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Egypt's Action Against Hijackers

December 03, 1985

The hijacking of the Egyptian airplane is yet another example of a terrorist attack in which Americans have been singled out for execution.

The now familiar "passport roundup" must have been terrifying for all the passengers, but especially for the Americans who must have realized that they would eventually be singled out. For the first time in this country's history the U.S. passport seems to be dangerous to carry in some situations.

In the United States, and in most free countries, citizens are guaranteed certain rights to privacy, but everyone is required to present a passport in order to travel on an international flight.

It is too easy for terrorists to identify a person's nationality. I would suggest one of two solutions to this problem. First, I think that passports should be collected prior to boarding the plane and locked in the baggage area until the plane has arrived safely at its destination. An alternative solution might be to create an international passport that could be used by all citizens of all countries. A person's nationality would then only be determinable by placing the passport under an ultraviolet light.

No American can avoid imagining what the terror must have been like to be taken hostage. There appears to be little we can do for Americans once they have been taken hostage in another country, but at the very least I would hope that we can take steps to make it as difficult as possible for terrorists to successfully identify a person's nationality.

GREGREY J. HARRIS

Los Angeles

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