Patrick Smith on Airline Security

Patrick Smith writes the "Ask the Pilot" column for Salon. He's written two very good posts on airline security, one about how Israel's system won't work in the U.S., and the other about profiling:

...here's a more useful quiz:
  • In 1985, Air India Flight 182 was blown up over the Atlantic by:

    a. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40
    b. Bill O'Reilly
    c. The Mormon Tabernacle Choir
    d. Indian Sikh extremists, in retaliation for the Indian Army's attack on the Golden Temple shrine in Amritsar

  • In 1986, who attempted to smuggle three pounds of explosives onto an El Al jetliner bound from London to Tel Aviv?

    a. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40
    b. Michael Smerconish
    c. Bob Mould
    d. A pregnant Irishwoman named Anne Murphy

  • In 1962, in the first-ever successful sabotage of a commercial jet, a Continental Airlines 707 was blown up with dynamite over Missouri by:

    a. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40
    b. Ann Coulter
    c. Henry Rollins
    d. Thomas Doty, a 34-year-old American passenger, as part of an insurance scam

  • In 1994, who nearly succeeded in skyjacking a DC-10 and crashing it into the Federal Express Corp. headquarters?

    a. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40
    b. Michelle Malkin
    c. Charlie Rose
    d. Auburn Calloway, an off-duty FedEx employee and resident of Memphis, Tenn.

  • In 1974, who stormed a Delta Air Lines DC-9 at Baltimore-Washington Airport, intending to crash it into the White House, and shot both pilots?

    a. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40
    b. Joe Scarborough
    c. Spalding Gray
    d. Samuel Byck, an unemployed tire salesman from Philadelphia

The answer, in all cases, is D.

Racial profiling doesn't work against terrorism, because terrorists don't fit any racial profile.

Posted on June 19, 2006 at 7:22 AM • 55 Comments

Comments

Ed T.June 19, 2006 8:05 AM

So, if you take the "racial" out of it, are there any profiles that this type of terrorist *does* fit? Looking for this type of linkage might make a whole lot more sense than mining all the calls made in the USofA looking for "patterns" (newsflash: lots of calls are made to pizza delivery outlets on the day of the Super Bowl! Story at 11)

Of course, this presumes that real thinking human beings will be looking at the data - not that it will simply be dumped into a digital Mixmaster.

~EdTr.

Michael JJune 19, 2006 8:08 AM

Hi Bruce.

That sounded a bit like "it didn't work in five cases, so it will never work".

Of course profiling cannot be anywhere near 100% reliable, but that doesn't mean it has no value.

Sikh extremists and Irish (in the '80s) would also be targets of any serious profiling.

Profiling, not just on race but on a number of criteria, can give some clues. If they are used with common sense and care, they can help.

(Just my opinion, of course).

Moshe YudkowskyJune 19, 2006 8:19 AM

Except, of course, that the reason Anne Murphy didn't manage to blow up the airplane was because of "racial profiling."

Anne Murphy had no idea she was carrying a bomb. Her Muslim boyfriend had built it into her hand luggage without her knowledge. When El Al security learned she had a Muslim boyfriend not traveling with her, they scrutinized her luggage. Eventually, they emptied it, weighed it, discovered that the weight was incorrect -- and found the bomb.

So this "counter-example" doesn't hold water.

Israel does not use racial profiling. Israel security follows a threat tree; a series of questions for each and every individual. Some get more scrutiny than others based on factors including background and history.

Kees HuyserJune 19, 2006 8:44 AM

"newsflash: lots of calls are made to pizza delivery outlets on the day of the Super Bowl! Story at 11)"

If you see lots of pizza delivery vans at the Pentagon a war is about to start...

Kees HuyserJune 19, 2006 8:45 AM

"newsflash: lots of calls are made to pizza delivery outlets on the day of the Super Bowl! Story at 11)"
If you see lots of pizza delivery vans at the Pentagon a war is about to start...

