Saturday, August 12, 2006

THIS Is How to Screen Passengers

....not just have silly and useless "bottle bans"

For Americans considering an end to free and easy flying in the USA, El Al provides a glimpse of what might lie ahead...

Despite their current anxieties, Americans also might balk at El Al-style ethnic profiling. [Frankly, I doubt it.] Staff scrutinize the passengers’ names, dividing them into low-risk (Israeli or foreign Jews), medium-risk (non-Jewish foreigners) and extremely high-risk travelers (anyone with an Arabic name). These people automatically are taken into a room for body and baggage checks and lengthy interrogation. Single women also are considered high-risk, for fear they might be used by Palestinian lovers to carry bombs.

To sift out who is who, screeners usually begin by asking passengers whether they understand any Hebrew, which most Jews do. Officials argue that such blatant discrimination is necessary.
... In fact, El Al’s security kicks in long before the passenger will notice. Call an El Al office in any city to book a ticket, and your name will be checked against a computer list of terrorist suspects compiled by Interpol, the FBI, Shin Bet (Israel’s intelligence service) and others.

... Once you board, up to five armed undercover agents will travel with you in strategic aisle seats, ready for attack. Furthermore, like many Israelis, cabin crews are former soldiers in the Israeli military who have received combat training. The cockpit door, of reinforced steel, is locked from the inside before passengers board and is opened only after everyone has disembarked at their destination. No matter what’s going on in the rest of the plane, it is never opened during flight.

... By El Al’s standards, my screening was light — only 10 minutes of questioning by two well-paid officials with full military training. It ended with one of them locking all the zippers on my suitcase with plastic ties.

... A lot happens behind the scenes, too. Once luggage moves from the check-in desk to the conveyer belt, it is put in a pressurized box that detonates any explosive before the bag is loaded on the plane, Dror says. No unaccompanied bags are allowed. Those bags remain behind.

Banning perfume? Nope.

Pop quiz: how many El Al flights have been hijacked in your memory? How many have been flown directly into buildings, or the ground?

GWB could do us all a favor and instruct Chertoff to install this protocol. Yah, there are a few more interrogatories than we are used to. And more Young Islamist Males in the US than in Israel. So what?

HT: Dom Bet


The Asian Badger said...

Great post, Dad. About 10 years ago, I was on an El-al flight and went through pretty much the procedures described in your post. My flight "attendent" was a knock out who was also packing a 9mm.


Dad29 said...

She'd have been even MORESO with 2 pearl-handled S&W Model 620's in .44 mag...