Compromised airline security is not just about facial identification...
Reader comment on item: Niqab Security Outrages at Airports
Submitted by Miriam (United States), Aug 4, 2010 at 11:52
Although you are undoubtedly aware of it, your current post did not emphasize this point. There are numerous security threats that will not set off an airline metal detector when a passenger walks through it. When someone wears a jilbab/burqa through security, there is no way to see what is possibly concealed underneath. A friend of mine (US passport, no security risk) had the temerity to wear a long skirt when traveling to CA (near the Mexican border) and was given a thorough secondary search and pat down of her body, due to the concealing cut of her garment and concerns about smuggling. The issue of concealment of items under a jilbab/burqa and bringing them onto planes is as much a security threat as the problem of identification.
The obvious solution is a removal of the outer clothing and pat down of any person wearing a voluminous or concealing garment (as men and women are commonly requested to remove coats, sweaters, jackets and suit jackets) - this could be done in private by female security personell. There are not enough people travelling clad in jilbab/burqa to make this a burden on airplane security, protestations to the contrary aside. Failing to do so is a clear lapse of proper procedure.
(Btw, let's keep in mind that the most vulnerable security location with large numbers of unsearched and unidentified people is the airport security line itself. God forbid the day the terrorists take advantage of this.)
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