Why A Dog Sniffing Your Crotch Needs To Be In Your Future At the Airport

by brian on December 30, 2009

After the latest incident of foiled terrorism against the United States by Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab aka ‘CrotchBomber‘, I’ve come to some very simple conclusions.

Why these conclusions elude others is beyond me but here it goes…

Racial or Ethnic Profiling Will Not Work

Three words: John Walker Lindh AKA Johnny Jihad

Remember him? He was the American born Caucasian who sympathized with the Taliban and went overseas to fight American forces.

Without the dishelved bearded look, he seems like any guy on any street in America. But he was willing to kill his fellow Americans. How is racial profiling going to save us from him? His name was not Muhammad or Said. He didn’t have ‘BOMBER’ stamped on his forehead in bright red ink.

Are we saying there are no others on American soil right now who look like him and have the same idealogical leanings. In a nation of 300 million people I know we can’t say that.

But you’ll say well Brian, the odds are that the terrorist will be a man from the Middle East.

And when it is a disenfranchised white guy from the Midwest named John Lindh what are we going to say then? All you need is a ONE ‘success’ to blow all the plans straight out the window.

Shortsighted racial or ethnic profiling is NOT going to solve this. And terrorists are counting on this to make it easier for them.

“Yes yes Americans, keep looking for everyone named Abdul, while we send in Timmy from Nebraska, who no one even thinks of checking twice…”

Oh and how about this guy? Think if he cut his beard he would pass for a typical American kid going home for the holidays on your next flight?

EVERYONE needs to screened with the same intensity and diligence whether they carry a Koran or have Muhammed as a name or are coming in from Yemen. Everyone.

More Drastic Means of Screening Will Be Needed – Accept It

Nothing changes until something really bad happens.

On September 10, 2001, if world’s airport security forces said that:

You will be subject to more pat downs and no lighters or sharp objects in carry-ons
You need to take off your shoes
You can’t have more than 3.4 oz of fluid in any bottle

We would have cried a river, talking about our civil liberties being violated. We would not have seen the need.

Until 9/11 killed over 3000 people

Until Richard Reid tried to detonate a bomb from the soles of his feet
Until a vast conspiracy to blow up planes over the Pacific using liquid explosives was discovered

The same situation is going on now. Why are people objecting when the threat so clear?

People are opposed to the high tech scanners that give an x-ray image of the body. This would detect explosives strapped to the body or even possibly inside the body.

But people are concerned about their privacy. Really?

To that I say, no one is concerned that you had breast implants.
Or how REALLY fat you are.
Or that you’ve got a small penis.

Let me repeat…
N-O
O-N-E
C-A-R-E-S.

Get over yourself.
It is going to take a bomber succeeding with an explosive put where the sun does not shine for us to get over the privacy issues and install these scanners in as many airports as possible.
In fact this has already happened

Law enforcement is ALWAYS one step behind criminals and terrorists. Terrorists use all their imagination to come up with ways to defeat the system, to achieve their cowardly objectives.

People get all annoyed when the 70 year old Grandpa in a wheelchair is vigorously searched. Or when a mother is forced to drink her baby’s milk to show what it is.

But this is EXACTLY where the next bomb is going to be placed. Am I the only one who sees that?

There are no good solutions here. We’ve always tried to balance the convenience of the passenger versus the need to ensure public safety. But the terrorists have more imagination and determination than the good guys and gals.

If it means that a German Shepard has to get up and close and personal to sniff my crotch and the crotch of every other passenger to make sure we are not carrying plastic explosives, so be it.

If it means that the security line is going to be longer and my ‘package’ is going to be seen by the x-ray scanner technician, so be it.

To not become so reactive we will need to be more proactive and think like a terrorist, as uncomfortable as that may be. To fight the dirty you’ve got to think like the dirty. There is no way around this.

So to the world’s fliers, I say suck it up and stop complaining. The world is a vastly different place than it was September 10, 2001.

And we, the good, law abiding citizens of the world, need to keep up with the times, stop the grumbling and not impede our law enforcement agencies from doing their jobs.

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Anonymous December 30, 2009 at 8:16 AM

I agree with many of your points, but the government doesn't stop there, they started proposing concepts like can't get up the last hour of your flight, nothing on your lap, even possibly as far as not allowing laptops. I can't take security seriously when they hire TSA agents and pay them $10.00/hour and expect them to protect our safety. If the government had done its intel job and simply followed the procedures in place (like not allowing this man to get on an International flight without a Visa), we wouldn't be in this situation. TSA agents regularly harrass people (remember them forcing a lady to remove her nipple rings then laugh at her about it)?

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brian December 30, 2009 at 1:27 PM

@Anon
Thanks for commenting.
I do believe they lifted that requirement for the last hour, blankets, etc and made it at the discretion of the pilots on board. Someone correct me if I'm wrong.

Good intel is hard to come by. I think it is arrogant of any govt to think they could know EVERY possible potential terrorist operation, especially those by people who not affiliated with any big terrorist group or the loner/small group that wants to do something.

Security has to be in layers. Intel +security at the airports +no fly lists+international cooperation+ etc.

If the passengers have to get up and tackle someone, it's too late.

It was not right the TSA agents to laugh at her but…
for the folks with rings and piercings. If you go to an airport, remove them. They are made of metal. Why are you getting upset when you knew you had to pass thru a metal detector. Save yourself the aggravation and time and patience of the people behind you.

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TJ December 30, 2009 at 9:04 PM

I agree with your points, and as a world traveler your post should be on the Op-Ed page of the major newspapers. The frequent fliers are the ones who need to be speaking out FOR increased security.

