TSA testing Israeli-style screening program in Boston

posted at 10:05 am on August 3, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

Our Townhall colleague Katie Pavlich first spotted this story a couple of days ago, and now the Boston Herald has a fresh report on a new experiment for the Transportation Safety Administration.  Instead of conducting random patdowns or irradiating all passengers, the TSA will try the Israeli screening approach to see whether they can more effectively spot potential threats.  But will it work in the US, and does the TSA have the requisite skills and resources?

Boston’s TSA screeners — part of a security force whose competency has come under fire nationwide — soon will be carrying out sophisticated behavioral inspections under a first-in-the-nation program that’s already raising concerns of racial profiling, harassment of innocent travelers and longer lines.

The training for the Israeli-style screening — a projected $1 billion national program dubbed Screening Passengers by Observation Techniques — kicks off today at Logan International Airport and will be put to use in Terminal A on Aug. 15. It requires screeners to make quick reads of whether passengers pose a danger or a terror threat based on their reactions to a set of routine questions.

But security experts wonder whether Transportation Safety Administration agents are up to the challenge after an embarrassing string of blunders — including patting down a 95-year-old grandmother in Florida and making her remove her adult diaper and frisking a 3-year-old girl who screamed “stop touching me” at a checkpoint in Tennessee.

The “embarrassing string of blunders” came as a direct result of a misguided screening policy that relies on random sampling rather than threat detection. When security screeners are discouraged from using their judgment, use profiling to narrow threat detection, and are more concerned with appearances than results, then we get security theater rather than actual security. Taking a diaper off of a 95-year-old invalid didn’t make any flight one iota safer, but it made the TSA safer from criticism that they discriminate in security screenings.

However, the Herald quotes Glenn Reynolds as skeptical whether the TSA has the right people to use the Israeli approach on a large scale. I wrote about that issue when describing my own journey through Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv:

Israelis use a multi-tiered security system that relies more on psychology than technology.  Travelers arrive and immediately get queued, bags in hand, to interview lines with security agents.  They check passports and ask a few questions to test responses; if they don’t like the answers or if you fit a profile that indicates a higher risk, you get routed to a more intensive security assessment.  If you get cleared, you then take all your bags to an X-ray station, where a few more questions may or may not be asked.  Once cleared, you then take your bags to the airline ticket counter to check any bags needed — and since Israelis take a rather casual and aggressive attitude towards queuing, that can become quite an adventure.

You’re still not done by this point.  Travelers then have to go through another security check, this one more like the traditional US model with metal detectors and carry-on bag X-rays, but no groping or backscatter scanners.  Finally, travelers have to go through a formal passport review, which can mean another brief interview, and possibly another diversion if the answers indicate risk.  All told, it took me more than 90 minutes to get to my gate, although a good portion of that can be attributed to the ticket counter.

This process works well, mainly because Israelis are looking for actual security problems and not simply sampling for problems.  But the application in the US would be controversial on several points.  First, as noted, Israelis have no qualms about profiling as part of this process.  But perhaps more of an issue is the time and effort needed in this process.  The Israelis have just three international airports through which less than 10 million people pass a year; the US system is much larger, with much heavier traffic.  The 90-minute path to get to a gate would almost certainly be longer in the US (although perhaps not, if the ticket counters are more efficient), multiplied across hundreds of airports and the costs multiplied as well, and most airports in the US aren’t configured for that many people to be held up before the security checkpoints that are already installed.  Travelers here are already frustrated by delays getting to gates; unless we’re really living in fear, I doubt that the Israeli model would be tolerated here.

That process is people-intensive, and training-intensive.  It also requires more room than most American airports have, and probably more patience than most American travelers have.  I’d like to see us adopt a version of the Israeli approach that works, and kudos to TSA for finally trying something new.

