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More on Airport Searches

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Some more opinions on the airport search controversy.

Debra Saunders, self-described "token conservative" at the SF Chron, has this column.  On the Chron's site, it is titled, "TSA pat-downs prove it - Americans are whiners."  Elsewhere on the Net, the same column is titled, "Not TSA Pat-Downs, but Freedom Fondles."  Remember "freedom fries"?  Saunders disagrees with those who claim that profiling is a complete answer to intrusive searches, particularly Ann Coulter.  "In 1986 a pregnant young Irish woman named Anne Marie Murphy was planning on flying to Israel to meet her fiance's parents. Little did she know the fiance had hidden plastic explosives in her suitcase. Israeli security stopped what would have been a horrific terrorist attack because they did not rely on the profile alone."  I assume that also ended the engagement.

Over at the WaPo, Jonathan Capehart has this column expressing similar sentiments. "The national debate over the full-body scanners has gotten ridiculous. The planned opt-out day on Wednesday is taking understandable concerns to an irrational extreme."

It is true that we need airport security and also true that profiling alone is not a substitute for some degree on preflight inspection.  By all means, we should continue scanning luggage and searching when necessary, as Saunders' example indicates.  But the number of people subjected to intrusive body searches could be reduced with a major expansion of the trusted traveler program.

BTW, I did a recorded interview with Pete Williams of NBC yesterday, following up on my previous post on National Opt-Out Day.  It may be on the evening news today, or it may show up as a clip on NBC-related cable shows.  I repeated both my disdain for the choice of the day of the protest and my belief that we need to focus more on people and less on objects.  What parts of the interview will actually make the air I do not know.

Update:  NBC did play a brief clip from the interview on the nightly news.  The caption beneath my name says "Conservative Activist."  I don't know where they got that.  I do not consider myself an "activist," a term that has many negative connotations in my view, and I am not an advocate for conservative causes generally, just law and order.

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I was once called a "conservative activist" in Washington Post.com because I supported the partial communtation of Scooter Libby's sentence in an op-ed the Post itself published.

At least they got the "conservative" part right.

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