Friday’s FORUM (Nov. 19, 2010) brought the TSA’s security checks home for me. I read the article about the Fargo man who described the distress and humiliation of going through the TSA’s pat-down (i.e. public sexual assault) at two airports on his recent vacation trip to celebrate his retirement. It sounded like his celebration turned to a horror story in the airports where he chose to be patted in down instead of going through the X-ray machine…which was more worrisome to him because of the radiation exposure. (Radiation is that thing where all radiation professionals put on heavy lead aprons or get out of the room when they radiate you.) So the Fargo man chose the pat down and now says he will never fly again after that experience.
I have been following the national news stories of the TSA’s intrusive so-called security checks.
Yesterday I read , after searching the subject of “security techniques at Israeli airports”, an article written by an American Jew (Allison Kaplan Sommers) who has personally gone through Israeli security more than once for her job as a journalist.
Sommers makes it clear that other nations ought to be looking to Israelis for instruction on TRUE security at airports.
Our country is hobbled by political correctness, as are other European counterparts. If one’s own president cannot admit or acknowledge the reality of radical Islamic terrorism, all the diddley-squat “security measures” in place at present are for nought.
Consider: Piecemeal techniques after something terroristic has almost happened. The shoe bomber Richard Reid almost sets off explosives in his shoe on a flight….passengers subdue him and stop him from succeeding. Security carried out by airline passengers. RESULT: at American airports, people have to take off their shoes before going through security.
THEN: another radical Islamic terrorist tries to bring an explosive substance in a bottle of liquid on board a plane. RESULT: Americans now have to turn over all liquids or creams or drinks the wish to carry on board. Even infant feeding bottles are not allowed. THEN: the Christmas bomber almost sets off a bomb he is carrying in his underwear and once again the airplace passengers provide the TRUE security and subdue him before he can set off his crotch bomb. RESULT: in another piecemeal move, American security(TSA….transient sexual assault) begins to do pat downs which to Americans feel an awful lot like you are getting a sexual assault publicly..or if you refuse the “pat down” you must allow yourself to be assaulted by radiation…a proven cancer causer in other venues.
What stupidity! What ineffective, pitiful attempts to secure the safety of airline passengers…and it gets done by government hacks who may not have been screened before being hired. They have to march in lockstep to whatever government- inspired cockamamie ideas that get hatched by Janet Napolitano and her “colleagues”.
Allison Kaplan Sommers addresses the effectiveness of Israeli airport security that has kept passengers flying in and out of Israel safe from terrorists ever since those security measures were introduced. The Israelis employ many steps in their security and of course one of those steps is Profiling…..which is exactly what the Americans and other western nations cannot bring themselves to do in the name of political correctness. Naturally those in high echelons….Obama, Napolitano and other government officials NEVER have to be subjected to American security measures….if they did, things might change but they are automatically dismissed from enduring the pat downs or radiation or any other silly security measures that this nation has used.
Sommers reports that “Airport security in Israel is not about what’s on your feet, or in your pockets,or, god forbid—–in your underwear. It’s about what’s in your head.
The secret of Israeli airport security doesn’t lie in super-sophisticated technology. The security system is multi-layered, comprised of the following elements:
–roadside check: drivers are stopped and asked who they are and where they came from. Even at that early stage, they are examined for behavioral giveaways that would mark them as suspicious.
–Armed guards at the entrance to the terminal of the airport give you a visual once-over as you enter. They can pull you aside for a random check.
–before you arrive at the main check-in counter, you stand in a security line where a young, clearly intelligent man or woman examines your passport and ticket, looks straight into your eyes and asks who you are, where you are from, where you are heading, who packed your luggage, and whether you are carrying any packages for anyone. If you offer an ambiguous answer or raise red flags by your behavior, the grilling continues and the questions can frankly become irritatingly personal. My ire was up in an airport stop pre-9-11, when to check whether I was, in fact, an American Jew, I was questioned about my Bar Mitzvah. Suspicious behavior results in closer examinations.
–Luggage is X-rayed before check-in. Suspicious items are put in blast-proof containers and moved to a safe area. The airport does not shut down over a suspicious object.
–then you walk though the X-ray machine (with your shoes on) and they check your hand luggage. Yes, they are checking your bags , but mainly they are checking you out. Nobody cares about your bottle of water, baby formula, moisturizer, nail scissors or tweezers.
The journey through this process, with multiple stations at every stop, is fairly rapid for low-risk travelers, even at the height of holiday seasons. So why not adopt it in the U.S.? (end quote from Sommers’s long article)
I now quote Jeffrey Goldberg who has flown in and out of Israel frequently. Goldberg does not think the Israeli security system would work all that well in the U.S.
“The Israeli system, which features individual interviews with each traveler, also wouldn’t work because as cow-like as we are, Americans are not going to stand for the invasive questioning that is the most crucial component of the Israeli system. Also, we’d have to show up at the airport 5 hours ahead of our flights to be processed at the more overcrowded American airports. I’m having a hard time imagning this happening.”
As to the profiling that is done by Israeli security, they say they are looking not so much for ethnic profiling as they are for behavioral profiling Israelis look for certain patterns in a person’s background.
Then there is the need for highly trained security personnel. Israel’s universal army service offers a huge pool of candidates for airport security. Once again a quote from Allison Kaplan Sommers:
“From the minute your car pulls into Ben Gurion airport, you know that you are under surveillance. You know that you are being watched by trained, intgelligent, and motivated young people. This contrasts with the often bored and frustrated low-wage workers who man the X-ray stations in the U.S. who often joke with their friends as they stare at the screens and wand the unhappy passengers.”
Perhaps a total adoption of the Israeli security system is not possible, suddenly, in the U.S. But learning the lessons from the Israelis is highly practical and Israeli consultants would be happy to teach them to American security personnel
Personally, I would far prefer submitting to the Israeli security procedures, and like the Fargo man whose story was published in the November 19 issue of the FORUM, I would choose not to fly in the United States until the stupid security methods are changed…but I won’t hold my breath as long as Big Sis Napolitano is in charge. She gives me the creeps and looks like she might enjoy the pat downs.
Former Governor (MN) Jesse Ventura has also stated his determination not to fly in the U.S. also. He has frequently flown for business and is thorougly fed up with the security pat- downs and X rays.
Link to original Pajamas Media article by Allison Sommers: http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/what-can-Israel-teach-the-u-s-about-airport-security/