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TSA SCANS: Israel has better option

| December 3, 2010 9:00 PM

Why do we subject millions of our nation's airline passengers to either a full body scan or, if refused, to a humiliating, intrusive "pat down?" Why doesn't our government follow time-tested security guidelines used by the Israelis to protect their fellow airline passengers, which over the years has proven highly effective in thwarting terrorist threats? My understanding of Israel's procedures for deterring terrorist activity doesn't involve body scans but relies in part on behavioral profiling, a concept many in our country find repugnant and unacceptable. How then can behavioral profiling become less acceptable to those opposed when only a finite number of the traveling public would be subjected to this form of security screening, as opposed to the TSA's latest attempt at making airline travel safe?

I understand the need for security as I'm a pilot and have lived and traveled the world over the past 35 years. I believe TSA is earnestly trying to make travel safer, but is often misguided in the direction they choose. Remember the security color codes of years previous, when you would arrive at the airport and hear the public address system announce that we're at alert level orange, or pink or blue? Did anyone outside the security forces involved ever truly know or much less care what the latest color actually referred to, since the traveling public was never privy to the reasons for that day's color code?

Rather than spending millions of taxpayer dollars on layers of security measures that may or may not be effective, why don't we take our cue from countries that have been effective in lowering the terrorist threat for decades before our nation ever felt the need to become involved in security screening?

If in fact behavioral profiling is more effective in thwarting terrorism by singling out a few members of our traveling public as opposed to every single person that boards an airline within the U.S. or from overseas bound to the U.S., isn't this a "lesser evil" than the system now utilized by TSA? In light of current events wouldn't it be appropriate to review our current laws regarding profiling? How many millions of taxpayer dollars could be saved by behavioral profiling?

As mentioned earlier, I understand the need for some form of security screening. I just don't think that TSA's present system is the answer. Security is important, but even more so are our personal freedoms, such as freedom from unreasonable searches.

JOHN HUMPHREYS

Coeur d'Alene

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