The United States should penalize countries that fail to implement tough screening standards at their airports, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Sunday.

Moreover, U.S.-based airlines should threaten not to fly into those airports either, in order to send a strong message about the importance of international passenger safety, he added.


"You don't have to be Albert Einstein to realize that flights that originate in foreign countries pose a greater danger," Schumer said during a press conference Sunday, according to CBS.

"What's crucial is that we immediately send many more of our [Transportation Security Administration] agents to the airports to check on their compliance," he added.

Schumer's campaign to improve airport security both domestically and internationally follows an attempted bombing aboard Flight 253 above Detroit.

Passengers, including attacker Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, boarded the Delta plane in Amsterdam -- prompting lawmakers to fear that lax security in foreign airports could hurt U.S. passengers or targets.

The Department of Homeland Security announced last weekend it would dispatch agents to major foreign airports to discuss security procedures, but Schumer's plan could go well beyond mere briefings.

The senator signaled his proposed reforms would penalize countries that failed to implement tough screening standards, first by revoking their participation in the visa-waiver program.

If that penalty proved ineffective, the federal government would require enhanced screening before that country's residents could obtain visas and enter the United States, Schumer said.

Schumer also called on airlines to take their own initiative and decline service to airports known to have lax security. The senator first suggested the idea in a letter to the major airlines this weekend, in which he asked their chiefs to discuss any security holes they can already identify in foreign airports.

“This incident shows that more than eight years after the 9/11 attacks, there are still gaping holes left in our aviation security system, particularly overseas," he noted in his statement. "There has been a great deal of time and effort spent trying to close these holes but the Christmas Day terror attempt must be a wake up call to show that more needs to be done. My plan puts forward some common sense solutions to close these gaps in a quick and cost effective way.”