Kees HuyserJune 19, 2006 8:46 AM

@Bruce Schneier
The above message wa posted twice, since I always do a preview of my posts. This time I got a message stating that I had to wait before posting again to stop spammers.

This I did and the result is two postings...

derfJune 19, 2006 9:10 AM

Does anyone really think the current TSA security scam of feeling up "random passengers" (basically the hot blondes, grannies, and toddlers) improve security over racial profiling? We can morality quibble about race for eons, but at the end of the day, we are no safer under the current system than before 9/11. We suffer the inconvenience of jumping through the TSA's hoops in hopes of tighter security, but our only gains are frustration, stolen items, and delay.

Johnathon TiemanJune 19, 2006 9:26 AM

While I agree that profiling won't work against terrorism, that "quiz" doesn't really show it. The last three examples seem to have nothing to do with terrorism. One is a guy scamming money, another is someone pissed at their place of employment, and the third, attacking the White House, seems mostly political in nature, without any long-term or widespread impact. In all cases, the people in the planes are basically just incidental damage, rather than the targets themselves.

TimHJune 19, 2006 9:34 AM

Two points:
1. My understanding is that much terrorism in USA before 9/11 was perpretrated by white Christian types... either in terms or racially motivated lynching, or ati-federalism government attacks motivated by fundamental nationalism.

2. I left my small laptop (Libretto) on the screening belt at San Franscisco airport on domestic flight. Realised what I'd done before the flight had taken off, but it had gone. I won't go into the runaround about how the police/airline/TSA and the airport itself all pointed fingers around for who manages lost property, but upshot is that it never turned up. The amazing thing to me was the amount of personnel at SFO that told that laptops forgotten was a common event, and MANY simply disappear. Summary is that security is so poor that theft is commonplace...

MathFoxJune 19, 2006 9:38 AM

Another nasty question:

How much phone-taps would have caught the Oklahoma Bomber?
a) Tracking call records to the Bin Laden network would have worked.
b) Scanning his international phone calls for keywords like "bomb" and "fertilizer".
c) He would have popped up from a scan on all domestic phone calls.
d) Why would a solo bomber discuss his plans over the phone?

Edward T.June 19, 2006 9:40 AM

I have to agree with Ed T's suggestion (and not just because we happen to have the same initials!): we're specifically saying that -racial- profiling is ineffective because terrorists aren't all of a -racial- piece. But when we start talking about muslim males between the ages of 17 and 40, we've already left "racial" behind. We've added gender, age, and religion, and if we follow Smith's logic, we ought to add in behavioral characteristics. Now isn't this recognition problem a lot like catching spam? If you focus on keywords alone, or mail headers alone, or try to identify URLs by "enumerating badness," you'll always be playing catch-up. Spammers, like terrorists, are thinking of ways to exploit your filters, so you have to keep feeding your results back into the equation and continue to evolve your criteria. If profiling is ineffective, you've obviously got the wrong profile; but you haven't proven that there is no effective profile. That's a lot trickier....

Tom GrantJune 19, 2006 10:00 AM

@ Jon T.

I think what the quiz was intended to show is that airport security should be more about "securing the flight" than simply "preventing terrorist attack". That is what the last 3 examples were (in my estimation) meant to show.

In other words, security threats come in a wide range of ages, nationalities, races, religious beliefs, and in at least two different sexes.

Secure the flight from threat...not from terrorists. Profiling may be a portion of the necessary security measures, but sound defense should have much more depth than that.

Only the ends of the spectrum are black and white...so we must examine all the shades of grey as well.

TG

Erik V. OlsonJune 19, 2006 10:10 AM

Why El-Al's security model fails for the US.

Number of El Al Passenger Aircraft, Total:36 (going to 38 next year.)

