US expects to classify airline passenger data program as secret

After missing a disclosure deadline, the Bush administration said Thursday it probably will keep secret many of the documents sought by a privacy group about how the US shares airline passenger data with the European Union. Homeland Security officials were under a court order to fulfill a public records request about the program by Nov. 1. Just weeks before the deadline, top officials abruptly said they would review the documents for classified material and asked that the case be shelved while they did so. At issue is about 2,300 pages of documents regarding an agreement between the US and the EU to share data about passengers on trans-Atlantic flights. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff has said the agreement would have identified 11 of the 19 hijackers from the Sept. 11 attacks before they arrived in the country.