ACLU Beatdown: Don’t Talk To Me Part Deux

As a follow up to yesterday’s Stop the ACLU post, regarding the ACLU having a problem with security screeners profiling people by *gasp* talking to them and looking at them, the USA Today had an interesting Editorial, which I saw when I actually read a newspaper made of, well, paper, rather then photons

Six years ago, as the nation prepared to celebrate the arrival of a new millennium, Customs inspectors were on alert. Authorities had been warned that terrorists might try to disrupt New Year’s celebrations.

Good thing. As a car ferry from Canada arrived in Port Angeles, Wash., and disgorged its cargo, a sharp-eyed, veteran inspector by the name of Diana Dean noticed that one driver looked fidgety. As she asked him routine questions, he got nervous.

So she had him step out of his car as other agents searched his trunk. They found it filled with explosives. The man was convicted of terrorism and later admitted he had planned to blow up Disneyland and Los Angeles airport. The nation was spared terrorism for 21 more months.

Many of us know this story, but it is good that the USA Today reiterated it, to go with the follow up:

What Dean did that day is about to play a bigger role in air security. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) plans to train screeners at 40 major airports next year to look for certain telling traits that might reveal hostile intent or nervousness. Fliers who raise suspicion will undergo extra physical screening and could face police questioning.

That makes better sense than trying to search every one of the more than 600 million passengers who board planes each year.

The technique of observing people’s behavior — looking for signs such as chapped, dry lips or a pounding carotid artery — has a proven track record. For decades, "behavior-pattern recognition" has been in use at Israel’s famously secure Ben Gurion Airport.

Makes all the sense in the world to me. The editorial mentions the Black ACLU official stopped and asked for *gasp* ID at Logan Airport in Boston. You remember Logan. That is where two of the 9/11 planes came from.

Racial profiling certainly presents a risk, but not an unmanageable one, and not one sufficient to outweigh the benefit. Careful monitoring of who is stopped and why, sensitivity to complaints, and solid training can deter problems.

In fact, the TSA would do well to incorporate more programs like this in its arsenal. For instance, self-defense training for flight attendants is a smart way to enhance security. Yet Congress and the TSA flubbed an opportunity to ensure effective training.

So here we have the very Liberal USA Today stating uncategorically that they support this type of profiling. The editorial does not carry a by-line, which generally means that the leadership supports the editorial. And it states something which makes sense, without any hysteria, without any talking points: they put the plan into action, and actually *gasp* monitor it to watch out for abuses. A very no nonsense, practical approach. Kudos to the USA Today.

Let’s face it. There is too much hysteria and ad hominem attacks regarding any plan to protect the USA and its national security when the Bush admin comes up with a plan. The USA Today has made a compelling argument. Why not try it? On the way out of Jersey, flying out of Newark Liberty, I was searched because the metal detector picked up the stainless steel rod in my leg. They looked at me, right in the eye. They talked to me, and were pleasant, rather then the impersonal robots they always seem to be. It made the experience more pleasant, and seemingly less intrusive (though, I am used to it, getting wanded about 33% of the time.) If they can catch a bad guy planning to do something on my plane, GREAT!

Now, I just have to figure out how to get this weird black stuff off my fingers.

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One Response to “ACLU Beatdown: Don’t Talk To Me Part Deux”

  1. ACLU: Profiles In Stupidity

    The ACLU is challenging a new TSA training program designed to teach behavioral profiling. PORTLAND, Maine –Airports in Portland and Bangor are among the four in New England that are employing security officers who use behavior detection techniques to…

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