Number of AA 777s : 46
Number of CO 777s : 18
Number of DL 777s: 8
Number of NW 747s: 43
Number of UA 747s: 30
Number of WN 737s: 457

Are we seeing the problem here? (Planes chosen are largest type the operator flies.)

If we want to start profiling bombers, I'd be looking for White Male Christians aged 17 to 35, with backgrounds in US evangelical protestant churches, because there have been far more bombings of abortion clinics and the like than of anything else in the US. But it's not terrorism if "liberals" are attacked, so that's not fair to do.

Personally, I refuse to live in such fear. I'm much more worried about SUVs, lighting, and falling off my bike -- all three are vastly more likely to cause me harm that "terrorists."

AGJune 19, 2006 10:25 AM

"Racial profiling doesn't work against terrorism, because terrorists don't fit any racial profile."

Sure they do!!!
All males aged 15-72
All females aged 17-76

Sounds over the top? That is what they are watching now... Everyone, everywhere.

Alex HuttonJune 19, 2006 10:42 AM

Is the goal of Arab-based racial profiling to keep planes safe, or to catch Muslims who want to blow up planes?

These are two distinctly different goals, and wording the above the way that it is suggests politics, and not the economics of risk.

Please note that I'm not trying to defend the TSA, or even racial profiling, but, Bruce, you should be smarter than this, or at least give us credit for being smarter...

Peter PearsonJune 19, 2006 10:50 AM

"Racial profiling doesn't work against terrorism, because terrorists don't fit any racial profile."

Surely any intelligent advocacy of this assertion would involve a statistical discussion of costs and benefits. Attempting to support it with a couple of handpicked examples insults the reader's intelligence.

ScWJune 19, 2006 10:51 AM

Obviously this was written in direct response to Ann Coulter's (and others) support of profiling. The problem is that none of these examples is all that recent. The most recent of the quiz examples is 1994 (12 years ago). Now compare that with terrorist events since 1994... and I think we all know exactly who has committed or attempted 99% of those.

@Erik

How many people have been killed at abortion clinics (other than the unborn) since 2000? 0... If the WASP males are the ones you fear the most (among people groups), then maybe you should consider leaving the country.

whoJune 19, 2006 11:17 AM

> Now compare that with terrorist events since 1994... and I think we all know exactly who has committed or attempted 99% of those.

...

The CIA ?

:)

RobertJune 19, 2006 11:22 AM

disgruntled ex-employee's, kooks and insurance scammers are not terrorists.

AGJune 19, 2006 11:24 AM

I don't fear muslim terrorist...

I fear Ann Coulter... something is not right about her entire demeanor.

AndrewJune 19, 2006 11:42 AM

Profiling is too expensive.

The price is liberty.

The only people who don't care about paying that price, are the people who don't mind racism being an accepted part of our society.

When there are plenty of security measures other than profiling, most of which merely cost money (rather than trampling on people's rights) . . . one wonders why profiling is pushed so heavily.

Airlines aren't willing to pony up the $$$ to protect our air travel system. This is why Homeland Security had to federalize the program post 9/11. Who holds the TSA accountable again?

PeterJune 19, 2006 11:48 AM

@MathFox,
When McVeigh was first identified as the bomber, I was suspicious (too quick, too certain, and I felt there'd be a "jack ruby" moment on TV). But when I read the details in 2600 magazine about the testimony by the investigators, those doubts vanished.

In short, he went out of his way to use a calling card that benefited a militia movement organization, both refilling the card and using it all the time.

ordajJune 19, 2006 11:54 AM

Sounds like economic profiling would work better. But then these people are often driven by desperation. And economic despair is spreading.

Chris CaydesJune 19, 2006 12:13 PM

"Racial profiling doesn't work against terrorism, because terrorists don't fit any racial profile."

"Now compare that with terrorist events since 1994... and I think we all know exactly who has committed or attempted 99% of those."

