How to Improve US Security Against
the Danger of Further Terrorist Strikes
by David T. Pyne, Esq., Columnist and Legal Analyst
July 25, 2002
The suicide bombings of September 11, 2001 changed America forever. We will never forget the harrowing spectacle of the Twin Towers crashing and crumbling to the ground costing the lives of over 3000 innocent American civilians. Nor will we soon forget seeing the Pentagon, the very symbol of the US defense establishment on fire and the 79 Department of Defense personnel who perished as a result of the suicide bombing there.
The Bush Administration has used the 9-11 bombings as a pretext to begin the creation of a powerful new Department of Homeland Security, which will centralize an unprecedented amount of power in a single agency and threatens to infringe upon the constitutional rights of all Americans to a degree previously unthinkable. The Administration has instigated tough new security measures designed to reduce the chances that terrorists will be able to repeat such horrifying suicide bombings again. Chief among these measures has been the stationing of National Guard troops at airport security checkpoints armed with automatic rifles and a multitude of security agents at metal detector stations and elsewhere throughout the airport. While the National Guard troops have finally been withdrawn and replaced by police officers, the seemingly never-ending harassment of law-abiding citizens by airport security personnel remains.
We have all suffered from these indignities and invasions of privacy every time we have to fly on a commercial passenger jet. Our bags are searched for bombs. Our belts and shoes are removed while they check for weapons and explosives. Our military and combat veterans who have literally spent decades putting their lives at risk defending their country so that all Americans might remain safe and free are harassed and treated as if they were criminal suspects. Our 80 year old grandmothers and former Vice Presidents like Dan Quayle and Al Gore are frisked and detained for five to ten minutes by airport security personnel while young men of Arab descent and 9-11 suicide bomber look-alikes sail though the metal detectors and are accordingly exempted from further security checks. In a couple of particularly absurd incidents earlier this month that vividly demonstrate what's wrong with our current airport security policy, my nine-month old baby girl was wanded at Dulles International Airport to see if she was rigged to a bomb and my other two daughters, aged five and two, had their hands swiped to check for explosive residue at Salt Lake City Airport to see if their hands had been in contact with explosives. While no American minds the implementation of reasonable airport security measures which actually contribute to increased safety, this bizarre security practice of treating babies and toddlers like suspected suicide bombers should represent an insult to the good sensibilities of all Americans.
Several months after the implementation of all these additional security measures, U.S. Airport security is badly broken. A recent security check of our airport security revealed that between 40-50% of the weapons, which they attempted to smuggle past security and onto our airliners went undetected. Would be terrorists trained to beat the metal-detectors with non-metallic weapons and explosives would not likely be detected by our current security measures and could very well succeed in conducting further terrorists strikes using civilian passenger jets here in the US. Ten months after 9-11, we find out that Saudi nationals have been accorded special treatment by the US State Department and are permitted to procure visas at "Visa Express" travel agencies without any interview or background checks whatsoever even though 15 of the 19 9-11 suicide bombers were Saudi nationals. This indefensible policy was cancelled mere days ago.
How could the terrorists have succeeded in perpetrating such a dastardly deed as the Twin Tower suicide bombings? More to the point, how did they get into the country in the first place? These pose disturbing questions for all Americans. The US has some of the most lax border security and immigration laws of any country in the world. We are told that tens of thousands of terrorists suspects remain in the US, but these terror suspects are rarely detained or questioned by US law enforcement and authorities, let alone expelled from the country, but are instead merely watched, tracked, and followed as some of the suspicious 9-11 terrorists may have been. A poll conducted months after the 9-11 attacks revealed that a large majority of US citizens, over 60% in fact, would support a ban on all immigration to the US for the duration of the war on terror, but US politicians lack the political courage to implement such sound policy. The terrorists succeeded in their suicide bombings because the pilots of these aircraft did not have guns to defend themselves and the passengers of their aircraft. Despite this fact, Governor Ridge has declared that the Office of Homeland Security, which he directs, will not change their policy of forbidding the carrying of defensive arms by pilots, even though many of them are former military personnel. This inexcusable policy should be reversed.
In order to learn how to conduct effective airport security, we need to learn from the pros. At a recent dinner I attended with representatives of the Israeli Ministry of Defense, I raised this issue with some senior Israeli officials. You see, the Israelis do their security very differently. Rather than harassing old grannies and wanding babies and checking them for guns and bombs, they engage in criminal profiling and look for people who meet the profile for terrorists. They keep these criminal profiles confidential and they are subject to change at any time by the perpetration of further criminal terrorist and suicide bombing attacks. As a result, Israeli airlines have been free of terrorist incidents for nearly thirty years, even now at the height of the second Palestinian intefada. America needs to follow the Israeli example by discarding its politically correct inhibition against criminal profiling, stop harassing law-abiding citizens including the elderly and little children and start looking for terrorists for a change. Only then, will Americans find real security and true peace of mind. ***
© 2002 David T. Pyne
David T. Pyne, Esq. is a national security expert who works as an International Programs Manager in the Department of the Army responsible for the countries of the former Soviet Union and the Middle East among others. He is also a licensed attorney and former Army Reserve Officer. In addition, he holds an MA in National Security Studies from Georgetown University. Mr. Pyne currently serves as Executive Vice President of the Virginia Republican Assembly. He is also a member of the Center for Emerging National Security Affairs based in Washington, D.C. Mr. Pyne serves as a columnist for American-Partisan.com , OpinioNet.net and America's Voices. He is also a regular contributor for Patriotist.com. In addition, his articles have appeared on Etherzone.com, Sierratimes.com, OriginalDissent.com and AmericanReformation.org where he serves as a national security policy analyst.
COPYRIGHT © 2002 BY THE AMERICAN PARTISAN. All writers retain rights to their work.