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Computer Glitch Strikes US Customs, Strands Thousands

Joshua Lott/Reuters

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Ted Goodman Contributor
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A system-wide computer outage Monday evening stranded thousands of inbound international travelers at airports across the U.S.

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) processing systems went dark, in what officials described as a “technology disruption.” The incident caused delays for wary passengers returning from international travel. Monday was one of the busiest travel days of the year as Americans returned home from Christmas and New Year’s Eve vacations.

“At this time, there is no indication the service disruption was malicious in nature,” the agency said. “During the technology disruption, CBP had access to national security-related databases and all travelers were screened according to security standards.”

The outage brought customs checks to a stand still in some of the nation’s busiest airport. The disruption lasted from about 5 to 9 p.m. EST Monday, CBP spokesman Daniel Hetlage said.

The outage affected passengers on more than 30 flights into Miami International Airport beginning at 6 p.m., spokeswoman Suzy Trutie told CNN.

A similar failure struck CBP in October 2015, which officials blamed (at the time) on problems with the computers and kiosks used by passengers arriving in the country.

The 2015 failure resulted in a disruption of the system that checks passengers against “do-not-fly” lists.

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