So, we're learning that the CIA caught another underwear bomber. This one had a device which some in the TSA have said would not have been detected by airport screening. This comes after information about a new bombing technique of implanted bombs- bombs surgically inserted into the bomber's body cavities. It is becoming clear that no purely technological innovation will be enough to prevent future bombings.
So what do we do?
Readers of this blog know that I despise the ever-growing Police State in which we live. I do not think the current airport screening procedures make us any safer, and I hate that the TSA and DHS are looking at imposing them on buses and trains. What next, random stops for cars?
It is time to take a serious, grown-up look at profiling. Not "racial" profiling, because false positives can eventually lead to false negatives (you do remember "The Boy Who Cried 'Wolf'," yes?). So not profiling based on race, but on behavior. A relatively young man, flying alone, who purchased his ticket 24 hours or less in advance is far more suspicious than a grandmother traveling with her grand kids on a flight they booked two months ago.
Well reasoned, well implemented behavioral profiling is not easy to do. And it is not a panacea. However, it is far more effective than strip-searching four-year-olds, and it can be done. Contrariwise, the continued growth of the technological police state does not provide the "promised" security, and does invade the privacy of innocent citizens. Not to mention the horrors inflicted on too many passengers by the TSA.
The biggest obstacle to reasonable behavior profiling is, of course, the Left. For reasons I do not even pretend to understand, the American Left will stand solidly with the likes of CAIR and other, more overtly Islamist, organizations in claiming that any profiling is "racial" or "religious" in nature. Even bring up the idea and they seem to burst into flames.
Despite the rhetoric, and despite the inflammatory remarks, this is a discussion we must have. We must honestly consider profiling, and we must have a mature, grown-up dialog about it. To do any less is to continue to give away our Liberty in pursuit of false hopes of security.