Now, I know that we can't be 100% protected. Everything we do in life involves risk. However, when implementing a new process/procedure, wouldn't anyone want to emulate the folks who have gotten the process as close to perfect as possible?
A leading Israeli airport security expert says the Canadian government has wasted millions of dollars to install "useless" imaging machines at airports across the country.
"I don't know why everybody is running to buy these expensive and useless machines. I can overcome the body scanners with enough explosives to bring down a Boeing 747," Rafi Sela told parliamentarians probing the state of aviation safety in Canada.
"That's why we haven't put them in our airport," Sela said, referring to Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion International Airport, which has some of the toughest security in the world.
Sela, former chief security officer of the Israel Airport Authority and a 30-year veteran in airport security and defence technology, helped design the security at Ben Gurion.
According to Isaac Yeffet, the former security chief for El Al Israel Airlines, the United States should adopt El Al’s security approach of ensuring that every passenger is interviewed by a well-trained agent before check-in, a move that involves profiling passengers, which he said is not discriminatory.
Yikes, he said the dirty word - profiling.El Al is considered by most security analysts as the most secure airline in the world because of its track-record in deterring hijackings and terror plots. The airline has been free of terrorist attacks for about 30 years and it has experienced only one hijacking in its history. Global Traveler magazine has named El Al as number one in its Best Airline for Security for the last three years in a row.
Nonetheless, critics of American airliners adopting El Al’s security approach say it would violate passengers’ civil rights by allowing some passengers to be more intensely scrutinized than others....Typical. But profiling isn't defined by the Israelis as our always-so-eager-to-find-a-victim friends on the left seem to define the word (emphasis mine).
“...Profiling is not that I am choosing that I want to interview them. We don’t have discrimination [at El Al]. Every passenger--I don’t care who he or she is--has to be interviewed by security. We have to be polite. We know how to ask questions.”
“The TSA [Transportation Safety Administration in USA] wants to tell me we now have security in this country--this is an illusion,” he said. “It’s not security. It’s about time that we are proactive and reactive. In this country we fear reactive, we don’t do anything to be proactive.”This is absolutely, 100%, right on the money. Instead of wasting an inane amount of time scanning and searching nuns, flight attendants, and toddlers, proactive measures can - and should - be taken.Yeffet goes on to say that simply by asking a few simple questions, so much can be garnered from not only the answers themselves, but how the answers are delivered. This is asking a question, and methodically studying body language, tone/timbre of voice, etc. of the person to whom they are speaking. According to Yeffet, this method received little pushback from passengers, unless they had something to hide.
One other huge difference between the Israelis and our TSA agents, is the training. According to Sammy Elrom, a Homeland Security consultant, TSA training is completely insufficient. He states that TSA personnel is "not trained to gather and evaluate immediate threats," and instead is only focused on a specific list of disallowed items. As such, he goes on to say, that "weapons are not the problem, people are." By focusing on a psychological/passenger behavior approach to security, it only further prevents the potential of a terrorist utilizing an otherwise inconspicuous object as a means of bringing down a plane.
Look, I don't doubt the motives of Janet Nepolitano and the rest of the federal government. I know they only wish to keep us safe. However, our efforts are sorely misplaced. We are wasting valuable time violating the rights of completely innocent people by putting them through invasive, insulting, and degrading search procedures, looking for an ever-growing list of "stuff" that they may, or may not catch. Besides, the next time the terror threat is raised, what's the next step up in the security ladder - mandatory cavity searches for everyone?
The more time we waste looking for an ever-growing list of stuff and conducting unreasonable searches on toddlers and grandmothers as opposed to looking at behaviors, the less likely we will be to spot those who truly wish to do us harm.
***Cross-posted at Politicular.com***