Is the TSA Moving Toward an Israeli Security Model?

By Jeffrey Goldberg

Josh Gerstein reports that TSA chief John Pistole is planning to increase the level of passenger-profiling, in the Israeli style:

Pistole declined to elaborate on the enhanced behavior detection program but said it would "probably" be announced in August. During an on-stage interview with CNN's Jeanne Meserve, Pistole acknowledged that the Israeli techniques have been carefully examined.

"There's a lot--under that Israeli model--a lot that is done that is obviously very effective," he said. However, critics have said the Israeli program is too time consuming to use consistently at U.S. airports and may involve a degree of religious and racial profiling that would draw controversy in the U.S.

Pistole also said TSA is planning to test out some new methods for screening children in the wake of highly-publicized videos of children screaming as they were patted down at airport checkpoints. The TSA chief said adults have used children as suicide bombers before in other contexts and could do so through an airport, but there may still be better ways to screen kids.

I tend to think that American airline passengers will find objectionable the sort of questioning travelers to and from Israel experience. For whatever reason, most Americans don't seem to mind the stick-em-up backscatter machine. But questions about who they are, where they're going, why they're going, who they know where they're going -- these sorts of questions, I predict, would cause widespread resentment. As well as huge back-ups at overtaxed security checkpoints.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2011/07/is-the-tsa-moving-toward-an-israeli-security-model/242735/