Thursday, November 25, 2010

A Few (More) Words on U.S. Airport Security

Here's my one-sentence definition of U.S. airport security: 

Let's intensively search fifteen million people not just at random but--even worse--using silly profiling guidelines that misdirect our focus in the hope of finding one or two terrorists a year who, if they exist at all, are using innovative tactics that will get by our procedures.

If this approach could be justified by protecting people's lives then it could be acceptable. But it isn't.

And the moment someone says they do not support profiling on the basis of what categories might be more likely to be terrorists--on anything other than the grounds that it is not legal under existing law--they have absolutely nothing worthwhile to say about counterterrorism. Any policies based on anything other than profiling who is going to be a likely terrorist, in regard to who is actually committing terrorism, endanger the safety, privacy, and pocketbooks of everyone they are supposed to be protecting.

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