Special airport security for passengers from terror-prone nations

Airport security is finally narrowing down the passengers who will get special scrutiny. Passengers from 14 nations will all get pat-downs and luggage searches: “Afghanistan, Algeria, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia and Yemen are on the list as countries of interest. Cuba, Iran, Sudan and Syria are listed because they have long been identified as "state sponsors of terrorism" by the United States, NBC reported.”

But some international airports–both of some of the singled-out countries and the major airports of Europe–are refusing to implement the new measures.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Peter Leavitt

    This is an improvement, though it would be better to profile Islamic people from all countries, as, apart from the Tamil Tigers, at present the only people involved in homicidal bombing are Muslims. This would, also, have the effect of motivating “moderate” Muslims to get rid of these vicious terrorists who infest their religion.

  • Peter Leavitt

    This is an improvement, though it would be better to profile Islamic people from all countries, as, apart from the Tamil Tigers, at present the only people involved in homicidal bombing are Muslims. This would, also, have the effect of motivating “moderate” Muslims to get rid of these vicious terrorists who infest their religion.

  • Carl Vehse

    Don’t forget body cavity searches.

  • Carl Vehse

    Don’t forget body cavity searches.

  • http://www.scyldingsinthemeadhall.blogspot.com The Scylding

    Here’s my prediction for 2010 (and beyond): That list is going to become longer and longer, till it becomes irrelevant.

  • http://www.scyldingsinthemeadhall.blogspot.com The Scylding

    Here’s my prediction for 2010 (and beyond): That list is going to become longer and longer, till it becomes irrelevant.

  • trotk

    The list already is irrelevant. If countries and airports can thumb their collective noses at the command, what does it mean?

    Unless we station our troops there to guarantee that the searches are actually happening, our only way of stopping terrorists from getting on the plane is stopping flights entirely.

    It is a political move, designed to make the administration look good to Americans.

  • trotk

    The list already is irrelevant. If countries and airports can thumb their collective noses at the command, what does it mean?

    Unless we station our troops there to guarantee that the searches are actually happening, our only way of stopping terrorists from getting on the plane is stopping flights entirely.

    It is a political move, designed to make the administration look good to Americans.

  • DonS

    This is a move in the right direction, clearly. As for the problem of countries and airports which refuse to implement the heightened procedures, the remedy is to subject passengers arriving from those airports to intensive screening when they transfer to another flight in a legitimate airport.

  • DonS

    This is a move in the right direction, clearly. As for the problem of countries and airports which refuse to implement the heightened procedures, the remedy is to subject passengers arriving from those airports to intensive screening when they transfer to another flight in a legitimate airport.

  • Ryan

    By publishing that list those who want to do harm now know what countries they need to originate from and which to avoid. Loose lips sink ships – and now planes.

  • Ryan

    By publishing that list those who want to do harm now know what countries they need to originate from and which to avoid. Loose lips sink ships – and now planes.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    First, let me just say how glad I am to see Cuba on that list. Finally, we’re taking the terrorist threat from Cuba seriously! Phew!

    Second, I’d love to hear more details from Peter (@1) on how we’re going to identify people’s faiths. Presumably, it will be printed on their biometric data cards issued by the UN, sure, but Peter, how did that information get onto those cards in the first place?

    Thirdly trotk (@4), given how long this list has been in existence, might it be a weeee bit early to judge how it’s going to play out? Might the US have recourse (backchannel or otherwise) to those countries “thumbing their collective noses” at us?

    Don (@5), I’m glad to see you lauding a move by the Obama administration, but I do wonder about your remedy of “subjecting passengers arriving from [lax] airports to intensive screening when they transfer to another flight in a legitimate airport.” Is there always another airport in the middle? Are there no direct flights from these countries to the US?

