I'd do profiling in a heartbeat, if it would be sufficient. The problem with profiling is that it underestimates the evil of the terrorists.
Here's the obvious scenario (not original with me): A team of half a dozen terrorists get together. They find a little old blue-haired grandmother who has a daughter, son-in-law, and granddaughter. They kidnap the family, and before the grandmother's eyes murder the son-in-law. Then they tell her she will either take their weapon on board a plane, or they will murder her daughter and granddaughter. Some of them stay with the daughter/granddaughter to make sure the grandmother doesn't back out.
How do you stop that? You make it clear that the little old blue-haired ladies are no less likely to be searched than obvious terrorists. That way, there is no incentive to find a 'low-risk' mule to carry something on board.
My suggestion would be to use profiling not to decide whom to search, but so that those fitting a terrorist profile are restricted to very few flights. Make such restrictions as requiring no carry on baggage at all for those flights, and make it clear that there would be guards on each.
Then tell those inconvenienced in that way that they need to get on the clerics of their profession and get them to condemn instead of glorify terrorism.
posted on 08/14/2006 2:13:08 PM PDT
Part of effective profiling is not just in looking at ethnicity, it is looking at stress and fear. That blue-haired grandma forced to carry a bomb is going to be a stress meltdown. She is going to show. And she is going to fess up under interviewing. Bomb off, plane safe.
posted on 08/14/2006 2:20:49 PM PDT
(“Dream as if you'll live forever, live as if you'll die today.”)
In your scenario, I doubt that the blue-hair who has to blow up a plane or have her family killed is going to act just like she's on just another routine flight. That's where profiling behavior would have to be done. A few minutes of interrogation should identify that her behavior is a bit odd. But, if we think some TSA flunky is going to be able to do that, I think we're mistaken.
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