The current outrage over the TSA's new body scanning and pat down regulations has me fuming, but maybe not for the reasons that immediately come to mind.
DHS Nazi-In-Chief Napolitano and TSA Head Inquisitor Pistole are trying to convince us that these more stringent regulations are necessary to keep us safe. Granted, these methods MAY prevent incidents like the underwear bomber ... and notice I said MAY. Threats from terrorists are always evolving - it is a deadly game where they make a move, we counter move. We are always playing catchup, because no matter how much we hate the people who want to kill us, we must realize that they (at least the head guys) are pretty damn smart.
So, do we need more security? More TSA agents standing around looking like potted plants? More old ladies and babies being frisked? Not exactly.
What we need is better security.
Better security requires going after the terrorists themselves, not going after what they are trying to smuggle onto a plane.
How do you do that? Well, besides the spook work that takes place where we don't know about it, there are measures that can actually take place at the airport. What are they?
The fact that we in the US do not legally allow any type of profiling is ludicrous. To say that a young man of obvious Middle-Eastern heritage should receive no more scrutiny than a 90 year old white grandma from Iowa is insane. Yet, we are forced to do it, to remain politically correct. To look at them differently violates civil rights. Just plain insanity ...
We should take hints at air travel security from the Isrealis. They've been doing it seriously for a lot of years now, and they are very good at it. Their primary concern isn't for civil rights, their primary concern is keeping their citizens and their aircraft safe.
Isreali security is in charge of screening for all El Al flights. They are also in charge of screening for passengers bound for or flying out of Isreal. They write and enforce the rules. They use profiling as their primary tool. I have been to Isreal once, on business. I was subjected to a thorough 30 minute 'interview' before I was allowed to get onto a US owned airplane to fly OUT of the country. This wasn't anything special. People who fit certain profiles were automatically pulled aside for such interviews. Certain people who fit more suspicious profiles got longer 'interviews'. There was nothing personal about it. It was not abusive. It was intense, purposeful, and professional. You trip up on your answers, or your answers lead to more questions, and you got taken to another area for a much longer interview (thankfully, I was not selected for this priviledge). These people knew exactly what they were doing, what they were looking for. Every look, every question, every movement had a very specific reason. It all starts with profiling to identify those who should receive this level of screening ...
Now, I'm not saying we should curtail civil rights. I truly hate it when the government tells me to do something, and I would not want to be on the wrong end of profiling. However, what we are doing violates everyone's civil rights equally, and its effectiveness is debatable. I'm not saying we should to to the extreme of the Isreali model, but to handicap our security efforts by not even being able to mutter the word 'profile' is insane. Insane. Insane .....