Jurisdiction-Shopping [7:11 pm]
It began as one of the Bush administration’s most ambitious homeland security efforts, a passenger screening program designed to use commercial records, terrorist watch lists and computer software to assess millions of travelers and target those who might pose a threat.
The system has cost almost $100 million. But it has not been turned on because it sparked protests from lawmakers and civil liberties advocates, who said it intruded too deeply into the lives of ordinary Americans. The Bush administration put off testing until after the election.
Now the choreographer of that program, a former intelligence official named Ben H. Bell III, is taking his ideas to a private company offshore, where he and his colleagues plan to use some of the same concepts, technology and contractors to assess people for risk, outside the reach of U.S. regulators, according to documents and interviews.