Attacks that have happened since 1994 have not all been committed by people who fit in one single racial profile.
In America, there is a strong association that is made between "Muslims" and "Arabs". Racial profiling in the USA would most certainly primarily target the Arabs, regardless of their religion. There is a significant Christian community in Egypt. At the same the largest Muslim country in the world is not an Arab country, it's Indonesia.

At the same time, the ETA has committed a number of terrorist crimes in Spain since 1994, so has the FLNC in France, and pretty much any structured crime organisation in the world in the area where they operate, be it Italy, Russia, Japan or the USA. After all, isn't the Omerta one of the best examples of "successful" terrorism?

Geoff LaneJune 19, 2006 1:04 PM

Come on, the list is an illustration that the problem is not confined to dusky bad guys. Any security policy that concentrates on a particular race or country of origin has both legal and practical problems.

Security should be strong in the face of unexpected threats. You cannot predict who has the bomb so you scan everybody. If that makes the airport a hell hole, you FIX the airport not cut down on the scans.

Of course, you could just use smaller planes, a 50 seater is a lot less of a target than an 800 seater...

Joe BogusJune 19, 2006 1:20 PM

His "quiz" is loaded. Each example highlights the "lone gunman", and no profile will ever match that sort of attack.

Go rent Clint Eastwood's movie "In the Line of Fire".

Big BrotherJune 19, 2006 1:55 PM

I can see that many people here are Americans who feel that their privacy has been invaded by NSA wire taps. The fact automated wire taps have been taking place worldwide ( and yes, that probably means in the good ol' US of A too ) since the cold war[1] seems to have escaped most peoples attention. The fact that it is still being used may mean that it is quite effective, one may point out that it hasn't prevented major terrorist attacks, for example NY September 11 2001, but we can only assume that, sort of makes you wonder if that is really the case.

[1]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ECHELON

IBJune 19, 2006 2:31 PM

@Moshe

Precisely the point is that focusing only on
'Muslim Males 17 to 40'
is not the way to go ; Bruce has many times in the past advocated 'intelligent profiling' (remember Washington State/
Brithish Columbia/ Hinky 1999)
not this stupid racial thing:

http://www.schneier.com/essay-076.html

Thanks Bruce !

hinkyJune 19, 2006 2:40 PM

@Moshe

Precisely the point is that focusing only on
'Muslim Males 17 to 40'
is not the way to go ; Bruce has many times in the past advocated 'intelligent profiling' (remember Washington State/
Brithish Columbia/ Hinky 1999)
not this stupid racial thing:

http://www.schneier.com/essay-076.html

Thanks Bruce !

----->
Of course that means intelligent behavioral profiling that TSA minimum-wage employees are not able to do (TSA budget doesn't even allow
training of their employees)

http://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2006/05/...

bobJune 19, 2006 2:58 PM

@phule: His original writing said "nearly" and thats true. Only medal-of-honor class resistance by the crew prevented it, and also saved potentially countless lives on the ground as well as an extremely expensive aircraft and probably an entire very lucrative company (for which the aircrew, who were permanently disabled, received ???)

MLSJune 19, 2006 4:06 PM

Only a naive fool would think that terrorism is bad for the government.

Governments love terrorism, because they themselves are terrorists enshired in legitimacy. Patrick Smith is correct, but he misses the point.

VickiJune 19, 2006 4:17 PM

The planes were incidental targets on 9/11 as well: the terrorists calculated (probably correctly) that they were the most effective method available to the terrorists of attacking the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. They'd tried trucks against the WTC several years earlier and done very limited damage.

JarrodJune 19, 2006 7:21 PM

@hinky:

TSA employees are paid well above minimum wage. Go look at the recruiting ads if you don't believe me.

@Vicki:

The relative lack of damage in the truck bombing of the WTC was a result of poor placement of the bomb. Had it been parked closer to a key support beam, it might well have caused the collapse of the tower.

