Bothering People

 Posted by on 29 May 2002 at 8:01 am  Uncategorized
May 292002

Mr Instapundit pointed me to this great CS Monitor article on the Israel’s help of US in dealing with terrorism. And damn, we do need help.

On talk radio yesterday, one of the hosts was saying how he had gotten through security at two different airports with a pair of six-inch scissors. The first time, he was singled out at the gate for extra inspection. They didn’t find the scissors. The second time, they put his bag through the X-ray machine three times before clearing it. Amazing!

Here’s how Israeli methods differ from ours:

Israeli specialists have a low regard for American security searches. They say they tend to cause unnecessary discomfort for travelers, while being prone to missing potential assailants. “The United States does not have a security system, it has a system for bothering people,” Dror says.

“The difference between the Israeli and American systems is that we are looking for the terrorist, while the Americans look for the weapons,” he adds.

At the heart of the Israeli system is the questioning of the passenger, which Dror says is done not only to get answers, but also to gauge the passenger’s behavior. “The reason we open the suitcase is to have another few minutes with the passenger, to ask some more questions,” he says. The questioning also serves as a way to quickly decide who to send to the plane without probing more thoroughly, he adds. Dror advocates Israeli-style security clearances for all workers at the companies for whom he consults. They entail checking a person’s history by interviewing acquaintances and family “We check the man himself, not documents.”

But Dror adds that Israeli methods, even if fully adopted, will not stop all attacks. “There is no 100 percent in security. If you want 100 percent security on flights, every passenger has to take all his clothes off, have his suitcase checked, and be handcuffed and tied to his seat. For sure this can never be. The idea is to enable people to continue their lives while making an attack less possible.”

It sounds like those Israelis are familiar with the methods in The Truth About Lying, an excellent book I just read on spotting deception. I’ll write up a review in the next few days.

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