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"An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last."
Sir Winston Churchill

9.01.2006

If We Actually Cared About Catching Terrorists

...we'd consider the Israeli model:

Two options lie before us. The first and more disruptive course is to take commercial carriers out of the baggage business. Passenger tickets would include travelers and the clothes on their backs--no luggage, no carry-ons. In theory, this would lower ticket prices. Passengers could then use that savings to ship their bags ahead of them. (It's not as crazy as it sounds; some people already use FedEx for their luggage.) Today, it would cost you about $120 to send a 40-pound suitcase from a home in Philadelphia to a hotel in Los Angeles by second-day air. This price would almost certainly fall if luggage shipping became big business.

The second option is more practical, although just as radical: adopting the Israeli model of airport security. The Israelis are generally regarded as having the safest air travel in the world because, instead of searching for weapons, they use profiling to search for terrorists.

It isn't as controversial as it sounds. We're talking behavioral profiling here, not racial profiling. Israeli-style profiling first came to the United States after September 11, when Boston's Logan International Airport hired Rafi Ron as a security consultant. Before joining New Age
Security Solutions, Ron had been director of security at Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion airport, which has now gone more than 30 years without a serious terrorist incident.

There are differences between Israel and America. Ben Gurion, for instance, handles 6 million to 10 million passengers per year. Logan handles 25 million to 30 million. And the United States has more than 400 commercial airports. But despite the difference in scale, the principles of the Israeli program translate surprisingly well.

"Terrorists are far from being perfect. They are people, they are human beings, just like us, and they do a lot of mistakes," Ron recently told NPR. The system Ron brought to Logan identifies terrorists by focusing on their behavior. As he explained to U.S. News & World Report, "Passengers with illegitimate, violent agendas don't act normally."


Of course, the Democrat model of letting them blow Americans up is equally effective at identifying terrorists, providing enough DNA remains of them and their victims for the FBI to make an ID.

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