MarkoJune 19, 2006 9:31 PM

@TimH

Since most Americans are White (75%) and Christian (75%), the appropriate reponse to your first point is DUH.

jammitJune 19, 2006 11:03 PM

Putting aside the possibility that the questions weren't hand picked to make any wrong answer seem racist, I'm against any kind of racial profiling. If you look for the "funny sounding brown" guy*, you'll miss the not funny sounding white guy. The minute you start using race, you're back to flipping a coin, or crystal gazing.

*My boss is one of those funny sounding brown guys, and he thinks I'm funny.

ThomasJune 20, 2006 3:02 AM

@who,

"""> Now compare that with terrorist events since 1994... and I think we all know exactly who has committed or attempted 99% of those.

...

The CIA ?

:)"""


One man's terrorist is another man's government agent.

C GomezJune 20, 2006 8:30 AM

I enjoy this site, and I enjoy the analysis of methods used to "protect us". I enjoy seeing how these methods don't change anything, and no one is "any safer."

That said, it would be nice if we all took a step back from the cynicism a moment and discussed what WOULD work.

Often times, two separate fallacies are advanced:

1) This doesn't stop this one particular situation. Therefore, throw the whole method out, even if it does provide some reasonable prevention. If this were applied in computer security, then we wouldn't have the tenets of layering defenses and reducing attack surface.

2) This doesn't solve the problem at all. Therefore, throw up our hands and just accept we can do nothing about it.

An example is that "racial profiling" doesn't work, so let's give up. Of course it doesn't, but clearly there is an identifiable group of people among those who want to harm civilians. They aren't identifiable by race, or necessarily creed, but certainly there is a loosely connected group of folks who are more than happy to kill more civilians. Just because there are others who are willing to blow up a federal building in their own country doesn't negate the previous threat. It just means it's not the only threat, and there's nothing wrong with addressing it properly.

I'd enjoy this column a little more if more essays were provided on what would work... and yes I'm going to the recently provided link to see if there's any ideas in there.

Erik V. OlsonJune 20, 2006 8:39 AM

Go rent Clint Eastwood's movie "In the Line of Fire".

Whee! We're now *citing* Hollywood movies as security references.

Next up, a thoughtful interview about the problem of PGP with Amy the Amoeba.

How many people have been killed at abortion clinics (other than the unborn) since 2000?

How many bombing and arson attacks at US abortion clincs since 2001? At least six, I don't have data beyond June 2004 handy. The fact that they haven't killed anyone is basically luck.

How many bombing or hijack attacks on US Airliners since 2001? 0.

Funny, that. You'd think that everyone agreed that we can't let hijackers grab airplanes anymore.

crackJune 20, 2006 10:07 AM

@Edward T.

Your spam analogy appears good, but is actually terribly flawed. The way you refine a spam profile is to change your profile based on what spam gets through. You do end up stopping a lot of spam, but as spammers adapt some gets through. Do you propose we let terrorists through as we refine our profile?

The whole point is to stop the unanticipated attack, in addition to stopping yesterday's. When you focus on stopping yesterday's you miss out on tomorrow's.

AnonymousJune 20, 2006 5:26 PM

Maybe it's just my fascination with songs by the band Macabre, but ... wasn't the first successful sabotage of a commercial airplane committed over Colorado by a fellow named Jack Gilbert Graham?

I also realize this isn't quite the point of the message, but having read the replies, there are the usual spattering of good thoughts and 3 barns full of horse manure, so, I figure some more shoveling won't hurt.

Quinn KuhnJune 20, 2006 5:57 PM

"2) This doesn't solve the problem at all. Therefore, throw up our hands and just accept we can do nothing about it."

If only we did nothing about it. There is only one solution to stopping terrorism: STOP BEING A TARGET.

Stop paying terrorists at home who create terrorists abroad.

This is something that is overlooked by most posters to this blog -- All that state solutions to problems of 'terrorism' does is preserve the legitimacy of our representative bandits who terrorize us daily, to a far greater extent than a discontent group of rebels. And in fact, any such action by our legal bandits, will further create the very problem they mention solving.

