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Security or Unreasonable Search? Stop Treating Americans Like Suspected Terrorists Comments

It is unreasonable to subject every passenger to being seen virtually naked and/or groped by a government official. 3 year-old girls are not the enemy. 7 year-old boys are not the enemy. Elderly nuns in full habit are not the enemy. The overwhelming majority of people in the United States are not the enemy. Continue Reading

1 - 10 of 38 Comments

  1. Mary
    4 years ago

    In the 1980's I was living in the Netherlands. I was returning to the U.S. for a family reunion and bought airline tickets the way I always buy them, economically. The best rate at theat moment were tickets on an El Al flight. I was only vaguely aware of the profiling El Al does, but I became accutely aware. For some reason I was singled out as their "terrorist potential" and was grilled over and over while standing for hours in line, then alone as everyone else left to board the plane. I was asked about my luggage, my trip plans, etc. by at at least three people for a total of I at least 6 times, maybe more. I was at the time 30 years old, nicely dressed (a dress, not jeans and a t-shirt) and happen to be blond and very Irish looking, always have been and it has never been a security problem. I had a round trip ticket, cooperated, though became increasingly upset as time went on and the plane was held up from take off. One older man, I suppose a supervisor came over to me at one point in this ordeal and thanked me for my patience - the one moment of consideration to me in the whole process. Not one of the people grilling me were so gracious and one was quite nasty. Finally, after going through my luggage, my pocket contents, unwrapping gifts for my family and finding nothing, they allowed me to board their plane.

    I was escorted all the way to the plane by the angry little woman who had first somehow decided I was an evil terrorist and delivered to the Dutch airport boarding security. As the Dutch security began their questioning, the little El Al woman informed the Dutch security woman that I had been cleared by them, as if dismissing any further need. I have to say, I took some minor solace in the fact that the Dutch security very curtly yet politely informed this woman that they would do their job thank you very much and dismissed her. I was then treated politely and expiditiously (a small comfort) and boarded the plane. The next element to this nightmare was that there was a person seated across the aisle from me blatantly staring daggers at me the entire flight, perhaps an El Al "sky marshal" of some sort? It just added to the horriible experience.

    The result of this experience is that no, I don't approve of this method of "security" either. It did not make me feel safe. Profiling is profiling and if someone innocent, or a lot of innocent people, or in fact every single person trying to fly in the sky is treated as a criminal, I do not feel safer as a passenger, or an earthling. I haven't ever considered taking the Israeli airline since the '80's and now, I have no intention of flying ever again. I also have no doubt that humans will continue to try and kill one another and that many innocent people will be unwilling victims of the evil that exists in our world.

    My intent in life is what it's been in all of my 50+ years, to live and love as my Catholic faith has taught me. I trust in God alone, and I hope for us all that we try to honor God and love one another.

  2. Bern
    4 years ago

    I am a liberal democrat, and, you know what?

    I am very much in favor of "profiling". Bring it on!

    Sorry, nor very politically correct, I know!

    Richard Reid (shoe bomber) and what's-his-name from Nigeria (underwear bomber) should never have been let on a plane to the US. It is my understanding that both of these pigs were initially denied boarding, and subsequently allowed to board. It also suggests that screening in Europe (Paris and Amsterdam) is woefully deficient.

    But, here's the thing: My safety and the safety of my fellow passengers come first.

    And I have no objection to the enhanced full body scan; in fact, I went through it in August in Boston when I flew to Zurich on Swiss International. Didn't give it a thought! Don't care if someone sees my genitals on a screen (what happens when you go to the gym, in the locker room, the showers? Let's dispense with the hysteria!)

    Am in full agreement that enhanced pat-downs for six-year olds and blue-haired grannies are just plain silly.

  3. Bob Burford
    4 years ago

    In Vietnam the Cong would put hand grenades in dead bodies and even sending their children with presents for the GI and sacrifice these innocents lives.

