The US has introduced strict new security measures for some airline passengers, following the failed Christmas day plot to blow up an American passenger jet.

All travellers on US-bound flights will be subject to random screening. But visitors from 14 countries will face additional scrutiny.

Every passenger travelling from, or even through, countries listed as state sponsors of terrorism face extra assessment. The new checks include full body 'pat-downs,' full searches of carry on luggage, full body scanning, and explosive detection tests.

Travellers affected include those from Cuba, Iran, Sudan and Syria; all countries listed by the US as state sponsors of terrorism.

Passing through any of 10 other countries, also identified as 'of interest,' is enough to attract the extra checks, too.

Those on a watch list are now subject to extra inspection, while those on the no-fly list are not allowed to board flights to the US.
 
But American citizens, and most others who are not flying through those 14 nations on their way to the US, will no longer automatically face the full range of intensified security that was imposed after the Christmas day plot. 
 
Is this a manoeuvre by the Obama administration to avoid US domestic criticism over security? What is the likely impact on countries like Cuba and Lebanon and their relations with the Obama administration, and is it any different from its predecessor?

Joining Inside Story presenter Sohail Rahman to answer these questions are Assad Abu Khalil, a professor of political science at California State University, Richard Miniter, the author of Losing bin Laden and Shadow War, and Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesperson for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).

This episde of Inside Story aired from Tuesday, January 5.

Source: Al-Jazeera