Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Note to terrorists: Subscribe to USA Today

I'm on holiday at the moment and wasn't planning to do any posting, but I just had to say something about this.

This morning's USA Today's front-page lead, headlined "Airport Security Uses Talk as Tactic," describes how airport cops and TSA screeners are being taught to spot possible terrorists by their speech and body language.

A second article on page 3 then describes precisely the sorts of suspicious speech and actions Officer Plod is on the lookout for. Both articles are sourced from airport police, Customs and Border Protection and TSA officials.

Security? Do these dopes have the smallest idea of what their jobs are supposed to be about?

I'm no security expert either, but I know this much: you don't announce your tactics in public. It doesn't surprise me that politically appointed government hacks would be so ignorant, but I would have expected a little more discretion from professional police officers and airport security directors.

The security routine at airports is mostly a farce designed for public relations, to give the appearance of protection without the substance. Any serious airport security would involve extra screening for identifiable
Muslims or those whose records show they've traveled in Muslim countries. But that would mean running afoul of the dreaded ACLU (which, needless to say, also opposes using behavioral clues to decide who needs extra attention).

Think about this next time you put your hand luggage and shoes in those trays and raise your arms to be "wanded": the United States government would rather you were blown up in mid-air than offend the politico-religious group that is unquestionably the most likely to try to separate your infidel soul from your body.

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