Travelers looking for an explanation for the idiocy of the TSA full-body scans and intimate pat downs are missing the boat if they think TSA employees are a group of voyeurs or just plain stupid. There is a method to the madness.
The TSA madness is a logical expression of political correctness carried into the realm of national security. These new TSA practices do not make travelers safer, but they do something more important to the federal bureaucracy. They satisfy the politically correct mandate, “Thou shalt not profile.”
Since TSA must avoid “profiling” at all costs, they must treat everyone – literally everyone – as a potential terrorist. This makes no sense as a security measure, but it makes a lot of sense if your primary goal is to avoid lawsuits for “profiling.” In the TSA world, profiling is the cardinal sin, even if it is the rational way to identify likely terrorists.
To be fair, profilophobia did not start with TSA. It’s been with us for decades. However, we can thank TSA for spotlighting the malaise in a very dramatic fashion. Thanks to TSA, every American now understands the consequences of political correctness run amok.
Profiling travelers would require constructing a statistical profile of the most likely terrorist culprits based on history of such behavior and credible intelligence reports. That is the practice in Israel, which has a pretty good record in thwarting terrorist plots against airports and travelers.
Tens of millions of travelers understand what is going on. They know how unproductive and indeed counterproductive the new TSA practices are in terms of their avowed purpose. Americans will put up with a lot of inconvenience in the name of enhanced security if they can see some logical reason for it. In the case of TSA, there is no logical relationship between national security and groping a three-year-old or a 65-year-old veteran on crutches.
This is why Americans are outraged by these new procedures. They know instinctively that they are being conned in the name of political correctness, and they do not like it.
This particular manifestation of political correctness is especially distasteful because it affects millions in a very public and inescapable way, and secondly because the remedy is so obvious even Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano can understand it: profiling. So, why does TSA resists profiling?
Ordinary Americans understand that profiling is a behavioral science, not a tool of racial oppression as the ACLU and federal Homeland Security lawyers would have us believe. To be effective, the profile of a potential terrorist must be statistically accurate. The profile is based not on any single feature or behavior but a combination of factors. Employing the profiling tool requires training and typically is used on only a small percentage of travelers, not everyone passing through the gate.
In truth, all law enforcement agencies worldwide use some form of profiling in routine police work. Law enforcement would be fatally hampered if all profiling were prohibited. Yet, somehow, profiling is forbidden when it comes to airline travel. Why? Could it be that the statistically and scientifically valid profile of a likely terrorist would necessarily take into account the fact that at least 99 percent of the terrorist acts carried out against travelers over the past 20 years have been by individuals of the Islamic faith? Americans are asking: Why must we say this in a whisper?
What is clear from the new TSA policies is that our federal government places more weight on not offending persons of the Islamic faith than on actually improving the safety of air travel. Political correctness now officially trumps national security as a priority for TSA employees and the Department of Homeland Security.
Such follies have ramifications far beyond air travel. The effects of political correctness are rampant in the Border Patrol, the FBI and local law enforcement as well, and no one will be surprised that it is the religion of preference among higher education faculty.
What can be done about it? A nation of sheep will have one answer, and a nation of robust citizens will have a different answer. Regrettably, the jury is still out.