Plane mystery highlights passport security flaws - KMSP-TV

Plane mystery highlights passport security flaws

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Two passengers on the Beijing-bound Malaysia Airlines jet were flying with stolen passports.

"The passport information adds to the possibility that this was some terrorism event. We don't know enough about the passengers to know if there was a real risk with these individuals, but it is a bad signal. It's a suggestion that something on this flight was amiss," said Joe Schwieterman, DePaul University Transportation Professor.

Schwieterman said that the stolen passports revelation prompts renewed concerns at home and abroad for people who have reported a loss or stolen passport.

In 2013, more than half a million passports were issued to Illinois residents. The rules state that passports reported lost or stolen are invalidated and can no longer be used for travel.

However, "We know the international system, there's a lot of leakage. Other countries don't have the same sort of passport control. There's a little more flexibility. People get in the air travel system and suddenly they are on these flights," said Schwieterman in an interview with FOX 32's Tisha Lewis.

The Interpol data base apparently has a reported 40-million loss or stolen travel documents across the globe, including the two stolen passports on board the missing Malaysia Airlines flight.

"If it is terrorism, and we don't know at all if it is yet, but if it is, that's going to be a real wake up call to a region that thought that was other people's problems, not theirs," said Mark Malloch-Brown, Former British Foreign Office Minister.

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