Saturday, December 26, 2009

Can we profile now?

The feel good policy of not wanting to offend has its price. The price is putting everyone who flies in danger.
The plot to blow up an American passenger jet over Detroit was organized and launched by al Qaeda leaders in Yemen who apparently sewed bomb materials into the suspect's underwear before sending him on his mission, federal authorities tell ABC News.

A passenger aboard the plane set off an explosive device, causing a commotion and some minor injuries, a Delta official said. Northwest is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Delta.

Investigators say the suspect had more than 80 grams of PETN, a compound related to nitro-glycerin used by the military. The so-called shoe bomber, Richard Reid, had only about 50 grams kin his failed attempt in 2001 to blow up a U.S.-bound jet. Yesterday's bomb failed because the detonator may have been too small or was not in "proper contact" with the explosive material, investigators told ABC News.

Investigators say the suspect, Abdul Farouk Umar Abdulmutallab, a 23-year-old Nigerian student whose birthday was last Tuesday, has provided detailed information about his recruitment and training for what was supposed to be a Christmas Day suicide attack.
Would an Israeli like profile system be perfect, no. However, it works real well for them and it is much better than the happy-talk, feel-good, self delusion we have now. A highly educated upper-middle class Muslim young man from a nation with a significant radical Islamic presence. What does he hit - 8 out of 10 significant indicators?

It goes beyond searching a grandmother in a wheelchair .... it includes the time mid-decade when I was being patted down from head to toe while in my khaki uniform, while three shaved-head, full bearded, man-dress wearing men speaking Arabic walked right through the medal detector, glanced at me and grinned.

Many years ago I remember a security expert with the Israeli airline El Al describe the difference between our systems. We look for weapons - they look for terrorists.

It is a good thing we got lucky - because when it comes to looking for terrorists on airliners, we aren't all that good.
Oh, and to answer my own question: no.

Too much political and intellectual cowardice to do the right thing - it will take the death of hundreds to even have a chance of a logical profiling program ... if then.

No comments: