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Homeland Security Secretary Visits St. Louis

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By Kevin Lavery, KWMU

St. Louis, MO – Ridge fielded some tough questions from St. Louis citizens concerned about their safety and their civil liberties.

The secretary was in St. Louis to attend a town hall meeting on homeland security.

Ridge said the administration is developing a new airport security program that will quickly call up information about a person to look for patterns of activity that may indicate terrorism. But Ridge stressed that the intent is not to maintain a file on that person:

"In America, you don't do this without a conversation, and you don't do it without judicial review." Ridge said. "And you should know that as part of our department, we have a legal staff whose sole purpose everything we do is to deal with the questions of privacy."

The town hall meeting -- the first of its kind ever held in the U.S. -- drew the ire of critics who said it was not inclusive of all citizens, and that participants were pre-selected.

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