    And Ryan (@6), you have a weird view of secrecy. It would have been obvious to anyone moving through airports which countries were on this list. “Those who want to do harm now know what countries they need to originate from,” indeed. Do you understand why the terrorists originate from the lousy countries they do?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    First, let me just say how glad I am to see Cuba on that list. Finally, we’re taking the terrorist threat from Cuba seriously! Phew!

    Second, I’d love to hear more details from Peter (@1) on how we’re going to identify people’s faiths. Presumably, it will be printed on their biometric data cards issued by the UN, sure, but Peter, how did that information get onto those cards in the first place?

    Thirdly trotk (@4), given how long this list has been in existence, might it be a weeee bit early to judge how it’s going to play out? Might the US have recourse (backchannel or otherwise) to those countries “thumbing their collective noses” at us?

    Don (@5), I’m glad to see you lauding a move by the Obama administration, but I do wonder about your remedy of “subjecting passengers arriving from [lax] airports to intensive screening when they transfer to another flight in a legitimate airport.” Is there always another airport in the middle? Are there no direct flights from these countries to the US?

    And Ryan (@6), you have a weird view of secrecy. It would have been obvious to anyone moving through airports which countries were on this list. “Those who want to do harm now know what countries they need to originate from,” indeed. Do you understand why the terrorists originate from the lousy countries they do?

  • Peter Leavitt

    Todd, How should it matter to a law-abiding person of faith that his religion is stated on a bio-meteric identification card, unless no doubt the person suffers from some sort of paranoia.

    Of course, it would matter to Muslims going through security lines, though in a time of Jihadi war against the West this would be fitting.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Todd, How should it matter to a law-abiding person of faith that his religion is stated on a bio-meteric identification card, unless no doubt the person suffers from some sort of paranoia.

    Of course, it would matter to Muslims going through security lines, though in a time of Jihadi war against the West this would be fitting.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Peter (@8), even if you somehow came up with a uniform method for encoding religious belief for the purposes of security screening — which, it should be noted strongly, you haven’t — why would any terrorist subsequently label themselves as Muslim?

    This would only inconvenience the law-abiding Muslims. Which would be a brilliant PR move in winning them over.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Peter (@8), even if you somehow came up with a uniform method for encoding religious belief for the purposes of security screening — which, it should be noted strongly, you haven’t — why would any terrorist subsequently label themselves as Muslim?

    This would only inconvenience the law-abiding Muslims. Which would be a brilliant PR move in winning them over.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 7: For the most part, anyone I have ever known who has traveled to Africa or the Middle East has gone through Europe. And a “hole” in security has been identified as the failure to subject passengers arriving from lax airports to further screening in those intermediate airports. I don’t know, off-hand, if there is ever a direct flight from these lax airports to the U.S., but if there is, and we are not happy with the security levels employed, we could certainly prohibit such flights.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 7: For the most part, anyone I have ever known who has traveled to Africa or the Middle East has gone through Europe. And a “hole” in security has been identified as the failure to subject passengers arriving from lax airports to further screening in those intermediate airports. I don’t know, off-hand, if there is ever a direct flight from these lax airports to the U.S., but if there is, and we are not happy with the security levels employed, we could certainly prohibit such flights.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Don (@10), in a few minutes of searching, I found a couple of direct flights from Lagos, Nigeria to the U.S. (Atlanta and Houston). I’m sure there are others from that list.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Don (@10), in a few minutes of searching, I found a couple of direct flights from Lagos, Nigeria to the U.S. (Atlanta and Houston). I’m sure there are others from that list.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Todd, most countries have identity crds that include religious affiliation. At present the FBI is working with a billion-dollar budget that correlates identity cards with extensive data bases containing info on religious affiliation. Law enforcement officials in America regard it as absurd that we don’t have bio-meteric cards at least at the state level and better at the national level.

    As to law-abiding Muslims being inconvenienced, that would be part of the point, as this would help motivate them to eliminate the vicious jihadis that corrupt their religion.