On the plus side, the Iraqi war has killed less children than the trade sanctions. But I guess most people don't think that using force (to restrict trade) to kill 500,000 children is a good reason for the existence of terrorists, they must hate our 'freedom' instead.

winsnomoreJune 20, 2006 7:32 PM

Bruce .. your generalizations are way over the top.

Why didn't you include the famous hijackings of Pan-AM/TWA/BOAC and others to Jordan/ Lebanon ?

No American ever hijacked planes belonging to Middle-Eastern airlines or found a landing site in this country.
How about mutiple hijackings of Indian Airlines to Kandhahar and Pakistan, and that no Pakistani Airliner has ever been hijacked into india.

Except one North Korean couple, there are only a few Tamil (Sri Lankan) suicide bombers, but vast majority ~100:1 are muslims against muslims/jews/christians/hindus/we-dont-care-who-you-are etc.

You had to go back 40+ years to find 5 examples, but you can find 5 examples of terrorism everyday

If crime has a ethnic/racial element in it then to say ethic/racial profiling doesn't work is completely illogical.

Nigel SedgwickJune 21, 2006 4:34 AM

crack writes:

"Your spam analogy appears good, but is actually terribly flawed. The way you refine a spam profile is to change your profile based on what spam gets through. You do end up stopping a lot of spam, but as spammers adapt some gets through. Do you propose we let terrorists through as we refine our profile?

The whole point is to stop the unanticipated attack, in addition to stopping yesterday's. When you focus on stopping yesterday's you miss out on tomorrow's."

However, this is not the whole story either.

If one uses technology to detect some problem/attack (spam, terrosist attacks, etc) and it is effective to some useful extent (say on the less sophisticated attacks or the copy-cat attackers), then some manual resources are freed up. These newly available resources could be used for detection of new types of problem/attack, within the same overall resource budget.

Best regards

C GomezJune 21, 2006 8:03 AM

Read the article linked by some of the commenters. It's the one by Bruce about 'behavior profiling' and the man who seemed 'hinky.'

I had read this before, and Bruce eloquently sums up the fact that well-trained officers combined with plain old human intuition is a leap forward in security.

But I noted a hurried point in the last paragraph that random screenings are effective (I'm paraphrasing). I assume this means truly random screenings and not what the TSA currently passes for it.

I am unsure if truly random screenings/searches solve the problem, but there must be some ratio of random search/not search that provides a reasonble ROI and adds one layer of defense. More layers must be lined up behind it.

Another quick blurb was airline employee screening which I will take to mean those who work in and around airports and airplanes. I would like to read articles about what screening tactics might actually work. For example, what criteria does Bruce think are useful? Does it matter that an airline pilot is American born (why can't native born be terrorists)? Should they have clean criminal records? I think an article illuminating the useful criteria for screenings and truly random searches would be a fascinating read.

Otherwise you get folks in Congress making these rules in the U.S.. While they are elected and should solve the problems, they are not security experts and need the guidance from as well as the sense to listen to them.

From that perspective, how did creating a TSA do anything to combat the issues? Not that I know anything about the track record of private security firms pre-9/11, but there seems to be no logical reason why security experts need to be government employees. It seems to me experts are experts and you get the best in their field, no matter if that is public or private sector.

JarrodJune 21, 2006 9:57 AM

@C Gomez:

Based on results of tests of the TSA screeners, the end result has been to increase the cost of security. The failure rate of the TSA is just about the failure rate of private screeners. One of the main problems is that the job itself is simply mind-numbing. You watch thousands and thousands of people go by, or you watch thousands and thousands of containers go by, depending on whether you're supposed to screen people or baggage. Even the most attentive person is going to zone out once in a while.

Mr PondJune 21, 2006 11:12 AM

It seems to be a general tendancy these days to react to a threat, real or perceived, by doing one of two things:

1) Throw vast amounts of technology (and consequently, cash) at the problem.

