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[Ben]:'Israeli-Style' airport screening Discuss This [0 comments so far] View Comments
So the TSA is piloting an "Israeli Style" airport screening effort in Boston. Essentially what Israeli screening involves is a brief interrogation of airline passengers by screeners who rate the reactions to questioning on a scale of Midwestern Granny to ZOMG TERRORISTZ!
(TSA agents have reportedly been dubious that there is actually any distinction in the above scale.)

The concept has worked reasonably well in Israel where perky little Israeli women and plain-clothed agents milling about ask you a few questions and - assuming you are not wearing a turban or seem nervous - send you to get your bags X-rayed and off you go. If your cute little interrogator thinks you may be suspicious or named Mohammed or have "bin" before your last name, then off you go for your rectal exam - leaving the other 95-98% of travelers to go through a minimal screening. Their secondary screening procedures are much more intrusive, but the vast majority of people are not subjected to it.

While the idea seems at first attractive, a US implementation has a number of problems. First and foremost, it will be implemented by the TSA. The TSA has done one thing well, and one thing only - they have expanded the size and budget of the TSA. They do not exist to serve and protect the flying and skyscraper-dwelling public; they exist only to serve and increase their taxpayer-funded salaries, pensions and benefits.

Secondly, the training program for TSA agents is minimal. They will be undergoing three weeks of instruction to learn to spot nervous terrorists. Three weeks. Is that enough to turn people who should in any just world be kept from anything with more responsibility than third assistant toilet scrubber or backup towel-boys for Wal-Mart greeters into a group of highly trained experts with a nose for spotting terrorists through subtle behavioral cues? Remember, these are the same petty tyrants with delusions of Law Enforcement and a taste for the public trough that have been oppressively searching, sexually assaulting and stealing from the flying public, all while utterly failing to accomplish their one and only mandate.

Finally, the "Israeli Style" airport screening works well for Israel because it is first of all effective and secondly minimally intrusive to the majority. Rather than subject everyone to the "Prison Style" airport screening we are so fond of here, only those who fail the initial screening are given that kind of probulating. The remainder are given the old-fashioned once-over with metal detectors and x-rays and are on their way. So far I've seen absolutely no indication that existing procedures would be given the memory hole treatment they so richly deserve in favor of a new, less intrusive technique. Instead, in the grand tradition of US Federal Government, the new techniques (and associated staff, bureaucracy, budgets, pensions, etc.) will be layered on top of existing infrastructure and policies to create an even more intrusive and frustrating labyrinth of security theater. So in addition to having your whole family nude-o-scoped or groped and having your packed underwear sniffed by grubby-fingered trolls, you will also have to be interrogated by the guy who is grabbing your "resistance" and try not to flinch.

We're doing it again. Only harder.
  2011-08-02
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'Israeli-Style' airport screening
 
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