Category Archive 'Airport Profiling'

02 Dec 2010

PC, Not Profiling

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Ron Ross, at the American Spectator, vents over the insanity of our government’s refusal to use profiling as the basis for airline security.

The Transportation Security Administration’s controversial passenger screening policies demonstrate just how distorted our priorities have become. We have maneuvered ourselves into being more terrified of being accused of racism than we are of death.

Political correctness is the equivalent of a societal lobotomy. Political correctness prevents us from using basic logic and common sense when we make large and small choices. We know what we need to do to make ourselves safer but we’re in denial about what we know.

As John Smith, a columnist for Las Vegas Review-Journal, asked in a recent column, “Patting down my disabled daughter makes us safer?” The answer to that question is no, and everyone knows the answer is no. The obvious absurdity of our policies is the backdrop of why so many travelers are frustrated and angry.

How ridiculous is it to pretend that all passengers have an equal probability of carrying weapons or explosives? Our rejection of profiling is a rejection of behavior that we use so much we lose sight of how essential it is in our lives. The TSA is behaving as if there are no outward signs of a passenger’s likelihood of committing a terrorist act.

Our policy makers are pretending that probability is irrelevant in making choices and designing policies. Taking into account probability is second nature to any normal person. If probability didn’t matter, you might as well go fishing on dry land as on a lake or river.

When we refuse to consider probability we severely reduce the probability of achieving our objectives—in this case preventing the violent deaths of innocent people. Refusal to consider probability in making choices is a symptom of insanity. A strong intuitive sense of probability is an indicator of intelligence.

Political correctness is making us look like fools who don’t even have an instinct for self-preservation.

23 Nov 2010

Abolish the TSA

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Mark Hyman knows what needs to be done with regard to airline security, abolish the contemptible and offensive TSA and abandon political correctness, start following Israel’s example and profile.

It is long past time to disband the TSA. Replace it with an effective, free market system that actually works.

Critics of the TSA’s naked body scanners and intrusive pat-downs (including its genital probing) miss the biggest problem with this agency. It is the TSA’s premise that the 89-year old great-grandmother in a walker, the soccer team comprised of 11-year old girls, the two-year old toddler on the family vacation, the airline crewmember and the soldier traveling home from Iraq pose the same potential threat to airline safety as the Middle Eastern man traveling alone, without luggage, on a one-way First Class ticket that was purchased with cash. The TSA is fueled by political correctness run amuck. Its sole accomplishments to date have been establishing a sizable airport presence and humiliating passengers.

For a number of years following 9/11 I regularly flew between Baltimore and Atlanta. I was saddened at the all-too-frequent sight of a soldier dressed in his camouflage uniform on the way to or from his two-week R&R with boots off and the contents of his backpack strewn across the floor as a TSA agent nosed through the belongings to see what potential threat faced other air travelers.

No one has been spared the unwarranted indignities and gross violations of privacy perpetrated by the TSA.

In 2002, then-75 year old Congressman John Dingell (D-MI) was forced to strip down to his underwear because his artificial hip set-off alarms on the magnetometer. The issue is not that Dingell should undergo the same invasive inspections as everyone else. Instead, it is that the 99% of American airline passengers who do not raise meaningful red flags should not be subjected to such invasive inspections. (As an aside, I happen to believe members of Congress pose a greater threat to the American way of life when they are voting than when flying.)

Then-U.S. Senator Conrad Burns (R-MT) was asked to produce a picture I.D. at the Washington National Airport security screening area before a 2002 trip. Reagan National is the airport used by nearly every member of Congress when flying. Burns showed the TSA screener his U.S. Senate identification. The official refused to accept the government-issued I.D. but allowed Burns to proceed to his flight when he produced his Sam’s Club shopping card as proof of identification.

Retired Brigadier General and former South Dakota Governor Joe Foss nearly lost his Medal of Honor when TSA officials threatened to confiscate it from him during a 2002 screening of his carry-on belongings. Believing the medal could be used as a weapon, the TSA screeners fortunately relented when the 86-year old showed them a photograph of President Franklin Roosevelt presenting the medal to him for his WWII heroics.

