Wednesday, April 13, 2005

How to find the terrorists
Remember the old joke about the drunk who loses his car keys on a dark street and walks up the block to the nearest street light to look for them because it's easier to see there? The always amazing SZ at World O' Crap discovered this tid-bit by Walter E. Williams at Townhall.
Hundreds of readers responded to last week's column about airport security. These were letters from Americans who fit no terrorist profile -- airline pilots, mothers traveling with children, disabled people, elderly and other law-abiding Americans -- and yet were frisked, groped and hassled. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) behaves as if all passengers and all baggage pose an equal security threat, and that's stupid...,

Asking the question whether every passenger is a security threat is similar to a munitions manufacturer asking whether every hand grenade is good. A munitions manufacturer wouldn't pull the pin on every hand grenade to see if it was a dud. He'd devise a test, otherwise he'd bear huge costs by assuming each hand grenade had the equal probability of being a dud. Similarly, the TSA should devise a test to determine which passenger poses the higher probability of being a security threat. A good start might be to establish passenger characteristics of previous terrorist attacks.

Hmmm. That's where Mr. Williams' column ends. Let's see if we can guess which characteristics he has in mind.

The last major terrorist attack on US soil that went through an airport was conducted by 19 young, single, Muslim men on visas who commandeered commercial planes in flight and kamikazed them (or attempted to) into major American landmarks.

I'm sure Mr. Williams is smart enough to figure that the masterminds behind these attacks will know that a group of young, single, Muslim men on visas is too obvious to use again. So, what part of the pattern is still a predictable source of vulnerability that American security professionals can investigate? It must be that the flights were already in action before the terrorists acted. The course of action that big Wally is suggesting must be strip searches and thorough body cavity searches of all the passengers on any plane once the doors have been sealed and the plane is ready for take-off. Only when all air passengers have been violated by a cold rubber glove will the rest of us be safe.

Thanks for pointing that out.

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