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The latest attempt was by a Nigerian man. That does not fit what most people consider to be the "profile." Or, are you just talking about targeting all non-whites?

 

Sorry Eric the latest fool terrorist exactly fit the profile, IslaMIC extremist, on a terrorist watch list, coming from a known hotbed of Islaamic trouble makers (Yemen). i don't care what color your skin is, nuts exist everywhere but customs screens people every day. I have been pulled over many times for fitting the profile of a drug smuggler. (Young single male traveling alone with long hair and beard, carrying lots of bags to/from countries with drug problems) It is an inconvenience to be the only one checked on a flight but I understand why they would check.

 

What I object to is the poor security wasting time and effort on non likely suspects and allowing real problem passengers onboard out of some sense of political correctness. They even gave this last fool a Visa, although he was on a watch list. Why bother with a watch list if you don't even use it to screen people?

 

I happen to live and work in an Islamic part of the world, with Islamic students and friends and know that the overwhelmingly vast majority have peaceful intents but I also know where the nuts are being harvested. Let's use some common sense in screening people.

Edited by dirtydave

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The latest attempt was by a Nigerian man. That does not fit what most people consider to be the "profile." Or, are you just talking about targeting all non-whites?

The profile could of course be "Anyone that the CIA has advance warning of that they could be potential terrorists and are unstable" :) Seems to be a pretty high match.

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Fundamentally, I agree that there should be some way to "profile" according to metrics that make sense, but I'm not expecting policy that adheres to common sense any time soon. But being extra careful with people on watch lists is probably a good start!

 

Screening is a joke these days, anyway, and until there is a better way to screen, none of this is going to be effective. "Oh -- there's a zip tie on the zipper? Hmmm. Well, just go ahead, then."

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Actually, I take it back. I'm against profiling of all kinds -- specifically, racial profiling. I'm all for centralized watch lists based on intelligence and for picking someone out of line randomly and for being extra careful if someone is doing something suspicious, but I don't believe that profiling can ever be done in a way that is fair. I don't have faith that a typical security person at an airport isn't going to just default to racial profiling if he/she is allowed to make his own decisions.

 

I can understand why non-Americans don't want to travel through the States. Every time I come back -- especially via LAX -- I am treated rudely and with suspicion, despite presenting an American passport and being American-born, raised, educated, and taxed.

 

Last month, when I presented my passport and customs form, the guy asked (brusquely), "Whatchoo doin' here?"

 

I replied, "I live here."

 

But I had to hold back my tongue to prevent a dry-cleaning dream joke from coming out of my lips. I know it's not worth it when civil rights have been flushed down the toilet.

 

It's got to be many times worse for *actual* foreigners coming through the States.

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I heard an interview on the radio with the head of security for an Israeli airline (El Al I believe is the name). this airline was reported to be the safest in the world (how they made that determination I don't know). Anyway, they asked him what is wrong with American security system, and he said "Americans are looking for the weapon and not the terrorist." I think it sucks that everyone who is traveling has to be treated like they are a major threat. Target people on a watch list, or from certain countries, or that have travelled to certain countries, or that have certain names. I hate racism and discrimination of any kind, let me be clear about that, but the individuals who are planning and carrying out these attacks fit a certain profile. you just don't see camera wielding divers trying to blow up planes!!! ok, i'll get off my soap box...

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I heard an interview on the radio with the head of security for an Israeli airline (El Al I believe is the name). this airline was reported to be the safest in the world (how they made that determination I don't know).

 

El Al is well known for that. You can read more about the usual security measures on El Al on wikipedia

See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/El_Al#El_Al_security

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I heard an interview on the radio with the head of security for an Israeli airline (El Al I believe is the name). this airline was reported to be the safest in the world (how they made that determination I don't know). Anyway, they asked him what is wrong with American security system, and he said "Americans are looking for the weapon and not the terrorist." I think it sucks that everyone who is traveling has to be treated like they are a major threat. Target people on a watch list, or from certain countries, or that have travelled to certain countries, or that have certain names. I hate racism and discrimination of any kind, let me be clear about that, but the individuals who are planning and carrying out these attacks fit a certain profile. you just don't see camera wielding divers trying to blow up planes!!! ok, i'll get off my soap box...

Remember Timothy McVeigh, he didn't fit much in the way of Islamic Terrorist. More to the point, if carrying scuba gear or cameras get you a pass then you will see terrorists with cameras getting on board. Same with families with kids. If you are willing to die to blow something up then you most likely are willing to take your kid with you. One problem is that the U.S. is just too big a destination for economically disadvantaged folks from all over the world, many of them fit the Islamic terrorist profile but come here to go to school or get a job. Hard to figure out which ones are the bad guys though. Technology can help, but won't be fool proof. I travel quite a bit (200K miles per year) for work and the pain of the airport keeps getting worse. Hopefully we will be able to accept the fact that if a plane gets taken down we still keep going to work.

