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The argument over profiling is more disheartening than the failure to profile

Reader comment on item: Time to Profile Airline Passengers?

Submitted by Sully (United States), Aug 22, 2006 at 14:52

Profiling has obvious flaws as a lone method of preventing terrorism because there are clearly workarounds that the terrorists can use, such as recruitment of native westerners and training of non-native muslims to pass as westerners or avoid obvious telltales which can be picked up by screeners.

But it is hard to credit the opposition to profiling with good faith in this matter because such workarounds also carry significant costs to the terrorists in security and freedom of action.

Recruitment of westerners clearly opens the terrorists to the risk of infiltration by FBI plants. Training of many non-native muslims to pass as westerners and also to avoid obvious telltales means adding new layers of training and extending training time to an opeartion schedule which is already vulnerable to potential penetration and betrayal. All three of these factors work against large scale operations such as 9/11 which involved 19 hijackers.

Also, we are not primarily dealing with intelligent, cold, rational, long committed killers here. Many of the suicide bombers are apparently flawed personalities who will not be amenable to easy and effective training on a definable schedule.


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