, but only after the flight was en route. If someone on the flight was on the watch list, the person would be questioned and likely refused to enter the country after the plane landed.

The AP reports that the terror watch list they check now contains 450,000 names. 6,000 of them are U.S. citizens. Among the people turned away from airplanes was a member of a terrorist organization who received "weapons training, recruited others, fought against American troops and had a ticket to fly to the U.S. Another traveler prevented from boarding a U.S.-bound flight was a member of a terrorist organization whom intelligence officials believe had purchased equipment for terrorism." Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.