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Napolitano: Feds check foreign students seeking pilot training

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano says the federal government has closed a gap and does review the backgrounds of foreign students who seek to take pilot training at U.S. flight schools.

She added that an American citizen on the no-fly list would not be able to take flight training, contrary to what an administration official said at a Congressional hearing on Wednesday.

Responding to a GAO report out Wednesday that said some number, which was not revealed, of foreign students don't receive background checks, Napolitano told the House Homeland Security committee Thursday that the GAO report was not up to date.

"In 2010, we took steps to be sure all foreign students are vetted. We've been doing it for two years."

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She said GAO faulted Homeland for having no written policy requiring the vetting all foreign students.  Napolitano said that memorandum is being drawn up now but added that the checks have been done even without having the policy in writing.

As for Americans on the no-fly list, Napolitano said they would not be able to take flight training and that officials who testified Wednesday to the contrary "were not aware of all the other things that can occur" that would be prevent them from enrolling.  A Homeland Security official says other checks, that are classified, would stop someone on the no-fly list from being approved for flight training at a U.S. school.

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