Tuesday, January 05, 2010

PROFILE: Middle Eastern Male 18-45, One-way Ticket

Screening must include religion, ethnicity
Steven Emerson - Jan 05, 2010

In the wake of the attempted bombing of a Detroit-bound flight on Christmas Day, security experts, political commentators and the media have been asking one question: How can the United States prevent terrorists from smuggling homemade bombs through security?

The most frequent answer has been full body scanners, a developing technology used in a handful of airports around the world. Although these scanners may be effective, they are at best the right answer to the wrong question.

The question that law enforcement and security professionals must ask is how to prevent the terrorists themselves from getting on the airplane. Once we focus our attention on individual terrorists rather than their potential weapons, one fact is immediately clear: We must completely change the way we go about airport security and counterterrorism in general.

The procedures are both inadequate and ineffective. The current random searches do only a minimum to improve security. Nothing is more unproductive than searching an 80-year-old woman in a wheelchair from Sweden or a 3-year-old child simply because she or he was the 10th person in line. Quite simply, the system has failed and must be revamped.

Recognizing existing deficiencies, on Monday the Transportation Safety Administration announced it has taken the first step toward implementing a revised screening process for airline passengers. TSA will mandate that "every individual flying into the U.S. from anywhere in the world traveling from or through nations that are state sponsors of terrorism or other countries of interest will be required to go through enhanced screening."

This is a step in the right direction. But more should be done.

More after the jump.

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