A month that has left all my friends in America loathing the TSA. What with all the pat downs and rigorous body searches at the airports? And those hideous scanner machines that only Hugh Hefner would adore. Then theres been the disease scare that one contaminated or disease carrying terrorist could start a fungal or anthrax pandemic as one pair of gloves is used to search a gazillion other passengers. The black helicopter and conspiracy theories are endless.
The only people who havent noticed the long queues are probably prosperity pastors with private jets and journalists. Or so I thought until Michael J. Totten an independent foreign correspondent made an interesting deduction about the excellence of the Israeli airpot security:
[Israeli airport security] don’t profile racially, but they profile. Israeli Arabs breeze through rather quickly, but thanks to the dozens of dubious-looking stamps in my passport — almost half are from Lebanon and Iraq — I get pulled off to the side for more questioning every time. And I’m a white, nominally Christian American.
If they pull you aside, you had better tell them the truth. They’ll ask you so many wildly unpredictable questions so quickly, you couldn’t possibly invent a fake story and keep it all straight. Don’t even try. They’re highly trained and experienced, and they catch everyone who tries to pull something over on them.
Because I fit one of their profiles, it takes me 15 or 20 minutes longer to get through the first wave of security than it does for most people. The agents make up for it, though, by escorting me to the front of the line at the metal detector. They don’t put anyone into a “porn machine.” There’s no point. Terrorists can’t penetrate that deeply into the airport.
The Israeli experience isn’t pleasant, exactly, and there’s a lot not to like about it. It can be exasperating for those of us who are interrogated more thoroughly.
The system has its advantages, though, aside from the fact that no one looks or reaches into anyone’s pants. Israelis don’t use security theater to make passengers feel like they’re safe. They use real security measures to ensure that travelers actually are safe. Even when suicide bombers exploded themselves almost daily in Israeli cities, not a single one managed to get through that airport.
But we all know where profiling can take us altogether. You will have your blog articles searched with e-mails and texts and Facebook plus tweeter feeds unscrambled. Yikes! It could take months to clear a pilot alone and another set of months to clear the crew. In which case passengers will pre-book to be profiled and surrender passwords and every intricate detail of their personal life. Then on D-day get to meet a grinning and gloved security agent telling you the profiling was inconclusive you have to either get a brisk pat down or…worse still enter that horrendous gadget with a beaming attendant watching gleefully on the other side.
Could these be the birth pangs of the end of privacy in its self? You really have nothing to hide until the governement has seen it, touched it and said so.
Come quick, Lord Jesus!