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Are you a Christian? Yes
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****Please Proceed to Intense Security Screening*****

search4truth on August 3, 2011 at 10:09 AM

Not with union morons with affirmative action, and an official anti-majority dispensation with the feds.

flawedskull on August 3, 2011 at 10:11 AM

I officially blame the jews for this. I was looking forward to my free prostate exam next month.

abobo on August 3, 2011 at 10:11 AM

Of course it can work, which is why it will fail when executed by the TSA.

allanbourdius on August 3, 2011 at 10:12 AM

While I have opined for some TSA measures – it is clear – the current roster of TSA folks do not have the behavorial chops or brains to figure out a “threat”

Add in the growing “hatred” for TSA each year… ah no – its a recipe for disaster. Most people who dont like them will be hostile, by default – which could “signal” some sort of behavior that triggers a search, pat down, etc. based on an unqualified TSA staffer.

I wont even get into the lack of fluent English speaking agents, due to their AA/entitlement policies…

Odie1941 on August 3, 2011 at 10:12 AM

“will it work in the US?”

Yes it will

“does the TSA have the requisite skills and resources?”

No.

evilned on August 3, 2011 at 10:12 AM

Won’t work here without the profiling.

Del Dolemonte on August 3, 2011 at 10:14 AM

Israelis have few illusions over what (or who) the threat actually is. I don’t have the same confidence in the TSA, sadly.

Bee on August 3, 2011 at 10:15 AM

Why can’t I shake the feeling that they are using this method with people untrained for it to be effective just so they can say, “Tried it, didn’t work, back to the radiation booths and gropefests…it’s the only way.”

DrAllecon on August 3, 2011 at 10:16 AM

Won’t work here without the profiling.

Del Dolemonte

Won’t work without the Israelis. They care about protecting their homeland! TSA agents – not so much.

honsy on August 3, 2011 at 10:17 AM

Of course it can work, which is why it will fail when executed by the TSA.

allanbourdius on August 3, 2011 at 10:12 AM

I don’t believe that DHS is serious about this and this is also kabuki theatre to appease the masses. If they were serious they would set up at least three different test sites using different training methods and non-TSA employees at least at one site to determine effectiveness.

NotCoach on August 3, 2011 at 10:17 AM

That process is people-intensive, and training-intensive.

Although I am in favor of the TSA’s new program, I am bothered by the fact that it’s going to be run by an agency plagued with personnel and training issues. Five days of training is nowhere near enough, even if they do have college degrees.

pookysgirl on August 3, 2011 at 10:19 AM

Of course it can work, which is why it will fail when executed by the TSA.

allanbourdius on August 3, 2011 at 10:12 AM
I don’t believe that DHS is serious about this and this is also kabuki theatre to appease the masses. If they were serious they would set up at least three different test sites using different training methods and non-TSA employees at least at one site to determine effectiveness.

NotCoach on August 3, 2011 at 10:17 AM

Very true – of course that could be going on (other test airports not being mentioned) – along with backend foensics to detect odd “travel changes” due to the announcement… but again – I have little faith in the ability and verocity of the TSA actually carrying this out.

Odie1941 on August 3, 2011 at 10:21 AM

“But will it work in the US, and does the TSA have the requisite skills and resources?”

The unasked question is: Should it work?

Should American citizens now be required to answer the “administrative” questions of government officials all decked out in their blue shirts and toy badges in order to board an airplane?

When roving bands of TSA VIPR Teams start appearing regularly in other public places, will you feel, ah, comfortable having to answer questions about your address, occupation, destination, and general reason for going where you’re going, in order to proceed?

Drained Brain on August 3, 2011 at 10:21 AM

I don’t believe that DHS is serious about this and this is also kabuki theatre to appease the masses. If they were serious they would set up at least three different test sites using different training methods and non-TSA employees at least at one site to determine effectiveness.

NotCoach on August 3, 2011 at 10:17 AM

I don’t disagree. I just thought your comment was very interesting because I didn’t consider your point as I read the blurb. Congress intervenes in our affairs so much, couldn’t the House enact some legislation mandating a pilot program along the lines that you describe with a report back to Congress? I’d like to see the Senate and Obama say that they are against such an effort.

BuckeyeSam on August 3, 2011 at 10:27 AM

BuckeyeSam on August 3, 2011 at 10:27 AM

I think Congress tackling this would be a good idea and force the issue more into the public eye. Let the Dems tell us why this is a bad idea.

NotCoach on August 3, 2011 at 10:31 AM

How will we know if it works?