As a world traveler, did you notice anything good or bad about security as you went through the various airports along your route?

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Jeremy Jones December 30, 2009 at 9:43 PM

Amen! I want a full body scanner. Put the TSA agent in an enclosed room so others cant see, and we'll be golden. I don't even care if you record it. I got the same parts as everyone else. Where do I sign the petition? And if there isn't one, where can we start one.

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Anonymous December 31, 2009 at 12:27 AM

No, you're wrong. There is no need for increased security, there is a need for better intelligence. They should know who I am, where I come from and where I go and what I am going to do there. Actually they do know, but they are not looking at that information appropriately. I don't care about body scans, I could walk naked through their gate if they'd let me, just don't make me stay in line for their stupidity, incompetence and their fears.
There is no excuse to treat a mother or an old man the way they do. (period)
Again, you're wrong, you shouldn't let your fear cloud your judgement. Stand up.

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Anonymous December 31, 2009 at 10:48 AM

The issue isn't that anyone cares what you or I look like, but that scanner pictures of Madonna will be sold to National Enquirer.

The fact that some terrorists may be atypical or not fit profiles doesn't mean that no profiling should be done. It is based on likelihoods, not certainties. These attacks fail because the difficulties of successfully completing them add up. If you put more difficulties in the way of terrorists, there will be fewer attacks. If you make one difficulty the necessity to recruit someone who doesn't fit the profile, you deter more attacks because there are a more limited number of fanatics who look like John Walker Lind instead of a typical mideastern young man.

When cheering crowds no longer greet the return of folks like the Lockerbie bomber released from prison, there will be more sympathy for the inconvenience profiling may cause those from Muslim countries or of Middle Eastern descent. Now, they are still statistically more likely to be perpetrators of a terrorist act and they are the ones who must tolerate inconvenience, until their mosques stop the recruiting of vulnerable young men to terrorist causes — something none of the rest of us non-Muslim flyers can influence.

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brian December 31, 2009 at 11:08 AM

@TJ
I didn't notice anything out of the ordinary traveling through the airports. I may have had the swab test for explosives done on my laptop and hands once or twice, but nothing that I can remember.

I really think that the one-way ticket issue I talked about last week is going to be really scrutinized now.

@Living the Dream
The way I understand it, the person who would looking at your body scan is actually not in your vicinity so you never see each other. They would radio the agents near you and pull you aside for a secondary screening if something came up.

@Anon
I respectfully disagree. Nobody is scared here. I know I have a better chance of dying in a car accident than in a terrorist incident. But I also know that a terrorist attack has much larger social, political and economic ramifications around the world. We should do EVERYTHING we can to prevent it.

So what happens when the person checks out and intelligence says that they are legit, but they have a pound of explosives packed in their rectum?

Again I advocate a layered approach. Better intelligence AND better scanner tech.

Intelligence failed in the Northwest case. Had the scanners been in place in Amsterdam, he may have been caught before he got on the plane.

And the reasoning you use that old men and mothers should not subjected to intense searches because it's not necessary and it's "impolite" is going to be used against us.

I'm sure if I asked you in August 2001 if you thought people would pilot planes into the WTC and Pentagon, you would have thought I was crazy. I personally would have never believed people would do that.

One last thing Anon: Where is bin Laden? The most wanted man in the known universe, the full weight of multiple intelligence agencies and military forces looking for him, and they still can't find him.

And I'm suppose to depend on just the world's intelligence communities alone to accurately vet every single Joe and Jane Random flier? Intelligence is another word for people and people make mistakes, both honest and careless.

Combine Better Intelligence + Better Tech and you'll make the best stand against terrorism.

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brian December 31, 2009 at 12:15 PM

@Anon
To be perfectly honest I could care less if they sold Madonna's pictures. She has the money, she can sue the TSA and get the offending employee fired. I am all for the agency being held accountable and the bad employee removed.

Hospital employees sell confidential patient information to outfits like TMZ all the time. It doesn't and shouldn't stop people from going to the hospital.

Are you more worried about the modesty of a celebrity than successfully taking off and landing? I am not.

As for the profiling, what do we go by? Name? Country of origin? What they look like? Gender?

What does a Muslim "look" like? Sound like?

There are Christians named Mohammed too.

If you had to draw a picture of a 'typical' Muslim man, could you, without completely missing some?

If you profiled how would you do it? Would you say everyone from these countries named Muhammad please step aside for further screening?

How about the Muslims from Denmark? Or Canada? What about the women?

Would you have everyone list their religion before they get on a flight? How do you know they are not lying? I find this more intrusive than 30 seconds in a body scanner.

What about the guy named Tim Jones who studies Islam but hasn't changed his name and does not fit the profile?

To me profiling is another word for guessing. When it comes to airline safety, I don't want guessing.

For me everyone goes through the same rigorous screening. Because I can't tell from what they look like or where they grew up if they are a threat. Eliminate the guesswork.

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Boring Life Rob January 4, 2010 at 1:55 AM

X-Ray scanners are necessary. People are bringing in drugs and other undesirable substances in their person as opposed to on their person.

Also, every part of the world has good people, alright people and down right crazy people.

In Bali, people are bringing in meth etc… Through capsules in their stomach.

Also, a bus can just pull over, if crazy stuff happens on a plane… Ya you get the idea.

All the best in 2010.

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brian January 4, 2010 at 5:03 PM

@Boring Life Rob
I think this is the way we are going to have to go, not just the US but most countries with major international airports.

Thanks and same to you for a great 2010!

Reply

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