In 2003, a U.S. Army medic who was wounded in Afghanistan when he was shot in the jaw was grossly mishandled at San Francisco International Airport. His jaw wired shut, the soldier was given a small pair of wire clippers to use in the event he became air sick in order to keep from choking on his vomit. TSA officials confiscated his wire clippers and he was forced to fly from San Francisco to Texas even though flight attendants informed him there was nothing on board the aircraft to open his jaw in an emergency.

In 2004, a chartered airline flight rotating an Army unit back to the U.S. from an Afghanistan deployment was stranded on the tarmac at San Francisco airport for hours during a layover. The troops were not permitted to deplane to purchase food and drink nor to use the bathroom. TSA officials ruled the soldiers posed a threat to airport security because the unit’s weapons were stored in the cargo hold of the aircraft.

This quarantine of troops returning from combat is not isolated. A planeload of servicemen were detained at nearby Oakland airport on their last layover while en route Hawaii in 2007 after departing Kuwait a day earlier. In spite of having all baggage x-rayed and hand-searched before boarding their aircraft in southwest Asia, the troops were ordered by TSA to deplane near an outdoor baggage handling area if they wanted to stretch their legs. TSA prohibited them from entering the terminal as they posed a threat to airport safety. Troops returning from Vietnam may have been spat upon but at least they were permitted to visit the snack bar and men’s room.

Last year a retired assistant police chief who observed she had been chosen for additional screening with uncanny regularity during her frequent travels asked a TSA screener why it appeared so many women had been selected for secondary screening on that particular day. The answer, said the screener, was that cross-gender pat-downs were not permitted and on that TSA shift there was a shortage of male screeners so women were singled-out for further scrutiny.

One commercial airline pilot confided his frustration at continually being subjected to x-ray screenings and pat-downs. He told me that in the first 1500 feet of elevation after take-off and the last 1500 feet before touch-down that no other crewmember in the cockpit could prevent him from using the jetliner as the ultimate weapon if he wanted to fly the aircraft into the ground. “I’m in complete control and no one can stop me.”

Another commercial pilot who is a licensed Federal Flight Deck Officer and is permitted to carry a sidearm onboard his aircraft reports that half of the time after checking in with the TSA he is whisked through security. The rest of the time he is instructed to place his weapon in his carry-on bag and run it through the x-ray machine to determine if he possesses any objects that might pose a threat in flight. It is as if the script writers on Saturday Night Live are making up the rules.

It is not as if the TSA is a highly professional workforce merely following asinine rules. In 2003, TSA baggage screeners at La Guardia airport were given the answers in advance of their certification exam to ensure an appropriate number of screeners were cleared to work. …

Congressman John Mica (R-FL) reported that under the watchful eye of the TSA, at least 17 known terrorists evaded screeners and traveled on 23 occasions from eight U.S. airports utilizing SPOT methodologies. Among these was the failed Times Square bomber who was apprehended just prior to boarding his flight to Dubai. Meanwhile, TSA screeners continue to poke, grope and fondle longtime airline crewmembers who are merely trying to do their job.

Earlier this year, the Washington Post reported that “at least 23” TSA workers have been fired since 2007 for stealing from passengers. There are numerous reports of TSA workers having also been fired for drug use, perpetrating pranks on passengers and other misbehavior. From a numerical standpoint, more TSA employees than terrorists have been caught who pose a threat to Americans.

The rash of reports of TSA officials humiliating passengers and overstepping the bounds of common decency underscore the agency is indeed broken. One surmises it is only a matter of time before it is discovered that naked body scanner operators are swapping graphic images of runway models and other attractive people who are forced to enter the voyeurs’ playground. …

Obviously U.S. airports require a competent security screening program. Two programs offer a model. Anyone who has crossed from Tijuana into California at the busiest border crossing in the world has witnessed U.S. border agents who observe, profile and question the public in order to narrow the field to those who legitimately require secondary inspection.

The same is true of the system at Tel Aviv Airport. Airline security officials in Israel are not required to be politically correct and give the third degree to a Danish school teacher on holiday for every Palestinian they further scrutinize. Israel’s El Al Airlines has had a rather impressive security record and it does not rely on humiliating elderly widows or terrorizing toddlers.

19 Nov 2010

“Don’t Touch My Junk”

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Charles Krauthammer celebrates the latest American folk hero, the 31-year-old programmer who sparked a nationwide revolt against against the Kafkaesque indignities visited upon ordinary travelers by the Transportation Safety Authority.

