Let's Debate Profiling

Discussion in 'Aviation Passenger Security in the USA' started by FetePerfection, Jun 11, 2011.

  1. FetePerfection

    FetePerfection Founding Member Coach


    I'll start - TSA says no need to profile, they're using intel from multiple sources to detect threats...geez how's that working for them when the underwear bomber's own father tried to warn the State Department of his son's potential for terror...

    I say profile AND bring in bomb sniffing dogs. What say you?
  2. barbell

    barbell Coach Coach

    Profile is a loaded word in our society. However, I think profiling under a different name not only has merit, but also is the only way to secure airliners effectively.

    First and foremost, as someone who actually does use imaging to find "anomalies", you simply cannot train a workfarce of literally 10's of thousands, with such a high turnover rate, and expect any level of success in finding true, bona fide threats to aircraft. They have literally grown the haystack exponentially by deploying Whole Body Imaging and making it the primary source of screening.

    Of the 4 primary plots against American airliners 3 could have been stopped (and 1 actually was) by intelligence. The TSA had absolutely nothing to do with it.

    9/11 was on the radar of intelligence, and ignored.
    The Liquid Bombers were stopped by British intelligence.
    The Panty Bomber could have been stopped had TSA only spelled his name correctly on the No Fly List.

    To date, only acting on intelligence and the bravery of crew/passengers has stopped terrorism. Period.

    If anything, TSA has only gotten in the way, as evidenced by the Panty Bomber.

    The TSA's three ring circus of security theatre adds nothing to the equation, and in fact makes flying less safe.

    Bomb sniffing dogs used randomly throughout the screening process, and actually acting on intelligence is the more sensible, least intrusive way to secure airports, airliners, and passengers.
  3. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    I completed disagree with profiling. My boss is Pakistani. His boss is from India. You can't judge people by their appearance, and non-whites are a majority in the world. By 2045 (if my memory is correct) non-whites will also be a majority in the U.S.

    Screening needs to focus on the efficient identification of genuine threats.
    barbell likes this.
  4. FetePerfection

    FetePerfection Founding Member Coach

    For the sake of discuss let's not profile the risks for the time being, can we agree to profile the non-risks such as infants, children and the elderly?
  5. Fredd

    Fredd Original Member

    I'm inferring that you oppose racial profiling, based on the comments about your boss and his boss.

    Profiling should not be confused with racial profiling. Racial profiling, a topic surrounded with considerable controversy, came to the forefront in the late 1980s and 1990s, when a number of activists and social scientists maintained that law enforcement officials tended to single out African Americans, particularly young males, for arrest and abuse. After the September, 2001, terrorist attacks, random searches and other forms of attention directed toward against Middle Eastern males were also decried in some quarters as racial profiling.

    In contrast to the socially explosive topic of racial profiling, criminal profiling—while it may be controversial among law enforcement authorities and forensic scientists, not all of whom agree on its merits or the proper approach to it—is not controversial in society at large. In fact, television programs concerning crime, as well as dramatic portrayals in popular films have raised considerable public interest in profiling. Thanks to this interest, leading profilers are well-known outside the law-enforcement community.

    It's my understanding that criminal profiling constitutes a fair amount of law enforcement. I'm not trying to quibble; I think it's important to make sure everybody agrees on the terms. As one police chief is quoted, "Until they define [racial profiling], we can't really discuss it . . . . It means too many things to too many people."

    Regarding racial / religious profiling, there's the moral issue and the practical issue and I think it's useful to separate the arguments, similar to the debates about waterboarding.

    There are understandable and defensible moral objections to profiling people wholesale based on their race, religion, citizenship or whatever and I tend to share them in the broadest sense. I can also buy the argument that emphasizing the screening of "non-whites," as you put it, is ineffective. Of course since everybody except for airline crews and employees at some airports are already being screened to the Nth degree (at least until some further ghastly enhancement is introduced to ratchet it up some more) that argument isn't quite as persuasive. What could be more ineffective and inefficient than what's already happening?

    Americans entering Canada at a land border will be asked at least 50% of the time if they're carrying a weapon, while other nationalities (most certainly Canadians) will be far more seldom asked that question. That's a form of profiling based on citizenship / national origin, isn't it? Should Canadians pass legislation forbidding that question, unless it's asked of everybody?

    Should Granny in her wheelchair be subject to the same degree of scrutiny as "others?" Is that to ensure fairness to all or to address a real threat? Those should be two separate questions IMO. And of course whom do we mean by "others?"

    The argument that everybody has to be screened lest the terrorists pick Granny as a willing, unwilling, or even unknowing "mule" has been completely blown out of the water (pardon the explosive language) by the exemptions that have been granted to airline crews due to union pressure. Obviously those crews would be the perfect targets for the terrorists to bribe or threaten or fool to ferry explosives or weapons through security, which is the main rationale for screening grannies and infants right down to the diapers. And what about those airport employees who go to work every day without going through any form of security at all?

    All that makes us resent the "security theater"and get to the point of saying "Why us? Why not them?"

    Re "screening needs to focus on the efficient identification of genuine threats," I think airport screening should be about as cursory as what we experience entering a courthouse or a passport office. The bulk of the resources should be spent on criminal investigation and intelligence gathering by trained professionals most likely far from the airport, whether that's at a big-city mosque or a compound in Montana, within the limitations of the law.

    I can't help but think until convinced otherwise that the excesses we undergo at the checkpoints are the result of a CYA not-on-my-watch attitude, coupled with the profit motive of those who want to sell scanners, and that it's causing more harm than good in a number of ways.


    Oh, and I welcome myself to Travel Underground. :)
    DeafBlonde and barbell like this.
  6. FetePerfection

    FetePerfection Founding Member Coach

    Welcome Fredd and thank you for your response. I like how you think.
    Fredd likes this.
  7. RB

    RB Founding Member

    I think what we go through at TSA checkpoints points to the fact that TSA does not know how to screen for likely threats so everyone gets the full treatment.

    It is an extreme waste of resources to screen everyone equally and makes the discovery of a real threat more difficult.
    Fredd and barbell like this.
  8. N965VJ

    N965VJ Original Member

  9. barbell

    barbell Coach Coach

    Welcome underground, Fredd!

    You said it far more eloquently than I ever could have. Bravo!
    Fredd likes this.

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