In several previous posts I compared U.S. airport security to it's Israeli counterpart, and in my considered opinion the United States comes up lacking.
In my post of January 21, 2010 I wrote about an airplane being diverted from its flight because a Jewish teen was davening* on the plane. Wasted time and effort, and a scare for an airplane filled with passengers and a teen traveling with his sister to visit relatives. In December, 2009 I posted about our poor intel gathering and screening techniques which allowed Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab to board a Northwest flight and attempt to blow up the plane. As recently as last month I posted about the new, invasive security system which reveals everyone's birthday suit.
Thank G-d Abdulmutallab and others failed in their Jihadist mission. But one day, if we don't change our methodology for screening these evil people off the passenger lists, one of them might, G-d forbid, succeed. It is only a matter of time...
And yet, we in the United States are resistant to anything that sounds like "profiling," even if it is the logical, intelligent thing to do. We have also been focused in the past on objects that the passengers might be carrying on their person, such as in shoes or in containers, e.g., gel and liquids.
But how about profiling behavior? The system used in Israel and shown to be extremely effective has been questioning the passengers going through security with key questions, and listening and watching their responses to those questions. Now Israel has just developed a screening device which continues to focus on passenger behavior rather than the objects they are carrying. It can catch suspicious behavior whether or not they are armed, and speeds up the questioning process (which will still be used).
Unlike security teams in other countries, who take all liquids from passengers or conduct invasive searches, the Ben-Gurion screeners engage passengers in conversation and use their training to scout out unusual reactions, which lead to passengers being pulled out of line for further screening. While the human conversation-based system works well, it can be time consuming. If the new devices being developed for security are put into action in airports, they are expected to significantly speed the process.This conversation-based security screening is designed to take into account an ordinary, non-terrorist person's anxiety, say, or nervousness. Sounds like a good idea. I usually wear lace-up athletic shoes (with orthotic inserts), and I'm sick and tired of removing them every time I go through U.S. airport security. It's a pain in the neck for this Savta, and won't weed out the terrorists. Maybe the United States should learn from Israel's expertise, and institute this new system into our screening as well.
Read the article about this new system on Arutz Sheva, here.
*Davening: Yiddish word meaning "praying."