Have two screens in series – the new normal and the Israeli?
and reverse the order daily?

tomg51 on August 3, 2011 at 10:31 AM

I don’t disagree. I just thought your comment was very interesting because I didn’t consider your point as I read the blurb. Congress intervenes in our affairs so much, couldn’t the House enact some legislation mandating a pilot program along the lines that you describe with a report back to Congress? I’d like to see the Senate and Obama say that they are against such an effort.

BuckeyeSam on August 3, 2011 at 10:27 AM

Do you really want to rally the left to a cause that conjures up racial profiling, civil rights issues, blah, blah…

NO – you force Dems to get on board – and announce how “bipartisan” it is.

Odie1941 on August 3, 2011 at 10:31 AM

10 years and how many gropings later?

Limerick on August 3, 2011 at 10:33 AM

Odie1941 on August 3, 2011 at 10:21 AM

It would be nice if that were actually happening, but we are talking about Janet Napolitano here. That is only happening if she were taken over by aliens who love apple pie and baseball.

NotCoach on August 3, 2011 at 10:34 AM

How about if this had been started in, oh, say, 2001 with direct help from the Israelis? TSA might actually be effective now. Instead we have Chertoff’s scanners and another maximally-bloated-inept-ad hoc-bureaucracy.

roy_batty on August 3, 2011 at 10:36 AM

“It” does work, as evidenced by the Israeli security record. The question is whether the TSA can perform it effectively.

That remains to be seen. The TSA, after all, is headed by Napolitano, the very one who insisted that the Israeli approach would not work in the US.

In other words, US security is in the hands of an incompetent politicized bureaucrat.

paul1149 on August 3, 2011 at 10:42 AM

If this has any chance of working, the TSA will have to recruit something better than the mall cop rejects they use to staff their positions now.

Cicero43 on August 3, 2011 at 10:42 AM

I grope, therefore I am TSA.

pilamaye on August 3, 2011 at 10:43 AM

raising concerns of racial profiling, harassment of innocent travelers and longer lines.

Right. Been to an airport recently. Harassment is already occurring. Can lines get any longer than they already are?

That leaves the BIG – profiling!.

Given the previously demonstrated competence of the TSA and it’s upper management, I will be surprised if they don’t blow it.

GarandFan on August 3, 2011 at 10:43 AM

My opinion is that it couldn’t possibly be any worse than Logan International’s security practices over the past 12 years.

There’s a reason that 2 of the 4 flights on 9/11 originated there.

teke184 on August 3, 2011 at 10:43 AM

Drained Brain on August 3, 2011 at 10:21 AM

Sounds like something straight out of the USSR :(

Al in St. Lou on August 3, 2011 at 10:49 AM

I have a friend who flew El-Al for the first time to a wedding and she told me she did a short telephone interview the night before her flight from an airline representative. So it’s being done here for a while. Will American or Southwest do that? No. The US public is too MYOB, including the extreme right?

Marcus on August 3, 2011 at 10:50 AM

Hopless. This major change requires an entirely different skillset in screeners, and a key component, -intelligence. Doing this is like taking an order-filler at Burger King and asking him to rewire the deep fryer.

Note also that they continue with the political correctitude. What the T&A does now is anti-profiling. Their primary targets are white women and their children, and seniors. This is to make it absolutely clear to the rest of the liberal world that we are not “racially profiling”, whatever the h that is. Actually keeping us secure is second to maintaining their personal feelings of liberal moral superiority.

Ever hear of a muslim male in the jihadi age bracket complaining about being groped? You won’t, because they blow through security.

slickwillie2001 on August 3, 2011 at 10:53 AM

I have a friend who flew El-Al for the first time to a wedding and she told me she did a short telephone interview the night before her flight from an airline representative. So it’s being done here for a while. Will American or Southwest do that? No. The US public is too MYOB, including the extreme right?

Marcus on August 3, 2011 at 10:50 AM

This makes me realize there is something that could be done to make this whole thing a lot easier to cope with as well. We have no fly lists, why not trusted flyer lists? People who have demonstrated they are not a threat so they can be expressed through the system. It would streamline the process and ease the pain of those not on the trusted flyers list yet.