John Tyner, cleverly armed with an iPhone to give YouTube immortality to the encounter, took exception to the TSA guard about to give him the benefit of Homeland Security’s newest brainstorm – the upgraded, full-palm, up the groin, all-body pat-down. In a stroke, the young man ascended to myth, or at least the next edition of Bartlett’s, warning the agent not to “touch my junk.”

Not quite the 18th-century elegance of “Don’t Tread on Me,” but the age of Twitter has a different cadence from the age of the musket. What the modern battle cry lacks in archaic charm, it makes up for in full-body syllabic punch. …

That riff is a crowd-pleaser because everyone knows that the entire apparatus of the security line is a national homage to political correctness. Nowhere do more people meekly acquiesce to more useless inconvenience and needless indignity for less purpose. Wizened seniors strain to untie their shoes; beltless salesmen struggle comically to hold up their pants; 3-year-olds scream while being searched insanely for explosives – when everyone, everyone, knows that none of these people is a threat to anyone.

The ultimate idiocy is the full-body screening of the pilot. The pilot doesn’t need a bomb or box cutter to bring down a plane. All he has to do is drive it into the water, like the EgyptAir pilot who crashed his plane off Nantucket while intoning “I rely on God,” killing all on board.

But we must not bring that up. We pretend that we go through this nonsense as a small price paid to ensure the safety of air travel. Rubbish. This has nothing to do with safety – 95 percent of these inspections, searches, shoe removals and pat-downs are ridiculously unnecessary. The only reason we continue to do this is that people are too cowed to even question the absurd taboo against profiling – when the profile of the airline attacker is narrow, concrete, uniquely definable and universally known. So instead of seeking out terrorists, we seek out tubes of gel in stroller pouches.

The junk man’s revolt marks the point at which a docile public declares that it will tolerate only so much idiocy. Metal detector? Back-of-the-hand pat? Okay. We will swallow hard and pretend airline attackers are randomly distributed in the population.

But now you insist on a full-body scan, a fairly accurate representation of my naked image to be viewed by a total stranger? Or alternatively, the full-body pat-down, which, as the junk man correctly noted, would be sexual assault if performed by anyone else?

This time you have gone too far, Big Bro’. The sleeping giant awakes. Take my shoes, remove my belt, waste my time and try my patience. But don’t touch my junk.

17 Nov 2010

Who Put Government’s Hand in America’s Crotch?

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Taiwan’s animated news service pokes fun at America’s resort to electronic strip searches and crotch fondling.

The Washington Times is right that the recent move to humiliating invasions of personal privacy represents a deliberate policy choosing universal indignity over profiling, but I think they are wrong to identify the TSA’s practices and politically correct ideology as the invention of the Obama Administration. That infernal organization was created by the Bush Administration, and it was the Bush Administration that appointed the original officials who established its keynote policies of security theater and political correctness.

24 Feb 2010

Pope Criticizes Full Body Scanners

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Jean-Léon Gérôme, Next Year at Airline Security, 1867, private collection.

I was appalled by the reactions of my classmates to news that the officialdom was responding internationally to the failed Christmas Eve underwear bombing by adding electronic strip searches to the pointless forms of harassment and humiliation inflicted on ordinary citizens of Western countries, in order to avoid singling out for special attention exotic representatives of the backward and benighted regions of Barbaria where the teachings of Mahound commonly inspire fanatical intolerance and a lust for blood.

There were all kinds of crude jokes about how trivial issues of personal modesty are by comparison to safety, and how happy they all would be to stripped completely naked in mixed company in order to avoid injury or death. This from a bunch of men over 60, who in general, doubtless, have plenty of reason for personal objection.

I thought myself that this particular measure represented a particularly apt metonymy for a number of the objectionable aspects of the contemporary liberal perspective: the eager submission and thoroughgoing surrender of everything, including personal dignity and privacy, to official authority; the elevation of egalitarianism to a position of absolute supremacy over any and every other value; cowardice and materialism; and limitless obeisance to the Other, combined with a complete disregard for either female modesty or human dignity.

The Telegraph reports that at least one modern leader actually is on the record objecting to the new full body scanners.