2) Have a huge re-structuring of security & law enforcement services.

The problem with (1) is that technology does not and will not (for the near future) have even remotely near the capacity for lateral tought & immediate adaptation that a trained, alter *person* has.

The problem with (2) is that really it achieves little other than to maintain the illusion that something is being done. It;s a generic response to an unpleasant situation - jsut afterwards one seens huge amounts of very efficient, very careful and very pointless activity. By this I would reitterate the analogy that once the horse has bolted, close the stable doors. etc.

So here's an idea for a genuine solution - more trained people "on the gfround". This has so many advantages over what one might call the "technological approach", but the main ones are:

1) Offers dynamic adaptation to rapidly evolving threats.

2) Offers the best heuristic ability to successfuly detect previously unknown threats.

3) Offers maxiumum creativity in dealing with a detected threat.

4) offers resilience in the case of "force depletion".

5) Long term, frequent and high quality training probably remains cheaper than the introduction of a totally new security "system" that is of questionable initial benefit (other than cosmetic) and which demands frequent simmilarly expensive updates.

Anyway, just my $0.02...

Matthias LäßigJune 26, 2006 5:59 AM

If one you feed the passenger data of these flights into CAPPS II or anything alike I wonder if the system would come up with a warning or anything.

I think no system will be able to gather enough data to reliably (read: get it at least 50% right) forecast the probability of a terrorist behaviour of a passenger. It's just that even the best shrinks are not able to look into somebodies head. Not to mention that not only passengers but airline or airport personnell have access to the aircraft.

Jonathan BurdickJuly 1, 2006 5:13 PM

Profiling can work, "if done properly", though not 100% as mentioned above.

What is "proper" is something we don't know, at least if we believe the guys who do and study profiling for a living.

According to the 2004 article "Psychology of Terrorism" (Borum) and the article "The Role of Operational Research in Counterterrorism " (by Borum et al.) the notion of a "terrorist profile" has thus far been oxymoronic.

"Borum 0" is at:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nif/grants/...

"Borum 1" is available at nominal cost from http://taylorandfrancis.metapress.com

Both articles criticize many earlier claims by others that profiling works. I criticized the second article on my blog.

We may be getting better at profiling, but so far the preponderance of what I've read suggests we've a ways to go.

the english security manAugust 18, 2006 2:57 PM

El-Al have not lost an aircraft for 30 years why? Because of their security. not just Profiling not the CTX scanners not the x-ray they just have a basic mistrust of anyone who does not speak Hebrew and even then are not that sure.

JerAugust 29, 2006 10:32 PM

Actually the reason why they were tipped off to the pregnant Irish Lady was that she was acting very nervously [she didn't fly often] only later they found out about the boyfriend. And the Tamil Tigers nominally Marxist have set off the most suicide bombers of any group in the last 30 years.

eamonNovember 18, 2006 1:30 PM

if an enemy of this country wanted to throw our lives into turmoil, they've succeeded. a symbolic attack followed by the predictable psychlogical aftermath guaranteed it's effectiveness. the enemy was patient and thorough, even down to our political climate. they knew how we'd respond better than we ourselves. and then our elected offials unwittingly(or not)responded accordingly and predictably by foisting inane and asinine policies upon those who had nothing at all to do with the attacks save not holding said elected officials accountable for over twenty years of appeasement to a known enemy. we have ne one to blame but ourselves.

meApril 20, 2007 12:14 AM

Sometimes I wonder why this world is such a horrible place and why people are so damn ignorant....and then I come across pages like yours and I remember. To the millions of ignorant people like you, Muslims=terrorists. Well to me, Timothy McVeigh=terrorist, Richard Ramirez=terrorist. But fortunately, Im not stupid enough to think that all white people are terrorists nor are Mexicans; yet you are. What a shame.

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