Tags: Say | Ain't | So; | Mineta | Should | Go!

Say It Ain't So; Mineta Should Go!

Thursday, 09 December 2004 12:00 AM

The holiday travel period is a good reminder of just how far we still need to go when it comes to airline security in a post-9/11 world, and although Mineta’s power has been largely usurped by the Department of Homeland Security, it was he who set the mindset for the post-9/11 world.

There have been several significant developments in airline security in the last few months. None bode well.

First, what was touted as a passenger profiling system was instituted at Logan International Airport in Boston (from which two of the four airlines involved on 9/11 departed) really doesn’t profile; yet it has drawn its first lawsuit.

The ACLU – surprise, surprise – maintains that the new system relies on race and ethnicity. I wish! Unfortunately, the architect of the new system, state police Sgt. Peter DiDominica, has gone to great lengths to say that those factors which united the 19 on 9/11 - race, gender, religion, ethnicity and appearance – will not be relied upon. Go figure.

Second, the FBI agent who authored the pre-9/11 memo now known as the “Phoenix Memo” – a recommendation that the State Department coordinate with the FBI so that flight students from Middle Eastern countries could be investigated – has now said that there was concern over racial profiling that stopped action on his recommendation.

Ken Williams is the FBI agent who wrote the memo dated July 10, 2001, and he offered those sentiments in his first-ever interview, given to the Arizona Republic, as he was receiving an award from war veterans.

Third, the TSA has instituted new policies on body searches that involve “use of the back of the hand when screening sensitive body areas, which include the breasts (females only) genitals and buttocks.” In other words, we’re still looking for bombs, not bombers.

There is lots of talk at this time of year about the administration re-establishing priorities. Unfortunately, there is not enough discussion about airport and border security. Maybe Bernard Kerik will end the nonsense. What I do know is that now is the perfect opportunity to set the stage for a more aggressive posture with regard to our enemy.

And just to be safe, I’ve come up with a few questions that should be used at the Senate confirmation hearings for any prospective secretaries who will play a role in the war on terror:

“Mr./Ms. Secretary-designate, do you acknowledge that the war on terror is a war against radical Islam?

Mr./Ms. Secretary-designate, would you agree that the 19 hijackers on 9/11 were all associated with radical Islam?

And that they had their race, gender, religion, ethnicity and appearance in common?

And that in looking for those who would emulate the 19 on 9/11, we should be mindful of that which those individuals had in common?

Even if some call that profiling?”

Only a “yes, yes, yes, yes and yes” are acceptable.

102-102-104

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The holiday travel period is a good reminder of just how far we still need to go when it comes to airline security in a post-9/11 world, and although Mineta's power has been largely usurped by the Department of Homeland Security, it was he who set the mindset for the...
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Thursday, 09 December 2004 12:00 AM
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