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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

70% of Americans want Israeli-style airport security

A new survey done by the Langer Group for the Washington Post and ABC News has found that an astounding 70% of Americans want TSA to use the 'profiling' methods used at Israel's Ben Gurion Airport, even though those methods have always been rejected by Americans until now as 'discriminatory.' This is from the first link (the original poll results).
As another tool in airport security efforts, this poll finds broad support for passenger profiling – but with that support heavily dependent on profile elements. Eighty-six percent say personal behavior should be a factor, and 78 percent say a passenger’s travel history should be included in his or her security profile. Fewer, but 55 percent, favor including a passenger’s nationality, and half would include his or her personal appearance.

Other potential elements, however, garner majority opposition as elements to include in a security profile. Fifty-nine percent oppose using a passenger’s race or religion, and 65 percent say sex should not be a factor.

There are differences among groups, with profiling generally winning more support from Republicans, conservatives, men and whites, as well as, naturally, among those who see security as a higher national priority than protecting privacy rights. But there are commonalities as well; racial profiling, for instance, is opposed by six in 10 whites and non-whites alike.
YNet (the third link above) adds:
In the past, Americans vetoed the security system used at Ben Gurion Airport claiming it casts suspicion on one sector in an inclusive fashion, namely, against Arabs and Muslims. White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs explained on Monday that the reason US authorities refused to adopt Israeli methods was because "Israel has one international airport and we have 450 of them that makes all the difference".

And yet, it seems that the American public disagrees. A Washington Post and ABC network poll revealed that 70% of Americans support adopting the Israeli profiling system and its implementation in US airports.
I don't buy the 'too many airports' and 'too many passengers' arguments. With what the US government is spending on the full body scanners ($1 billion) it could hire and train a lot of bright Americans - many of whom are out of work anyway - and have airport security that looks for terrorists rather than things, is more effective, and is less personally invasive to ordinary citizens.

The poll also shows that 64% of Americans approve of the full body scanner, a steep decline of 17% in the last week (admittedly that may be somewhat inaccurate since last week's poll was done by CBS), and that more than half of all Americans think that the 'enhanced patdowns' go too far. And frequent fliers are even less supportive of the new measures. This is from the Washington Post (the second link above):
Two factors behind the public's reaction to the new airport-screening procedures: Few Americans fly regularly and their concern about the risk of terrorism on commercial aircraft remains muted.

Just 15 percent of those polled say they travel by plane every few months. Most say they fly less than once a year or never. Sixty-six percent say the risk of terrorism on airplanes is not that great.

Those who say they take flights at least once every year are less supportive of the new scanners than those who rarely or never fly, although most still like the idea. By 54 percent to 43 percent, those who fly at least once annually say the pat-down procedure goes too far.

One area where fliers and non-fliers agree is in their support for use of profiling at airports, where the TSA would single out specific people for extra screening based on available information. About seven in 10 in both groups back the idea.
In nine years, the TSA has not caught a single terrorist nor has it prevented any of the terror attacks that have been attempted against the US in that time. That may say it all.

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At 7:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

52% of Americans voted for Obama.

Proving - once again - that the majority of Americans are consistent in their ignorance of important facts and issues.

At 10:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

dont buy the argument if you dont want

will people choose to pay a premium from 100-200 dollars more a ticket and come to the airport 3 hours early in order to have israeli style security?

and shy guy...are you honestly saying that mccain would have made a better prez?


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