Further to my previous post on the subject of searches done by the TSA, I came across this CNN article and thought it was worth posting and making a comment.
Now I am one who does not object to the idea that security at airports need to search passengers and luggage when there is grounds for suspicion. Here in Australia and in other international countries, our customs personnel have had a lot of success in preventing drugs and other items entering the country because of the procedures that they use. The security personnel who attend the screening are usually very polite on the job, even when there is a problem (a slight hiccup!!). However, the TSA is another matter.
CNN obtained a list of 70 “behavioural patterns” used to identify potential “high risk passengers”. The problem with the list is that it does not seem to identify those who are most likely to carry out terrorist threats, and it seems that the TSA uses one indicator in particular “those who criticise vocally and arrogantly the TSA procedures”. I hate to tell them, but those passengers are unlikely to have plastic explosives strapped to their bodies.
What is more, it does not explain why a young professional family of a doctor, his wife and young children were singled out to be searched, and then the little girl of 6 being singled out for a pat-down. It does not compute. The procedures totally stink to high heaven.
The Civil Liberties Union has been weighing in on this controversy and like Michael German, a former FBI agent says:
“Expressing your contempt about airport procedures — that’s a First Amendment-protected right,” said Michael German, a former FBI agent who now works as legal counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union. “We all have the right to express our views, and particularly in a situation where the government is demanding the ability to search you.”
“It’s circular reasoning where, you know, I’m going to ask someone to surrender their rights; if they refuse, that’s evidence that I need to take their rights away from them. And it’s simply inappropriate,” he said.
Now one must not confuse some arrogant behaviour when being questioned, as is noted in the same article, that the 20th hijacker involved with the attack upon the USA via the WTC, Pentagon and Pennsylvania incidents was refused entry into the United States because of arrogant behaviour. As stated further in the CNN article:
Agent Jose Melendez-Perez told the 9/11 commission that Mohammed al-Qahtani “became visibly upset” and arrogantly pointed his finger in the agent’s face when asked why he did not have an airline ticket for a return flight.
But some experts say terrorists are much more likely to avoid confrontations with authorities, saying an al Qaeda training manual instructs members to blend in.
“I think the idea that they would try to draw attention to themselves by being arrogant at airport security, it fails the common sense test,” said CNN National Security Analyst Peter Bergen. “And it also fails what we know about their behaviours in the past.”
The 9/11 commission’s report says that “none of the checkpoint supervisors (on September 11th) recalled the (successful) hijackers or reported anything suspicious regarding their screening.”
But, it says, an airline ticket agent that checked in hijacker Mohammed Atta says Atta “reacted negatively when informed in Portland (Maine) that he would have to check in again in Boston.” Atta “clenched his jaw and said … with some irritation, ‘They told me one step check-in,'” he recalled. The ticket agent recommended the United States hire “behaviour profilers … the way they do overseas,” the report says.
What appears clear to me is that the TSA is overstepping when it profiles and then selects people for further security processing, especially when it is breeching the right to free speech. The difference between the Al Qaeda operatives who did behave arrogantly and someone voicing objections based upon bad procedures is obvious.
Not one terrorist has been caught as a result of these faulty TSA procedures. Their “profiling” procedures suck because they continue to refuse to do what is necessary to ensure the safety and well-being of the travelling public. Instead they terrorize little children, the elderly and the disabled, and they prevent young mothers from catching their flights home all in the name of throwing around their own weight.
Please read the whole article.