Monday, November 22, 2010

Israeli Air Travel Security Experts to TSA: You're doing it wrong.

My husband and I are lucky enough to have our immediate - and even extended - families within 150 miles from our home. As such, we really don't need to take a commercial flight anywhere. If we wish to take a vacation, we prefer to take road trips that are closer to home, due to certain budgetary/work restrictions, which prevent a more extravagant, lengthier  sojourn. That being said, I can still certainly appreciate the fact that flying is really the only logical option for some folks. Not everyone is able to simply hop on the interstate for two hours to see their families, and others may have to fly to reach their desired vacation destinations.

However, it's times like these that made me extremely glad that I don't have to spend time going through airport security - and sad for those who do. 

From three-year-old children being fondled in a manner that would get anyone else arrested, to the "Don't Touch My Junk" guy, all fliers are being told to either let someone intensely study your naughty bits through a machine, or allow the "trained professionals" at the TSA to molest you. There is no 3rd option, either...unless you consider ponying up $11,000 for the fine you'll get for refusing to allow the TSA to violate you as a valid option. 

(Oh, and remember how the government assured us that those XXX x-ray machines can't save/record imagesBig fat lie.

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.
...Oh. Well, who is that guy to talk? He's probably just a new guy without any practical experience in the matter.
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.
Well, there goes that theory. 

Besides, as Sela testified before the Canadian parliament, he would be able to bring high-grade explosives onto a Canadian/American flight with great ease, even with the body scanners. 

So, Israel's airports seem to have it together, but what about their airlines?
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.
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.
Yikes, he said the dirty word - profiling. 
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***

1 comment:

  1. HooRayGun, girl! sez RonRaygun. Me, too. I'm making as much noise about the evil, whorizontal liberals as I can. Let's stand together on the gallows and never give-up... even when they pull-the-plug to let'r hang. Then, HALLELUIA!! we'll see Heaven awaiting us (ya know, don'tcha, only 2 realms after death... and 1 of 'em ain't too cool). Puh-leeze lemme kiss your adorable feets in Heaven --- Lookit ‘MySoulAccomplishment’ - you shall find the discernment if you read between the lines to rise above, for God only gives bawls to those who see the need for humility. God bless you.