Specifically, current definitions and limitations in the area of profiling make it impossible to implement the types of policies and precautions such as those that have proven successful in Israel. According to acknowledged U.S. (Larsen, 2007) and international experts (Hoffman, 2003) in aviation security, the entire approach of screening passengers (1) randomly and (2) only after they set foot onto airport property is not an effective way of preventing terrorism against aviation. By contrast, in Israel, Mossad agents have the authority to question any passenger scheduled for departure on El-Al, Israels national airline that was once the worlds most targeted airline for terrorists (Hoffman, 2003).
Their agents are trained to recognize behavioral cues consistent with possible criminal intent. Vehicles approaching Israeli airports are screened long before they reach airport; Mossad agents conduct preliminary investigations immediately after passengers book flights; and civil rights are not so broad as to limit the authority of the state to conduct reasonable informal interviews pursuant to the trained perceptions and concerns of counterterrorism officers (Hoffman, 2003).
Unfortunately, in the U.S., vehicles are not screened before they enter airport property, and any implementation of secondary security screening must, by law, be the product of random selection. Virtually all security enhancement efforts in U.S. airports rely on the methodology of identifying terrorist tools rather than terrorists. Ultimately, it is unlikely that even the most sophisticated equipment for that approach will enable U.S. authorities to achieve their mission (Larsen, 2007).
Hoffman, Bruce. “The Logic of Suicide Terrorism: Lessons from Israel that America
Must Learn.” The Atlantic Monthly. 2003: 40-47.
Kelly, Ian. U.S. Department of State. On-the-Record Briefing; Washington, DC
December 28, 2009. Retrieved June 21, 2010 from:
Larsen, Randall. Our Own Worst Enemy: Asking the Right Questions About Security to Protect You, Your Family, and America. New York: Grand Central Publishing..