The Pope made his comments during an audience with airport workers held at the Vatican.

Although the Pontiff did not mention the words body scanner it was clear what he meant as he told the 1,200 strong crowd: “Every action, it is above all essential to protect and value the human person in their integrity.

“Respecting these principles can seem particularly complex and difficult in the present context.

“The economic crisis has had problematic effects on the civil aviation sector, the international terrorist threat which, precisely, has in its line of fire airports and aircraft to realise its destructive schemes.

“Even in this situation, one must never forget that respecting the primacy of the human person and attention to his or her needs does not make the service less efficient nor penalise economic management.”

29 Dec 2009

Underwear Bomb Pictures Released

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Abdulmutallab was concealing a 6″ container of PETN in the crotch of this underwear

As this 2:57 ABC video shows, the quantity of explosive was more than sufficient to destroy an airliner.

All this provokes reflection. They are using underwear to hide bombs, concealing high explosive compounds next to their genitals. What is the government going to do now? Will millions of air travelers be stripped naked electronically or literally?

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Jeff Goldberg, in the Atlantic, discussed airline security policies with Bruce Schneier:

Counter­terrorism in the airport is a show designed to make people feel better,” [Schneier] said. “Only two things have made flying safer: the reinforcement of cockpit doors, and the fact that passengers know now to resist hijackers.” This assumes, of course, that al-Qaeda will target airplanes for hijacking, or target aviation at all. “We defend against what the terrorists did last week,” Schnei­er said. He believes that the country would be just as safe as it is today if airport security were rolled back to pre-9/11 levels. “Spend the rest of your money on intelligence, investigations, and emergency response.”

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If we were smarter, we’d pay more attention to the Israeli example.

The safest airline in the world, it is widely agreed, is El Al, Israel’s national carrier. The safest airport is Ben Gurion International, in Tel Aviv. No El Al plane has been attacked by terrorists in more than three decades, and no flight leaving Ben Gurion has ever been hijacked. So when US aviation intensified its focus on security after 9/11, it seemed a good bet that the experience of travelers in American airports would increasingly come to resemble that of travelers flying out of Tel Aviv.

But in telling ways, the two experiences remain notably different. For example, passengers in the United States are required to take off their shoes for X-ray screening, while passengers at Ben Gurion are spared that indignity. …

Nearly five years after Sept. 11, 2001, US airport security remains obstinately focused on intercepting bad things — guns, knives, explosives. …

Of course the Israelis check for bombs and weapons too, but always with the understanding that things don’t hijack planes, terrorists do — and that the best way to detect terrorists is to focus on intercepting not bad things, but bad people.

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Wikipedia describes Israeli El Al’s security procedures:

Passengers are asked to report three hours before departure. All El Al terminals around the world are closely monitored for security. There are plain-clothes agents and fully armed police or military personnel who patrol the premises for explosives, suspicious behavior, and other threats. Inside the terminal, passengers and their baggage are checked by a trained team. El Al security procedures require that all passengers be interviewed individually prior to boarding, allowing El Al staff to identify possible security threats. Passengers will be asked questions about where they are coming from, the reason for their trip, their job or occupation, and whether they have packed their bags themselves. The likelihood of potential terrorists remaining calm under such questioning is believed to be low (see microexpression). At the check-in counter the passengers’ passports and tickets are closely examined. A ticket without a sticker from the security checkers will not be accepted. At passport control passengers’ names are checked against information from the FBI, Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), Scotland Yard, Shin Bet, and Interpol databases. Luggage is screened and sometimes hand searched. In addition, bags are put through a decompression chamber simulating pressures during flight that could trigger explosives. El Al is the only airline in the world that passes all luggage through such a chamber. Even at overseas airports, El Al security agents conduct all luggage searches personally, even if they are supervised by government or private security firms. …

Critics of El Al note that its security checks on passengers include racial profiling and have argued that such profiling is unfair, irrational, and degrading to those subject to such screening.

28 Dec 2009

Flight 253 Security Failure Will Lead to What?

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Full nudity and body cavity searches for every airline traveler, while Western security agencies continue to refuse to offend political correctness by profiling Muslims and Middle Easterners?

The Telegraph observes that al Qaeda has identified the last unsearched regions of the human anatomy as providing an expoitable opportunity to smuggle small quantities of high explosives on board airliners. They obviously are not going to stop trying.

