TECS is a major law enforcement computer system that allows its approximately 120,000 users from 20 federal agencies to share information. The database is designed to identify individuals suspected of or involved in violation of federal law.
The system has been recently called inefficient by members of Congress. In late March, Senator Joe Lieberman of Connecticut and Susan Collins of Maine criticized the system in a letter to DHS, writing that, "Current functionality does not allow interoperability among databases, fast searching of information, modern interfaces for users of the system, or sufficient security to protect critical terrorist travel data."
A modernization of the system began in 2008 and is expected to be completed by 2015.
Editor's Note: an earlier version of this story referred to Shahzad's name appearing on a Department of Homeland Security travel list from 1999 to 2008. That list was part of the Traveler Enforcement Compliance System (TECS), which was managed until 2003 by the U.S. Customs Service which become part of the Department of Homeland Security.