NotCoach on August 3, 2011 at 10:55 AM

Love the guy in the plaid shorts and navy sport coat!

ctmom on August 3, 2011 at 10:56 AM

Dateline January 21st 2013:

Barok Hussien Obama was questioned by TSA agents who felt that he was definatly a threat to the USA

(I feel better now)

Reality Checker on August 3, 2011 at 10:56 AM

Color me skeptical.

The TSA isn’t testing this program because it suddenly realized its current policies aren’t effective at catching terrorists. It is going through the motions for the same reasons it developed policies that are designed primarily to protect TSA from criticism based on the inevitable lefty meme of profiling = racism, not to actually catch potential threats. TSA is now under intense and growing pressure to stop the madness. The classic bureaucratic response will be to undermine the criticism and justify the madness.

Look for this deal to be designed to fail, so that TSA can say it can’t work and justify its insane but politically correct policy of inflicting as much inconvenience as possible on everyone equally, prioritizing a political agenda over actual security.

Yeah, call me a cynic. Sorry but my experience is that if you expect the worst from politically controlled bureaucrats in situations like this one you will rarely be disappointed. Not to mention the fact that my nephew and his family are going to be moving across the country and it won’t be practical to drive for visits any more. I haven’t had to fly for more than three years and I’m not looking forward to going back to the airport.

novaculus on August 3, 2011 at 11:05 AM

Sounds like something straight out of the USSR :(
Al in St. Lou

That’s because it is. Shocking that so few even here have noticed that, and not recognized the mission creep that is TSA, VIPR, DHS, et al.

And now we’re going to have “trusted” citizens vs. the other kind.

Frightening.

Drained Brain on August 3, 2011 at 11:07 AM

My opinion is that it couldn’t possibly be any worse than Logan International’s security practices over the past 12 years.

There’s a reason that 2 of the 4 flights on 9/11 originated there.

teke184 on August 3, 2011 at 10:43 AM

Yup, Logan is Hack City. And I’m not talking about computer geeks.

Political patronage is how those people got their “jobs” at Logan. Even TNR exposed it, a week after 9/11:

Until last week, Boston’s political establishment winked indulgently at Massport’s rampant patronage. State leaders–most with their own friends, relatives, and allies on the public payroll–were reluctant to cry foul. Business leaders didn’t want to offend the politicians by complaining. And Boston’s passengers–like passengers everywhere else in the country–were more concerned about convenience than safety. When journalists raised a fuss, they were generally dismissed as naïve goo-goos. In short, no one really considered the shortage of experienced oversight at Logan Airport to be much of a problem. Until it was too late.

Del Dolemonte on August 3, 2011 at 11:08 AM

I’m going through Logan next week…I’ll report on how it goes if I go through the new process.

JohnTant on August 3, 2011 at 11:10 AM

If they hire new, professional, intelligent screeners, it could work.

Most of the existing gov’t payroll deadbeats are too inept and lazy for them to make this system effective.

hawksruleva on August 3, 2011 at 11:11 AM

Well, He talks about how human intensive and so forth it is. But something he does not realize is that in America we have a much less dense population that we would have targeted for these procedures. Unless we expand it to include people of all religions and all races, as we have with the current system, only about 2 to 3% of the American transit system’s flyers would come under the solid review process. It will take a while to build up databases and go through many of these people, but long run, it gets easier as time goes by. If new threats arise, they can be added to the existing targeted review process.

So, while Israel, who lives in the midst of, and does business with a very large percentage of those who would fall under the watchful eye of their process has a 90 minute delay with only 10 million passengers a year, America, which has a much smaller percentage of those who would fall under the full review process, spread over hundreds of airports, could easily match that 90 minutes, and likely beat it, with effectiveness, if the Politically Correct does not become our enemy.

astonerii on August 3, 2011 at 11:12 AM

And now we’re going to have “trusted” citizens vs. the other kind.

Frightening.

Drained Brain on August 3, 2011 at 11:07 AM

What is the difference between a trusted flyers list and a credit rating? A credit rating does not impugn your liberties if you don’t prove yourself to be uncreditworthy. But proving your credit worthiness does open up new lines of credit availability.