The fact that Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was able to trigger his home-made incendiary device on board a US airliner represents an intelligence and security failure of staggering proportions.

How can a Muslim student, whose name appears on a US law enforcement database, be granted a visa to travel to America, allegedly acquire an explosive device from Yemen, a country awash with al-Qaeda terrorists, and avoid detection from the world’s most sophisticated spy agencies?

Every intelligence agency across the world is fully aware that the targets of choice for al-Qaeda and its numerous affiliates and sympathisers are airliners – preferably those flying to the US. Yet Abdulmutallab seems to have avoided detection in both Nigeria and Holland when he passed through the various security checks at Lagos and Schiphol airports respectively.

Embarrassingly for the Washington, Lagos airport had recently been given the “all clear” by the US’s Transportation Security Administration, an agency established in the wake of the 9/11 attacks which was supposed to improve the security on American airliners. …

The simplicity of the latest plot – another al-Qaeda hallmark – could also lead to changes into the way passengers are body searched in the future.

Reports suggest that Abdulmutallab was able to carry the powdery substance undetected by concealing it on the inside of his upper thigh, close to his groin – an area likely to avoid detection even by the most conscientious of security officials. It would appear that he was allowed to take a syringe containing a liquid on board the aircraft by apparently taking advantage of airlines’ policy of allowing diabetics to inject themselves during flight. Changes of some sort to passenger travel would seem to be a certainty.

British Airways has already announced that hand baggage has been reduced to one item following the attack.

Whether Abdulmutallab was directed by al-Qaeda – as he initially claimed to US investigators but later denied – or whether his connections were more “aspirational” remains to be seen.

But what this incident demonstrates is that despite all the improvements in security since 9/11, determined terrorists can and will continue to mount terrorists attacks against western targets – and one day they will succeed.

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The (British) Sun (a somewhat sensationalist tabloid) is reporting having received an official leak indicating that the attempted bombing of Flight 253 is just the first of a series of planned attacks.

25 British-born Muslims are plotting to bomb Western airliners.

The fanatics, in five groups, are now training at secret terror camps in Yemen.

The British extremists in Yemen are in their early 20s and from Bradford, Luton and Leytonstone, East London.

They are due to return to the UK early in 2010 and will then await internet instructions from al-Qaeda on when to strike.

A Scotland Yard source said: “The great fear is Abdulmutallab is the first of many ready to attack planes and kill tens of thousands.

“We know there are four or five radicalised British Muslim cells in the Yemen.

“They are due back within months when they will be under constant surveillance.”

The 25 suspects, of Pakistani and Somali descent, were radicalised in UK mosques.

Some had been to university and studied engineering or computer sciences.

Others were former street gang members.

Monitored

Special Branch monitored them as they flew to Yemen, in the Middle East, from British airports in the spring and summer.

In almost every case, their tickets were paid for in cash and bought less than a week before travel.

The source added: “Imams would have promised them rewards in heaven for becoming suicide bombers prepared to kill Westerners.

27 Dec 2009

Government Didn’t Roll; Passengers Did

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Mark Steyn observes that, despite the politically searching of blue-haired grannies from Nebraska, government security let a Nigerian with his boxers full of PETN onto a passenger flight carrying 300 people, and government didn’t stop him from detonating his infernal device, a quick-witted Dutch video director did.

Steyn also notes that the left’s inevitable meme about economic deprivation being responsible for resentment certainly doesn’t apply here. Umar Farouk Mutallab was the son of Nigeria’s former Economics Minister, a graduate of University College London, whose London home was a £2m mansion apartment in Marylebone.

On September 11th 2001, the government’s (1970s) security procedures all failed, and the only good news of the day came from self-reliant citizens (on Flight 93) using their own wits and a willingness to act.

On December 25th 2009, the government’s (post-9/11) security procedures all failed, and the only good news came once again from alert individuals:

If the facts remain broadly as outlined, this incident has serious implications for airline travel: A man is on the no-fly list but is allowed to board the plane. Everyone flying on an inbound long-haul flight to the United States is forced to hand over excessively large amounts of liquids and gels and put the small amounts permitted into separate plastic bags, yet the no-fly guy’s material for bomb-making sails through undetected.

