Thursday, December 29, 2005

The ACLU Doesn't Care About National Security

The TSA is implementing a new policy to train screeners to flush out terrorists through casual conversation:
Security screeners at 40 major airports across the country will be trained next year to use casual conversation to flush out possible terrorists.

The Transportation Security Administration will first teach screeners what suspicious behaviors to look for in travelers. These can include nervousness, wearing a big coat in the summer or reluctance to make eye contact with law enforcement. Then, the screener will quiz passengers on their travel plans in hopes of spotting possible terrorists.

The security technique, called behavior detection or behavior-pattern recognition, is already in place at several major airports, including those in Boston, Los Angeles, Chicago, Detroit, Miami and Houston. Behavior detection is a common practice among police officers and customs agents, who often engage arriving passengers they suspect in more detailed conversation. But the proposed program that will be put in place at airport security checkpoints nationwide adds a psychological dimension to the screening process.

To most, this program will sound like a something that should have been implemented a long time ago when the TSA was first created. In other words, sensible people will think this is a very resourceful and successful way of targeting and capturing terrorists.

But the ACLU is not a sensible organization:
The American Civil Liberties Union has warned that the screening technique could result in racial profiling.

"This is a code word for targeting brown-skinned males between ages 17 and 45 years. It's not only racial profiling, it's ethnic profiling," said Timothy Sparapani, who oversees privacy rights for the ACLU.

It isn't that the ACLU thinks that national security profiling should only be based on behavior-- and not race, ethnicity, religion, etc.-- but that the ACLU does not want profiling of any kind.

This is an extremely precarious position to take.

Profiling in general has been around since law enforcement was created. That's because profiling works. You can't just go around randomly selecting people and hope that every so often you catch a criminal. You look around for those who are most likely to be committing crimes, and your chances of catching people up to illegal activity goes up exponentially.

But if the ACLU were to have its way, our law enforcement officials would be prevented from profiling of any kind. This effectively blinds the TSA in catching terrorists, and handcuffs TSA workers from doing their job.

As a result, national security is severely at risk, all at the hands of the ACLU. The ACLU does not care about protecting Americans from terrorism, it would rather we do nothing at all.