AP Exclusive: U.S. blocks 350 suspected terrorists.

The U.S. government has prevented more than 350 people suspected…

The U.S. government has prevented more than 350 people suspected of ties to al-Qaida and other terrorist groups from boarding U.S.-bound commercial flights since the end of 2009, The Associated Press has learned.

The tighter security rules — imposed after the attempted bombing of an airliner on Christmas 2009 — reveal a security threat that persisted for more than seven years after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Until then, even as commercial passengers were forced to remove their shoes, limit the amount of shampoo in their carry-on luggage and endure pat downs, hundreds of foreigners with known or suspected ties to terrorism passed through security and successfully flew to the United States each year, U.S. officials told the AP. The government said these foreigners typically told Customs officers they were flying to the U.S. for legitimate reasons such as vacations or business.

Source: Eileen Sullivan for the Associated Press.

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