    Israel does not have a problem with terrorists and everyone arrives alive.Their searches are very intrusive.

    Terrorists do not have a moral high ground but we do.

    Civilian TSA employees have to have extensive background checks. I do not trust contract employers because their bottom line is a profit margin.

    my conclusion is to let TSA do its job and yes watch for abuses.

  4. John
    4 years ago

    Jennifer, I was with you right up to and until the point where you say Muslim men are the enemy and therefore it is ok to profile them. You can't have an entire article based on rights under the 4th Amendment, but then violate equal protection for persons YOU see as a potential problem. What happens the next time there's a Timothy McVeigh? If you have to set down the very rights you would like to protect, in ay capacity, there is a problem. The machine can and should be set to give the TSA agent a generic human body image that highlights the area in question. An image that shows whether a woman is an A,B,C, or D cup, or shows a mans anatomy is private, not reasonable and not necessary. That is the part of it I think is unreasonable. Secondly, we can retrain dogs to check for more substances and search people that way. But groin searches just are NOT EVER going to be reasonable, and I agree with the body cavity comment you made. There has to be another way to do this, but religious or racial profiling is not the answer.

  5. Mark
    4 years ago

    A "profile" is only a set of words on documents. What if someone constructs a false profile? What do you expect, that the TSA employees are supposed to be psychic? People whine and whine about how afraid they are that terrorists will come onto planes with weapons. You can buy ceramic knives at the local drug store now. Then when TSA does the only thing it can do to protect people from all the unknown things they are so afraid of, people whine and whine that it offends them. You've set up a media situation for them in which they can never win, no matter how hard they try to do the right thing. You've taken the role of Accuser.

  6. Betsy
    4 years ago

    Profiling has been done for years when you cross the border into Canada. The agents check your identification, ask a few questions and watch your demeanor. They know what to look for, and if they suspect a person of anything, then that person has to pull their car over to the side and it gets inspected.

  7. TJ
    4 years ago

    Brian, as I already explained above, profiling has nothing to do with hatred, xenophobia or racism. Pre-flight interviews that you suggest ARE profiling! They don't just go by a persons appearance, but by behavior, circumstances, evidence, etc. They also don't require a 30 minute interview of each passenger. Trained people will recognize the red flags that suggest a particular person needs further questioning. Most people will breeze on through because they won't raise those flags after a few simple questions. This won't take much longer than the process we're using now of taking off our shoes, emptying pockets, etc.

  8. Brian
    4 years ago

    You are promoting hatred and xenophobia. Just a little bit of research and common sense will tell you profiling is not the answer.
    Ask yourself, "What does a Muslim man look like?" You will probably come up with something like "middle-eastern looking" or maybe wearing a turban. Guess what. That would not have prevented a single one of the 9/11 conspirators from boarding a plane. And how many think there is a physically noticeable difference between a Lebanese (mostly Catholic) and a Turk (mostly Islamic.) Do you single out Nigerians because they have so many Muslims? They also have a substantial Christian population.
    There are better and simpler alternatives to the ridiculous (and useless) scanners, but profiling isn't one of them. Dogs work quite well in most instances. Pre-flight interviews have had great success.

  9. Rob
    4 years ago

    In my opinion this is just another massive over reaction to the terrorist threat that our country has allowed itself to be engaged in. This tendency to over react has led to two never ending wars, a depletion of our fiscal treasure, insane partisianship and now this. Since our leaders seem to be completely devoid of any common sense, I would encourage all of you to get used to it.

  10. Mary Kay Jones
    4 years ago

    As a 25 year plus flight attendant, I think it is a mistake NOT to have profiling at every airport in our country. Our Border Patrol agents do it, why aren't we insisting air travel utilize this technique? I have always admired El Al and their security techniques. Come on America, by the time flight attendants do their own form of profiling on board, it could be too late.
    Please contact Janet Napolitano and demand we switch to the method that works!

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