Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Terrorism: no more profiling

Salon.com News | The enemy is closer than we think:

This is fascinating. I didn't know that years ago the Israelis had written off profiling as useless:
It raises a key point: As the Israelis have already said in the context of suicide terrorism there, it's essentially impossible to profile. Keep in mind, this isn't the first evidence of this. There was the time when two British Muslims went to Israel in 2003 and carried out a suicide attack on Mike's Place, a bar on the Tel Aviv waterfront. They appeared to be similarly assimilated and well-adjusted; one was a graduate of the London School of Economics and was married and had children. So on the one hand you have people like Richard Reid [the convicted 'shoe bomber'], a juvenile delinquent who spent much of his young adult life in prison, where he converted to Islam; and on the other you have a graduate of a leading British university.

With these four suicide bombers, what I find both striking and alarming is that it isn't a matter of one size fits all. You've got an 18-year-old, you've got somebody who was a teacher; you have three of Pakistani origin, but also someone from the Caribbean. This is a particular problem in the United Kingdom; when you talk about rounding up the usual suspects, the short list is pretty long. There are the various immigrant communities, but also the phenomenon of British converts to Islam -- people of color, but also not.
This comes out the same day that Homeland Security announces they'll use more profiling when checking airline passengers. Sigh. It's fortunate that airline security is far less important than rugged cockpit doors. All the same, Homeland Security's decision will make air travel somewhat less safe in the US.

During WW II we had terribly smart people working on the Manhattan project and in communications and security. Where are those people now? Perhaps they would find the Bush administration to be unwelcoming.

This is a good article.

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