NotCoach on August 3, 2011 at 11:15 AM

This is really not much different than the questioning that goes on when you cross the border into Canada. Those border agents seem to be a bit more, um, “educated”, than the average TSA agent tho. Just sayin’.

ctmom on August 3, 2011 at 11:17 AM

NotCoach on August 3, 2011 at 11:15 AM

Credit ratings seem very arbitrary. Out of three reports two are similar one is 50 pts. higher. I have zero unsatisfactory accounts yet two agencies list that as a factor effecting my rating. It makes no sense at all.

ctmom on August 3, 2011 at 11:21 AM

NotCoach on August 3, 2011 at 10:55 AM

I tell you what- Customs has some “safe list”. Prior to 9/11 I was always pulled for screening of luggage upon return to the US despite whatever city was my entry. Since: not once in probably 50 or 60 trips.

Marcus on August 3, 2011 at 11:22 AM

NotCoach on August 3, 2011 at 11:15 AM

Because the “trusted” citizens all have TSA badges and are going to roam the country asking the rest of us for our papers and an explanation why we’re traveling?

Al in St. Lou on August 3, 2011 at 11:34 AM

This is really not much different than the questioning that goes on when you cross the border into Canada. Those border agents seem to be a bit more, um, “educated”, than the average TSA agent tho. Just sayin’.

ctmom on August 3, 2011 at 11:17 AM

When you return to the USA at a border or in US immigration in a foreign airport this is also done. Those people already have the required skills. They look you in the eye and ask Israeli-security style questions. They are at a level far above the T&A goons, unfortunately we don’t have enough of them.

slickwillie2001 on August 3, 2011 at 11:38 AM

Because the “trusted” citizens all have TSA badges and are going to roam the country asking the rest of us for our papers and an explanation why we’re traveling?

Al in St. Lou on August 3, 2011 at 11:34 AM

Define roaming the country.

Now granted, the TSA in its current form could screw this up so badly they make groping grannies look downright libertarian. But without asking simple questions and looking for queues in people’s answers what other effective methods of security screening are available?

Part of the problem here is that we have never had a serious debate about security methods in this country. Maybe my ideas are wrong. Maybe there are better less intrusive methods. But instead of poo pooing everything, what is your solution?

NotCoach on August 3, 2011 at 11:43 AM

Whew! Finally – a few hours “training” of Affirmative Action imbecile losers and now we can rest safe in the knowledge that hajib-wearing TSAers know exactly which 90+ year old wheelchair-bound nuns should be forced to submit to a full body cavity search. I feel safe now!

whatcat on August 3, 2011 at 11:49 AM

novaculus on August 3, 2011 at 11:05 AM

DING DING DING!

WE HAVE A WINNER!

Yep, I think you pretty much nailed it. This is a dog and pony show explicitly designed to set up the false narrative of “The Israeli way won’t work here. We tried it and it failed!”

Expect this to fail in some atypically spectacular fashion, followed by the outcry of “That way doesn’t work, we want more full body scans!” from the usual suspects.

wearyman on August 3, 2011 at 11:52 AM

I think they have the right idea. . . . just have the wrong workforce. I would put retired detectives and experienced ex-street cops to do the job. Guys and gals who can spot a perp a mile away due to vast experience dealing with perps! College graduates to do the interviews? C’mon. What does a BS in women’s studies qualify somebody to spot a potential terrorist. This is an utter joke and more ‘security theater” brought to you by your tax dollars.

kens on August 3, 2011 at 12:02 PM

Three thoughts:

1) Notice that none of the people that are questioned (at least in this video) look like they are from the Middle East or a Muslim? Unnecessary harrasment.

2) This just adds more insult to injury without performing a background check. Not surprised that it’s happening in liberal Boston.

3) For people, like me, that are plagued with guilt about everything, they’ll be getting the body cavity search when the thought that they should have packed better.