Bill

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I think it's important to note this

1. El Al is a very small airline and Israel is a small country. It's easier to profile for a place where the air traffic is much smaller and there isn't a melting pot compared to the EU or north America.

2. El Al's security protocols are based on behavioral pattern recognition and not only racial or religious profiling. It is assumed they target arab muslims only because they are the purported enemies. In 1972, it was the Japanese group JRA who killed 24 people in Ben Gurion airport. Then there was the hijacker Arguello guy who was American I believe. How about that for racial profiling misses?

If we are to count extremists and concentrate on the muslims, then we are also screwed since all anyone has to do is change passport and religion. Chechen radicals are purported to be in collusion with Al Qaida. Can even the Russians tell the difference between a Chechen or a Georgian or even a Russian? They are both with caucasian backgrounds. Any system that picks race as a factor is flawed.

 

The Israelis claim they don't do only racial profile. However, with the overwhelming issues of Palestine and the Arab world, and being human, the BPR system is subject to human frailties, so naturally race does enter into enforcement. There are freaks everywhere in every religious and racial background.

 

To add to Eric's own experiences, I've been asked that very same question before at DFW, SFO, JFK, MIA and HOU (but not at LAX because my address is in LA). While I'm very aware that there's a certain act of self-consciousness when someone asks me that question, whereby I ask what sort of stupid question is that to ask me since my passport says it all? I do accept that if everyone else is asked that same question, then I'm the thin skin idiot who's hypersensitive. I've asked my caucasian friends who travel as much as I do if they've ever been asked that question. None have been asked that. Now why is that?

 

Behavioral profiling in theory is very sound when enforced by people who are smart enough to know how to do it. However, how many people with the intelligence to really profile a person without bias would work at TSA pay scales when they can get an equally mundane job in the private sector for much more money? Even then, can anyone say they are without bias? I'm sure some of it is out of ignorance or stupidity, but my point is that it is a flawed system. Eric's concerns about TSA's handling is valid and is being proven correct with the current system.

 

Now the terrorists aren't stupid either. Once they know the system, they'll find ways to pass it. That's what the PLFO did by using Japanese and Umar sewed explosives into his underwear. All this knee jerk reaction is hysteria. To stop people for getting up one hour before the flight lands? No potty privileges? The terrorist can't prepare 1.5 hours before the flight? Inflight entertainment switched off so the terrorist won't be distracted?

 

Well my new year's party had the same topic since a few of the people were flying back to the US. One of them had their flight cancelled ostensibly due to the crew trying to reprogram the inflight entertainment to switch off 1 hour before landing and it blew out the entire system, resulting in a cancelled flight. She saw it as a sign to stay and party :)

 

Happy 2010...and unhappy travels with TSA apparently!

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I get on a plane early tomorrow morning. Yippee! Happy New Year! :)

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This is what Alaska Airlines has to say (just in time for the Olympics! When one goes to the US (at least for Seattle flights) from Vancouver one goes through US customs before getting on the plane - I have been through this a few times but have not noticed if this operation has anything to do with Transport Canada, mentioned below):

I believe U. S. Immigration and Customs, and presumably, Homeland Security officials conduct pre-clearances in Canadian Airports according to U.S. F.A.A. rules and regulations. Canadian Immigration and Customs officials conducting pre-clearances in American airports would be guided by the Canadian Aviation Regulations or C.A.R.S. for shorthand. The establishment of pre-clearances by both governments in each others countries is a long established policy created in a time when the air travel industry was more interested in making a passenger's journey more efficient and pleasurable.

 

I vaguely remember an incident many years ago at Toronto Pearson International Airport concerning a passenger being informed that he was subject to American F.A.A. law now that he had pre-cleared through American Customs and Immigration while still in a Canadian airport. I don't know if the U.S. Immigration officer was bluffing or not, but thought the offending passenger would probably be turned over to the R.C.M.P. for charges to be laid in the event of an infraction.

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People just have to accept there are risks involved in living.

 

Agreed.

As long as humans design computers, and then operate said computers, there will always be stuff ups.

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Does anyone know if there will be an issue with carry-on of ULCS 8 inch strobe arms? I can see some agent having an issue with the shape?

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To add to Eric's own experiences, I've been asked that very same question before at DFW, SFO, JFK, MIA and HOU (but not at LAX because my address is in LA). While I'm very aware that there's a certain act of self-consciousness when someone asks me that question, whereby I ask what sort of stupid question is that to ask me since my passport says it all? I do accept that if everyone else is asked that same question, then I'm the thin skin idiot who's hypersensitive. I've asked my caucasian friends who travel as much as I do if they've ever been asked that question. None have been asked that. Now why is that?

 

I'm white and certainly have been asked that returning back to SFO. I have had bad experiences with customs agents in the US and other countries, too, and also nice experiences around the world. I feel like the US agents are a little more likely to be jerks, but usually they are very friendly.

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