This time the last line of defense worked. Next time, the paradise-seeking jihadist might get lucky and find himself sitting next to, say, Charlie Sheen, too immersed in a lengthy treatise on how 9/11 was an inside job to notice the smoldering socks in the next seat; or to the same kind of nothing-to-see-here crowd who thought Major Hasan’s e-mails were “consistent with his research interests. …

So once again we see the foolishness of complaceniks who drone the fatuous cliches about how “in this struggle, scholarships will be far more important than smart bombs”. The men eager to self-detonate on infidel airliners are not goatherds from the caves of Waziristan but educated middle-class Muslims who have had the most exposure to the western world and could be pulling down six-figure salaries almost anywhere on the planet. And don’t look to “assimilation” to work its magic, either. We’re witnessing a process of generational de-assimilation: In this family, yet again, the dad is an entirely assimilated member of the transnational elite. His son wants a global caliphate run on Wahhabist lines.

11 Dec 2006

Flying Imams’ Linked to Terror

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Katherine Kersten of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune breaks with ordinary journalistic convention by doing some actual investigation, and finds that the Minneapolis Imams currently trying to shakedown US Airways for a cash settlement in compensation for their removal from a flight last month have some pretty sinister affiliations.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations, the imams’ legal representative, is an organization that “we know has ties to terrorism,” Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said in 2003. And the Muslim American Society, which is also supporting the imams? It’s the American arm of the Muslim Brotherhood, according to the Chicago Tribune, which called it “the world’s most influential Islamic fundamentalist group.”

How about Omar Shahin, the imams’ spokesman and also president of the North American Imams Federation? He is a native of Jordan, who says he became a U.S. citizen in 2003. From 2000 to 2003, Shahin served as president of Islamic Center of Tucson (ICT), that city’s largest mosque.

The ICT is well known. The mosque has “an extensive history of terror links,” according to terrorism expert Steven Emerson, who testified about terrorist financing before the Senate Banking Committee in July 2005.

The Washington Post described these links in a 2002 article. “Tucson was one of the first points of contact in the United States for the jihadist group that evolved into al Qaeda,” the Post reported. And the ICT? It held “basically the first cell of al Qaeda in the United States; that is where it all started,” said Rita Katz, a terrorism expert quoted by the Post.

ICT members have included high-profile terrorists. Wael Hamza Jelaidan, the mosque’s leader in the mid-1980s, was identified by the U.S. government as a ” ‘co-founder’ of al Qaeda and its logistics chief,” the Post reported.

Another former member, Wadi Hage, served as Osama bin Laden’s personal secretary after leaving Arizona, the Post said, attributing it to government sources. Hage established a bin Laden support network in Arizona and “this network is still in place,” Emerson wrote in his book “Jihad Incorporated: A Guide to Militant Islam in the U.S.,” citing a 2002 Senate Intelligence Committee Report. In 2001, Hage was convicted of plotting the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

The best-known terrorist with apparent (according to the Post and Emerson) connections to the ICT is Hani Hanjour, who piloted the plane that flew into the Pentagon on 9/11. Hanjour took aviation lessons in Tucson in the late 1990s.

Read the whole thing.

Earlier reports

28 Nov 2006

Those Imams Were Up To No Good

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The Washington Times reports that those ullulating imams removed from a US Airways flight from Minneapolis to Phoenix

Muslim religious leaders removed from a Minneapolis flight last week exhibited behavior associated with a security probe by terrorists and were not merely engaged in prayers, according to witnesses, police reports and aviation security officials.

Witnesses said three of the imams were praying loudly in the concourse and repeatedly shouted “Allah” when passengers were called for boarding US Airways Flight 300 to Phoenix.

“I was suspicious by the way they were praying very loud,” the gate agent told the Minneapolis Police Department.

Passengers and flight attendants told law-enforcement officials the imams switched from their assigned seats to a pattern associated with the September 11 terrorist attacks and also found in probes of U.S. security since the attacks — two in the front row first-class, two in the middle of the plane on the exit aisle and two in the rear of the cabin.

“That would alarm me,” said a federal air marshal who asked to remain anonymous. “They now control all of the entry and exit routes to the plane.”

A pilot from another airline said: “That behavior has been identified as a terrorist probe in the airline industry.”..

