How To Make Air Travel Safe? Profile Passengers.

Discussion in 'Middle East - General' started by GotZoom, Aug 28, 2006.

  1. GotZoom
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    GotZoom Senior Member

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    What Israeli Security Could Teach Us

    By Jeff Jacoby, Globe Columnist | August 23, 2006


    THE SAFEST airline in the world, it is widely agreed, is El Al, Israel's national carrier. The safest airport is Ben Gurion International, in Tel Aviv. No El Al plane has been attacked by terrorists in more than three decades, and no flight leaving Ben Gurion has ever been hijacked. So when US aviation intensified its focus on security after 9/11, it seemed a good bet that the experience of travelers in American airports would increasingly come to resemble that of travelers flying out of Tel Aviv.

    But in telling ways, the two experiences remain notably different. For example, passengers in the United States are required to take off their shoes for X-ray screening, while passengers at Ben Gurion are spared that indignity. On the other hand, major American airports generally offer the convenience of curbside check-in, while in Israel baggage and traveler stay together until the security check is completed. Screeners at American airports don't usually engage in conversation with passengers, unless you count their endlessly repeated instructions about emptying pockets and taking laptops out of briefcases. At Ben Gurion, security officials make a point of engaging in dialogue with almost everyone who's catching a plane.

    Nearly five years after Sept. 11, 2001, US airport security remains obstinately focused on intercepting bad things -- guns, knives, explosives. It is a reactive policy, aimed at preventing the last terrorist plot from being repeated. The 9/11 hijackers used box cutters as weapons, so sharp metal objects were barred from carry-on luggage. Would-be suicide terrorist Richard Reid tried to ignite a bomb in his shoe, so now everyone's footwear is screened for tampering. Earlier this month British authorities foiled a plan to blow up airliners with liquid explosives; as a result, toothpaste and cologne have become air-travel contraband.

    Of course the Israelis check for bombs and weapons too, but always with the understanding that things don't hijack planes, terrorists do -- and that the best way to detect terrorists is to focus on intercepting not bad things, but bad people. To a much greater degree than in the United States, security at El Al and Ben Gurion depends on intelligence and intuition -- what Rafi Ron, the former director of security at Ben Gurion, calls the human factor.

    Israeli airport security, much of it invisible to the untrained eye, begins before passengers even enter the terminal. Officials constantly monitor behavior, alert to clues that may hint at danger: bulky clothing, say, or a nervous manner. Profilers -- that's what they're called -- make a point of interviewing travelers, sometimes at length. They probe, as one profiling supervisor told CBS, for ``anything out of the ordinary, anything that does not fit." Their questions can seem odd or intrusive, especially if your only previous experience with an airport interrogation was being asked whether you packed your bags yourself.

    Unlike in US airports, where passengers go through security after checking in for their flights and submitting their luggage, security at Ben Gurion comes first. Only when the profiler is satisfied that a passenger poses no risk is he or she allowed to proceed to the check-in counter. By that point, there is no need to make him remove his shoes, or to confiscate his bottle of water.

    Gradually, airport security in the United States is inching its way toward screening people, rather than just their belongings. At a handful of airports, security officers are being trained to notice facial expressions, body language, and speech patterns, which can hint at a traveler's hostile intent or fear of being caught.

    But because federal policy still bans ethnic or religious profiling, US passengers continue to be singled out for special scrutiny mostly on a random basis. Countless hours have been spent patting down elderly women in wheelchairs, toddlers with pacifiers, even former US vice presidents -- time that could have been used instead to concentrate on passengers with a greater likelihood of being terrorists.

    No sensible person imagines that ethnic or religious profiling alone can stop every terrorist plot. But it is illogical and potentially suicidal not to take account of the fact that so far every suicide-terrorist plotting to take down an American plane has been a radical Muslim man. It is not racism or bigotry to argue that the prevention of Islamist terrorism necessitates a special focus on Muslim travelers, just as it is not racism or bigotry when police trying to prevent a Mafia killing pay closer attention to Italians.

    Of course most Muslims are not violent jihadis, but all violent jihadis are Muslim. ``This nation," President Bush has said, ``is at war with Islamic fascists." How much longer will we tolerate an aviation security system that pretends, for reasons of political correctness, not to know that?

    http://www.boston.com/news/globe/ed...6/08/23/what_israeli_security_could_teach_us/
     
  2. theHawk
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    theHawk Registered Conservative

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    There is a slight problem though, look at the amount of employees and airports Israel has compared to the US. With very few airports, yes, Israel can put 'smart' people at airports to 'snif' out terrorists. The problem with US airports is there are thousands and thousands of employees, and not all of them are the sharpest tool in the shed. It would be a difficult task to train all these people in every single airport of America to be as good as the few Israelis in the few Israeli airports that exist.

    Plus, the libs would scream bloody hell that our Constitution is being thrown out if we dare profile Muslims. Just ask Zippy.
     
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  3. The ClayTaurus
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    The ClayTaurus Senior Member

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    Yesh.
     
  4. Nienna
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    Nienna Senior Member

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    You can't profile passengers. That would be unconstitutional and racist. I know you say it wouldn't be racist, but it would be.








    Note: sarcasm is "ON."
     
  5. dmp
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    dmp Senior Member

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    Insert token: "If we (insert activity/policy), that means the Terrorists have WON!"
     
  6. Merlin
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    Merlin Active Member

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    Not trying to be sarcastic, but please show me in our constitution where profiling is not allowed. And what is the big deal about being a racist? Everyone is a racist about someone or group of people and it will never end, period. Either pull all Muslims aside and search them, don't let them near an airport, boot them all out of the country, or just remove all the detection machines at the airports and lay off the screeners, open all the boarders and fly at your own risk. Muslims are in the same category as the kkk, hitler, skinheads, naacp, aclu, and the muslims is the only group that gets preferential treatment. All this political correctness crap is getting more sickening every day.
     
  7. Nienna
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    Nienna Senior Member

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    Psst... Merlin... MY sarcasm was "on" when I typed that. :)
     
  8. nukeman
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    nukeman Active Member

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    Stop hireing quotas in the government and hire the people that are right for the job regardless of race. Sometimes you cant be PC. This is the biggest problem with the gov't. Lets hire minorities instead of the best person!!!

    I am sure there are a lot of decent people out there who would love a job in a climate controlled environment and decent hours and pay. ohhh wait you have to be a certain color or ehnicity to work for the gov't......:wank:
     

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