Counter-terrorism authorities at Australia’s airports are screening 400 ‘suspicious’ travellers each day as the government ramps up efforts to stop potential jihadists fleeing overseas.
According to a Fairfax report, teams at eight different airports have conducted almost 76,000 “real-time assessments” in the six months between August and February.
According to the report, assessments are not conducted at random and involve counter terrorism specialists stopping suspicious travellers and asking them questions to determine if they are a national security risk.
In the first three weeks of the Border Force Counter-Terrorism Unit being established, the report claims officers intercepted 11 terror suspects, seized three devices with extremist material and pulled dozens of people off flights and placed them under surveillance.
A spokesperson for Immigration Minister Peter Dutton’s office said Counter-Terrorism Unit teams had “successfully intercepted a number of people of national security concern”.
It’s not known what proportion of the 75,906 passengers taken aside, however, were subjected to further action or proven to be travelling to join terrorist groups.
The Border Force Counter-Terrorism Unit was rolled out to eight airports last year at the cost of $50 million over four years and employs 80 specialist officers with enhanced powers to intercept passengers of national security interest.