Glad I don’t feel compelled to visit that city any more.

shick on August 3, 2011 at 12:02 PM

novaculus on August 3, 2011 at 11:05 AM

Yep, I think you pretty much nailed it. This is a dog and pony show explicitly designed to set up the false narrative of “The Israeli way won’t work here. We tried it and it failed!”
wearyman on August 3, 2011 at 11:52 AM

I think y’all may be overestimating the intelligence of the TSA there. I’m not sure that a conspiracy theory is needed, the TSA is incredibly naive and moronic enough to actually believe it will accomplish something.

whatcat on August 3, 2011 at 12:03 PM

I think they have the right idea. . . . just have the wrong workforce. I would put retired detectives and experienced ex-street cops to do the job. Guys and gals who can spot a perp a mile away due to vast experience dealing with perps! College graduates to do the interviews? C’mon. What does a BS in women’s studies qualify somebody to spot a potential terrorist. This is an utter joke and more ‘security theater” brought to you by your tax dollars.

kens on August 3, 2011 at 12:02 PM

Now, there’s the “winnner” (dingdingding!) – except for the reference to degreed TSAers. It would seem to me that most of those dimwits could barely pass a GED test, if even that. The Israeli’s do not entrust national safety to total idiots, as we do here with the TSA.

whatcat on August 3, 2011 at 12:09 PM

NotCoach on August 3, 2011 at 11:43 AM

I guess it all depends on exactly who the TSA hires for these expanded VIPR teams, how they’re trained, and whether they’re confined to mass transportation terminals. Maybe my imagination is running while, but it seem to me like it would be too easy for the current incompetents to get minimal training and eventually be sent out to form checkpoints in KGB style.

Al in St. Lou on August 3, 2011 at 12:13 PM

Because the “trusted” citizens all have TSA badges and are going to roam the country asking the rest of us for our papers and an explanation why we’re traveling?

Al in St. Lou on August 3, 2011 at 11:34 AM

Define roaming the country.

Now granted, the TSA in its current form could screw this up so badly they make groping grannies look downright libertarian. But without asking simple questions and looking for queues in people’s answers what other effective methods of security screening are available?

Part of the problem here is that we have never had a serious debate about security methods in this country. Maybe my ideas are wrong. Maybe there are better less intrusive methods. But instead of poo pooing everything, what is your solution?

NotCoach on August 3, 2011 at 11:43 AM

Here you go: Documents Reveal TSA Research Proposal To Body-Scan Pedestrians, Train Passengers

Now the goons say “if you don’t want to deal with the T&A, don’t fly.” Why can’t they say “if you don’t want to deal with the T&A, stay off the government’s streets”? Is there really any difference there?

slickwillie2001 on August 3, 2011 at 12:23 PM

TSA testing Israeli-style screening program in Boston

It would if we locked up all of the ACLU lawyers.

Speakup on August 3, 2011 at 12:25 PM

I flew in and out of Israel twice in the last 2 months and here are my personal experiences re: airport security there. I’m someone who’s lived in Israel as a child for 7 years, so I’m familiar with the culture there.

1) Israelis have no patience. If they have to spend time in a line they will walk up to the security people’s face and complain – very rudely too. There is no fear of authority there.

2) During my security check I personally witnessed a man whose items were being put through an x-ray machine joking with the agent about having a bomb in his bag. The agent laughed at the man’s joke instead of detaining him. Why? Because he could see the guy was joking. Common sense.

3) Even though I had an Israeli passport and spoke imperfect Hebrew, I was still “grilled” by the agents, most of whom are beautiful women in their mid-late 20s. They kept asking me these seemingly unrelated questions, just rapid-firing them at me to see if I give them a weird response or get all nervous.

4) The agents there don’t give a rat’s tail about your liquids or belts. I put my 2-litre coke bottle through the x-ray machine, picked it up, and took it with me all the way to the airplane.

This approach was super fast and super efficient. I was actually dreading my European airport security checks (connecting flights), because they have American style security, not Israeli style, where they would make me take off my belt and shoes, and make me throw my coke bottle away, and the wait would be longer… in fact when the time came I was thinking “these people [European airport screeners] are so primitive with these idiotic security methods”.

To reiterate, Israelis prefer this style of security not JUST because it’s safer (believe it or not people in Israel don’t think about security 24/7. They think about regular everyday things instead). They prefer this method because it’s quicker and more efficient.

Ed’s assertion that Americans would “have to be really scared” to accept these airport screening methods is wrong… I hope… because I want all airports worldwide to implement them.