According to witnesses, police reports and aviation security officials, the imams displayed other suspicious behavior.

Three of the men asked for seat-belt extenders, although two flight attendants told police the men were not oversized. One flight attendant told police she “found this unsettling, as crew knew about the six [passengers] on board and where they were sitting.” Rather than attach the extensions, the men placed the straps and buckles on the cabin floor, the flight attendant said.

The imams said they were not discussing politics and only spoke in English, but witnesses told law enforcement that the men spoke in Arabic and English, criticizing the war in Iraq and President Bush, and talking about al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden.

All this sounds like their actions were calculated as a test of current flight security which, if they provoked a reaction, could opportunistically be used to complain about profiling.

Original Story

23 Nov 2006

Ullulating Imams Ejected By US Airways

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Ann Coulter reports:

Six imams removed from a US Airways flight from Minneapolis to Phoenix are calling on Muslims to boycott the airline. If only we could get Muslims to boycott all airlines, we could dispense with airport security altogether.

Witnesses said the imams stood to do their evening prayers in the terminal before boarding, chanting “Allah, Allah, Allah” — coincidentally, the last words heard by hundreds of airline passengers on 9/11 before they died.

Witnesses also said that the imams were talking about Saddam Hussein, and denouncing America and the war in Iraq. About the only scary preflight ritual the imams didn’t perform was the signing of last wills and testaments.

After boarding, the imams did not sit together and some asked for seat belt extensions, although none were morbidly obese. Three of the men had one-way tickets and no checked baggage.

Also they were Muslims.

The idea that a Muslim boycott against US Airways would hurt the airline proves that Arabs are utterly tone-deaf. This is roughly the equivalent of Cindy Sheehan taking a vow of silence.

And Charles Johnson links a nincompoop MSNBC talking head who compares the ejected Saracens to Rosa Parks.

18 Aug 2006

Searching Blue-Haired Grannies is a Waste of Time

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Michael Smerconish describes how political correctness jeopardizes airline safety:

For years I have been advocating that the United States use… street smarts in the war against radical Islam. I did not begin with any particular knowledge of the subject. To the contrary, whatever understanding I’ve obtained sprang from a common occurrence in connection with a routine flight.

In March 2004, my family of six was heading to Florida for spring break. At a ticket counter in the Atlantic City airport, my 8-year-old son was singled out for “secondary” or random screening.

I knew it was absurd, but I didn’t complain, figuring it was the small price we all have to pay post 9/11. Common sense told me it was a terrible waste of precious resources.

Soon after my son’s screening, Dr. Condoleezza Rice testified in front of the 9/11 Commission. Commissioner John Lehman floored me when he asked Dr. Rice this:

“Were you aware that it was the policy, and I believe it remains the policy today, to fine airlines if they have more than two young Arab males in secondary questioning because that is discriminatory?”

And makes the case for airport profiling.

Profiling is street smarts by any other name. It’s the common-sensical recognition that while America is not threatened by an entire community, she is under siege by a certain element of an identifiable group, and law enforcement needs to target its resources accordingly.

The failure to profile is a dereliction of duty on the part of an administration that has otherwise been willing to incur the wrath of civil libertarians as it aggressively fights the war on terror.

Only last week, in the aftermath of the thwarted attack emanating from the U.K., did the president appear to take a step in the direction of profiling when at last, he acknowledged with specificity those who threaten our survival:

“This nation is at war with Islamic fascists who will use any means to destroy those of us who love freedom.”

Hopefully now there will be a long overdue confrontation of the Emperor Has No Clothes charade whereby law enforcement is mandated to ignore the naked barbarism of radical Islam. The arrest of two dozen in connection with the latest, failed plan should change that. After all, they are the same-old, same-old. I refer to Messrs. Ali, Ali, Ali, Hussain, Hussain, Hussain, Islam, Kayani, Khan, Khan, Kha-tib, Patel, Rauf, Saddique, Sarwar, Savant, Tariq, Uddin and Zaman. To a person they are Muslim men…

They are not Americans. They are not urban blacks. They are not suburban whites. They are not Jews. They are not Hispanics. They are not members of the U.S. military, women, senior citizens or young kids. At a minimum, it is time to profile by exclusion.

Hat tip to Tom Seus.


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