November 23, 2010

Why can't this same statement be applied to profiling?

TSA Head John Pistole: If Passengers Donít Undergo Screening, 'They Donít Have a Right' to Fly:

ďI see flying as a privilege that is public safety issue. So the government has a role in providing for the public safety and we need to do everything we can in partnership with the traveling public, to inform them about what their options are,Ē Pistole said at a breakfast with reporters organized by the Christian Science Monitor. ďI clearly believe that passengers have a number of options as they go through screening. But the bottom line is, if someone decides they donít want to have screening, they donít have the right to get on the plane.Ē

I certainly agree with that -- that flying is not a "right," just as driving, say, isn't a right. (Don't want to endure DMV to get a license? Fine, don't drive!) However, it seems to me that Pistole's stance could still be implemented but without the ridiculous spectacles we've heard about the last week or so. To do would be called ... profiling:

Security officials should pay less attention to objects, and more attention to people.

The Israelis do. They are, out of dreadful necessity, the world's foremost experts in counterterrorism. And they couldn't care less about what your grandmother brings on a plane. Instead, officials at Ben Gurion International Airport interview everyone in line before they're even allowed to check in.

And Israeli officials profile. They don't profile racially, but they profile. Israeli Arabs breeze through rather quickly, but thanks to the dozens of dubious-looking stamps in my passport -- almost half are from Lebanon and Iraq -- I get pulled off to the side for more questioning every time. And I'm a white, nominally Christian American.

If they pull you aside, you had better tell them the truth. They'll ask you so many wildly unpredictable questions so quickly, you couldn't possibly invent a fake story and keep it all straight. Don't even try. They're highly trained and experienced, and they catch everyone who tries to pull something over on them.

Because I fit one of their profiles, it takes me 15 or 20 minutes longer to get through the first wave of security than it does for most people. The agents make up for it, though, by escorting me to the front of the line at the metal detector. They don't put anyone into a "porn machine." There's no point. Terrorists can't penetrate that deeply into the airport. (Link.)

The problem, of course, is that groups like the ACLU, CAIR and like-minded organizations would be waiting voraciously to pounce -- legally. Somehow, it is perfectly OK to grab someone's breasts or balls in the name of "security," but dare a TSA official ask a Muslim to step aside to answer a few questions? "Humiliating." "Racist." "Islamophobic." "Fear mongering." Just take a gander at the case of ACLU official King Downing:

Downing sued the Massachusetts Port Authority, which operates the airport, and Massachusetts State Police, alleging they violated his constitutional right against unreasonable search. A trial in the case began Monday in U.S. District Court.

Downing, who is black and wears a short beard, said in his lawsuit that he was stopped by a state trooper and asked to show identification after he left the gate area and made a phone call in the terminal.

"Unreasonable search" -- after merely being asked to show ID. As opposed to full body scans and groping pat-downs. Check.

Keep in mind that race/ethnicity is merely part of effective profiling at airports. Note again the Israeli example above. Nevertheless, the American public supports [racial/ethnic] profiling at airports. (In full disclosure, they also support full body scans -- but not the intrusive pat-downs.)

Posted by Hube at November 23, 2010 03:46 PM | TrackBack

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And since there is no "right" to fly and the Bill of Rights is therefore (allegedly) does not apply, there should be no reason that anyone objects to my proposed airport security system -- because if the 4th Amendment does not apply in regard to air travel, neither does the 1st Amendment.

Posted by: Rhymes With Right at November 24, 2010 08:50 AM

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