Additionally, checking everyone so thoroughly the way it’s done in America shows that the Americans are more scared than the Israelis – otherwise, why would you be so thorough with every wheelchair-bound grandma? Having the “interview” approach, and trusting it, would indicate confidence.

AlexB on August 3, 2011 at 12:35 PM

TSA can go to hell. I don’t want them feeling me up or racially profiling. Give the task to private companies who can actually be held accountable.

ReformedAndDangerous on August 3, 2011 at 12:52 PM

Ed’s assertion that Americans would “have to be really scared” to accept these airport screening methods is wrong… I hope… because I want all airports worldwide to implement them.
AlexB on August 3, 2011 at 12:35 PM

I believe Ed noted that it’s the mostly the personnel that TSA has to work with that’s the problem. No common sense at all, unlike the procedure you’ve detailed. I suspect a detail of fidgety, angry flying-imams jackass types would be merit a good looksee by Israeli screeners before boarding.

whatcat on August 3, 2011 at 1:22 PM

AlexB on August 3, 2011 at 12:35 PM

I appreciate your input.

shick on August 3, 2011 at 1:24 PM

I don’t want them feeling me up or racially profiling.
ReformedAndDangerous on August 3, 2011 at 12:52 PM

The problem is that they don’t profile and feel up the people of whom they should be suspicious. As I said, common sense is not in play.

whatcat on August 3, 2011 at 1:25 PM

I have one more observation.
This “Israeli style” interview is done in Canada too… for all arrivals going through the passport check.

I don’t see why it can be done to arrivals but not to departures. It’s the same thing.

AlexB on August 3, 2011 at 1:41 PM

I would only stop that young man to ask for his number (pretty cute)…But in all seriousness he’s right: it is none of their business where he is going or where he has been.

RDE2010 on August 3, 2011 at 1:56 PM

Will it work? No. But that’s not the problem.

Is what they’re doing now working? No (they miss a lot of weapons, test bombs, etc with their current plan).

Is asking me some questions and observing my actions in the airport less invasive than x-rays through my clothes and grabbing my junk? Um, yeah. I’m good with professional “people-watching” even if you’re looking for terrorists not fun people to watch.

Since neither is going to be highly effective (given the people the TSA is going to use) lets go with the choice that is less intrusive and offensive.

gekkobear on August 3, 2011 at 2:02 PM

A $1 Billion program. Look at people, and figure out who the threat is. That is a big change. Before they spent the $1 Billion, the thing is, we had a Government approved version of this program on September 11th 2001. Unfortunately, it turned out that the Terrorists had in fact packed their own bags and were able to bypass this security checkpoint.

Snake307 on August 3, 2011 at 3:01 PM

Israelis have no qualms about profiling as part of this process.

That’s only because they’re not stupid. Apparently we have liberal sensitive hearts here who would rather go down in flames with loved ones with the thought, while the ground quickly approaches, that at least they didn’t annoy any Muslims with profiling.

I think the Israeli system can work here, even though it may take a number of years. But we can’t simply employ all of the current TSA, nor set it up at every little airport. The staff would have to be highly intelligent, educated and well trained like that of the Israelis, which might raise “disparate impact” problems. As it is we are not allowed the best & brightest police and fire departments we can have because of “disparate impact”/”racial discrimination”. But maybe we will no longer have to put with this kind of insanity once the obmanation is out after 2012.

I say we go for it and stop feeling up little kids and grandma to keep the Muslims happy.

Chessplayer on August 3, 2011 at 3:34 PM

The quesiton should be; Why is big sis doing this now?

How about she knows that it is a matter of when, not if, that passengers will fail to prevent a terroist they failed to detect, from carrying out their desired destruction. When that happens, the Israelis system will be thrown up and compared to the TSA. Worse, if it happens during Obama’s campaigning, he will have no deniablity to his TSA agency’s failure. Adding at least the pretense of an Israelis layer of protection would add some cover for both the TSA and Obama and deflect some of the argument of a TSA to Israelis system comparision.

