Counter-Terrorism: Ignoring The Obvious


June 21, 2016: In the aftermath of the June 12 th Islamic terror attack in Orlando Florida by an American Moslem there have been calls for new security measures to prevent repeat attacks. Demands that gun ownership be more strictly regulated ignores the fact that this has not prevented earlier similar Islamic terrors attacks in the United States, Europe and other areas with strict gun controls. The one method that has been proven to work is dismissed in the United States because it involves adopting the Israeli system of profiling. This means Moslems get more attention and those displaying pro-terrorist attitudes are regularly prevented from carrying out attacks. It works for Israeli airports, government facilities and places that have dancing and alcohol, something Islamic terrorists regularly attack even in majority Moslem countries. Another problem in the United States and the West is that profiling is either not allowed or not used in screening those applying for security jobs or joining the military. Thus the Moslem man who carried out the Orlando attack was subsequently found to have passed screening for an airport security job and recent warnings (to the FBI) from gun shop owners who noted his suspicious behavior were not acted on. This refusal to recognize the obvious continues in the United States, despite repeated attacks that could have been prevented if methods that work in the rest of the world were used.

Since 2001 other nations have, often reluctantly, adopted the Israeli screening methods at airports, and other places where you want to keep terrorists out. This was particularly true in Europe after 2005, in the wake of several deadly but preventable attacks. The Israeli system, called observation and questioning, has a near perfect record in keeping Israeli commercial aircraft free from terrorist attack. The system is based on the principal that anyone up to no-good will act differently than innocent people. Screeners are taught the tell-tale signs to look for, and the types of questions that will elicit a response that confirms the assessment.

The downside is that the system is time consuming. For about 90 percent of the people screened, it takes less than a minute. But for one or two percent, it can take an hour. The rest fall in between those two extremes. Airlines don’t like to delay passengers this long. The Israeli method is also labor intensive, and the labor is expensive. The preferred screeners are above-average college grads, who have to successfully complete a nine week training course. Even then, the Israeli find that most screeners only last three to five years, because of the grueling demands of the work. Since September 11, 2001, many more nations have adopted the Israeli system, but few have applied it as widely as the Israelis. The system does work, with many terrorists, or criminals up to no good, getting nabbed.

Israel has solved the problem of protecting favorite Islamic terrorist targets (bars, clubs, churches and synagogues) by allowing these places to use armed guards, often paid for by a “security surcharge” in commercial establishments. In addition it is easier for civilians, who pass the screening, to get permits to carry weapons. Off duty police and soldiers are often armed. All these screened gun users have prevented numerous attacks.


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