M A I N   N E W S

Kalam’s frisking: US sacks 2 security officials
Ashok Tuteja/TNS

New Delhi, December 1
The services of two officials of the US Transportation Security Administration (TSA), involved in the screening of former President APJ Abdul Kalam in New York on September 29, have been terminated, the government informed the Rajya Sabha today.

In a written reply, External Affairs Minister SM Krishna said TSA officials had also informed the Indian Embassy in Washington that they would review screening procedure for Kalam.

TSA chief John S Pistole, in a letter to Kalam on October 20, extended his “sincere apology” for the incident and admitted that TSA personnel did not follow appropriate procedure for expedited screening of dignitaries. The US Embassy here also issued a release on November 13 stating that America “deeply regrets” inconvenience caused to the former President, Krishna added.

The incident occurred at New York’s John F Kennedy Airport while Kalam was returning to India after delivering a lecture at Harvard University. The External Affairs Ministry immediately lodged a protest with the US Government.

Krishna said Kalam did not fall in the category of persons exempted from security screening at US airports. However, in keeping with his stature, the US authorities extended him courtesies at US airports, including escort and private screening.

The MEA and the Indian Embassy in Washington provided advance information on the former President’s travel schedule to the US authorities so that airport procedures were completed smoothly and with due courtesies.The minister said India accorded diplomatic privileges and courtesies to all foreign diplomats in accordance with the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, including with regard to the visitors from the US.





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