I was not in the station 10 minutes, when my cell phone rang and on came Sean with a 32-year veteran female pilot who had been violated by a member of the TSA. How could I take sides with the violator? OK, OK, Sean, I have changed my mind. By then, I had been confronted by a whole new set of facts. One, my friend Hyman had demonstrated the follies of the TSA. It has committed egregious blunders. Two, there were new, even more barbaric ways to secrete a bomb. For one, the savage who almost killed the head of Saudi intelligence had secreted one in his -- the polite word is -- body cavity. Bombs carried in this manner could not be caught by the scanner or a team of the TSA's best. Three, there was a whole array of freedom issues here, and one could not take them lightly. This was, if not the tea party movement, at least the impulse that gave the tea party life, a love of personal liberty that is not found in many nations of the earth.
Then there was a fourth consideration. This whole controversy is unnecessary. The Israelis have found a way to avoid it and to avoid savages blowing up airplanes. It is by intelligent, non-intrusive profiling. The Israeli agent picks a suspect. The agent stands very close to the suspect and asks questions in a rapid-fire manner, preventing the suspects from considering their answers. The Israelis watch for behavioral reactions that merit further inspection. By contrast, TSA behavior detection officers' techniques are a joke.
This hang-up about profiling is at the root of our problem. It is a false piety practiced by the ancien regime. There is a whole new set of facts presented by the war on terror. It is time for Americans, with Keynes as their guide, to change their minds.
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