August 31, 2006, - 4:43 pm
By Debbie Schlussel
If memory serves us correctly, today marks the second patting-himself-on-the-back interview Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff a/k/a “Mr. Burns” has done with USA Today’s editorial board in a year. His latest, taking up the whole USA Today op-ed page, is entitled “The ‘Why’ Behind Air Security.”
But that’s assuming there actually is “Air Security.” There isn’t.
Chrtoff claims he and DHS are “constantly vigilant.” Really? When I flew to Chicago, last Friday, the woman sitting next to me was putting on liquid lip gloss from a flexible tube. When I asked how she got that through security at Detroit Metro Airport, she showed me her entire make-up bag, full of liquids, hairspray, etc., and told me there was a shift change at security, and no-one cared. Maybe Chertoff should spend more time on his hole-filled sieve of air security, instead of doing media interviews pretending we’re safer.
But that’s wishful thinking for Mr. Burns. In the USA Today interview, he makes a number of boneheaded statements and assertions. Among them his silly reason for profiling male Muslims:
Question: The terrorism threat comes predominantly from young, Muslim male extremists. Without racial or ethnic profiling, are there ways to make airport security better match this threat?
Answer: Yes. At the extreme, 3-year-olds are not probably a threat we need to worry about, and 75-year-old grandmothers are probably not a threat. But if you look at the experience of watching suicide bombers in other parts of the world, saying those can’t be women is just not factually correct. So I’m hesitant to say that we should focus only on males, or Muslims of a particular age.
Well, who said not to profile women? Clearly, they aren’t profiling women anyway, given the allegedly “crazy lady” who easily got a bag full of forbidden items on the plane from London Heathrow to Washington (diverted to Boston Logan).
They should profile the women, too. Muslim women. Arabic women. Middle Eastern women. But Chertoff doesn’t want to do anything to offend those communities, so he uses the red herring about women and skips the question, which was mostly about Muslims. If he really cared about your safety, he’d profile them. But he doesn’t. So he won’t.
He also goes on to say that “racial profiling . . . is a bad thing.” Why? It’s only bad in his mind because it might mean that he can’t sup at Ahmed’s Falafel Joint, without dirty looks while he and Homeland Security “civil rights” officer Daniel Sutherland are busy sucking up to Islamic extremists. For the rest of us, it ain’t bad at all.
The rest of his answers aren’t consistent or reflective of reality in the least.
Chertoff is asked about the gap in screening cargo. He claims that “is a big priority.” Really? Then, why are less than 15% of cargo containers on flights screened? He claims that it’s not true that they don’t screen the cargo because the shipping companies have to “verify the person who’s bringing the package in.” Am I missing something here? How in the heck does that constitute screening? Simple. It doesn’t. More smoke and mirrors from someone who needs to look in the mirror.
Chertoff supports the Registered Traveler program, which would exempt travelers from additional searches and questioning at checkpoints. But the databases DHS has to conduct background checks are a lower level set of databases and an archaic set of checks that are done. They don’t have access to all of the terrorism lists.
Regardless, the background checks would not have caught most–and probably none–of the 9/11 hijackers. Most of them could probably become Registered Travelers on 9/10/01. Terrorist groups don’t recruit known people with security blemishes to engage in operations. They pick people with clean records.
Chertoff also said, “At Homeland Security, we have to bat a thousand.” Do you see DHS batting a thousand? Not even close. Not even in single A minor league baseball.
This is the Big Leagues. But they keep fouling and striking out.
Tags: baseball, Burns Opposes Profiling Because, Daniel Sutherland, London Heathrow, officer, the USA Today, USA Today, Washington