Could an Israelis system work here is the question. The answer is best illistrated with one of the methods of advertizing for employees by the TSA; on pizza boxes. That is squarely aimed at those with limited job and higher thinking skills. The enticement of having Xray vision targets those with low moral integrety, such as the sexual deviants and child molestors. Gone is the old days of working in a school, daycare or being a camp counselor all fraught with risk, for the child molestors. In now is the TSA, with no fear of punishment for molesting even while the hapless parent watches.
The Israelis system requires people with higher level thinking skill usually obtained by those who have gone to college or by individuals able to learn those skills with training. Without the higher level thinking skills the terroist would have nothing to fear of the Israelis.

Creating a TSA that used the Israelis method here or even a modification to fit out circumstances is not likely to be fesiable. It is not that we do not have the people who posess those skills and could be hired, it is that the TSA can not hire them exclusively, even if they desired to do so, which would not be likely, because of political correct and affirmative action requirements. There is the additional requirement of the unions which depend on members that at least support a socialist attitude. Those with higher level thinking skills would not be as likely to do so. Additionally the Israelis system begins with the ticket agent who sells the ticket or begins the process. TSA would have to take over the selling or processing the tickets.

An additional hinderance is already a problem for the TSA; training. They do not have the time or funding to train its employees once they are envolved with the job. Training is provided, but it is up to the employee to find the time to do it on a computer. The employees word that it was done is confirmation of the training. In other words, training being provided is only to sooth the public concerns. Training to use the Israelis system, even if desired would never be possible.

The only solution would be to do away with the TSA, all its employees,its union and begin fresh with college level or equiviliant agents, hopefully with morals. That is not likely to happen anytime soon, especially because those fitting that discription are currently labled domestic terroist.

Franklyn on August 3, 2011 at 4:05 PM

Drained Brain on August 3, 2011 at 10:21 AM

I guess you’d rather have your balls squeezed. I went through Israeli security, and if you don’t have your knickers in a freaking twist about it, it amounts to a short conversation. Is this your first trip to Israel? Where are you going to stay, and what do you plan to do? How’s your Hebrew, can you say anything in Hebrew? Etc. And she responded normally to my answers, “Oh, you’re going to love that neighborhood, etc,” “See, your Hebrew isn’t so bad,” and so forth. Of course the cute little Israeli gal who administered my “interview” was welcome to do a more invasive search, but I apparently passed with flying colors.

smellthecoffee on August 3, 2011 at 4:26 PM

Drained Brain on August 3, 2011 at 10:21 AM
I guess you’d rather have your balls squeezed. I went through Israeli security, and if you don’t have your knickers in a freaking twist about it, it amounts to a short conversation. Is this your first trip to Israel? Where are you going to stay, and what do you plan to do? How’s your Hebrew, can you say anything in Hebrew? Etc. And she responded normally to my answers, “Oh, you’re going to love that neighborhood, etc,” “See, your Hebrew isn’t so bad,” and so forth. Of course the cute little Israeli gal who administered my “interview” was welcome to do a more invasive search, but I apparently passed with flying colors.

smellthecoffee on August 3, 2011 at 4:26 PM

good post. However, that cute Isreali girl is most likely a Krav Maga asskicker…

Odie1941 on August 3, 2011 at 4:31 PM

Mmmm, kick away, baby. She was FINE!

smellthecoffee on August 3, 2011 at 4:36 PM

Drained Brain on August 3, 2011 at 10:21 AM

Yes.
I take it you didn’t bother to find out how the Israeli system works.
Aside from the obvious (I have a gun/bomb whatever) the answer given is irrelevant.

“if they don’t like the answers or if you fit a profile that indicates a higher risk, you get routed to”

This is not exactly correct, “if they don’t like the answers”, the answer given is irrelevant, what is relevant is “how” you answer the question.
The agents asking or listening to the “how” you answer the question is called a “polyglot agents”. Most (above 90%) of the “polyglot agents” are female.

It’s based on the belief that males ask questions listen to the answer and react to what is said, females ask questions and listen to HOW the question is answered, the actual answer is irrelevant.
Females “read people” differently than men.

I’m sure this is completely sexist and if the ACLU (All Criminals Love Us) knew what was going on during these interrogations they would blow a gasket.

DSchoen on August 3, 2011 at 5:10 PM

A simpler version of this is implemented in the Geneva airport, and it’s no big fanfare.

Prufrock on August 3, 2011 at 5:36 PM