    As to jihadis who would hide their religious affiliation, the FBI and CIA already have extensive data-bases on them; what’s lacking is the will to have fool-proof bio-metric IDs that effectively mark individuals and are correlated with the data-bases.

    Brett Stephens in the WSJ today wrote that his two four year olds and a four moth baby were patted down at a Belgium airport. This wouldn’t be necessary, except for Islamic folk who are the only people on earth capable of attaching explosives to children.

    It will probably take a few successful jihadi attacks before we get serious about this matter.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Todd, most countries have identity crds that include religious affiliation. At present the FBI is working with a billion-dollar budget that correlates identity cards with extensive data bases containing info on religious affiliation. Law enforcement officials in America regard it as absurd that we don’t have bio-meteric cards at least at the state level and better at the national level.

    As to law-abiding Muslims being inconvenienced, that would be part of the point, as this would help motivate them to eliminate the vicious jihadis that corrupt their religion.

    As to jihadis who would hide their religious affiliation, the FBI and CIA already have extensive data-bases on them; what’s lacking is the will to have fool-proof bio-metric IDs that effectively mark individuals and are correlated with the data-bases.

    Brett Stephens in the WSJ today wrote that his two four year olds and a four moth baby were patted down at a Belgium airport. This wouldn’t be necessary, except for Islamic folk who are the only people on earth capable of attaching explosives to children.

    It will probably take a few successful jihadi attacks before we get serious about this matter.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 11: Perhaps not for long, as I mentioned in my last post. It would be easy enough for the U.S. to prohibit these flights, if security concerns are serious enough.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 11: Perhaps not for long, as I mentioned in my last post. It would be easy enough for the U.S. to prohibit these flights, if security concerns are serious enough.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Peter (@12), you obviously know a lot about this topic. Please educate me.

    “Most countries have identity crds that include religious affiliation”. Can you point to a list? Or name the major ones?

    “At present the FBI is working with a billion-dollar budget that correlates identity cards with extensive data bases containing info on religious affiliation.” I have not heard of this. Can you point me to an article on it?

    “As to jihadis who would hide their religious affiliation, the FBI and CIA already have extensive data-bases on them.” Then what, exactly, is the point of the complicated, easily-fooled system that you propose?

    “As to law-abiding Muslims being inconvenienced, that would be part of the point, as this would help motivate them to eliminate the vicious jihadis that corrupt their religion.” Ha! Please.

    Listen, Peter, if I was subjected to a strip-search in Amsterdam because I’m a Christian, and was informed it was because of the actions of Massachusetts Congregationalists that this was happening to me, I would not think, “Oh well, that’s fair. I really should talk to those Congregationalists and set them straight.” No, I would be livid at being lumped in with people with whom I don’t even agree. I would yell that I had even pointedly disagreed in public with Congregationalists, and I don’t support their theology or ideology much at all. And I’d be very angry at those idiots in Amsterdam who can’t tell a WELS Lutheran from a Congregationalist, and have decided that, rather than use their brains, they’re going to lump us all together in a horrifically misguided attempt to get me to correct their bad theology, as if it were my fault.

    Honestly, have you thought this through?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Peter (@12), you obviously know a lot about this topic. Please educate me.

    “Most countries have identity crds that include religious affiliation”. Can you point to a list? Or name the major ones?

    “At present the FBI is working with a billion-dollar budget that correlates identity cards with extensive data bases containing info on religious affiliation.” I have not heard of this. Can you point me to an article on it?

    “As to jihadis who would hide their religious affiliation, the FBI and CIA already have extensive data-bases on them.” Then what, exactly, is the point of the complicated, easily-fooled system that you propose?

    “As to law-abiding Muslims being inconvenienced, that would be part of the point, as this would help motivate them to eliminate the vicious jihadis that corrupt their religion.” Ha! Please.

    Listen, Peter, if I was subjected to a strip-search in Amsterdam because I’m a Christian, and was informed it was because of the actions of Massachusetts Congregationalists that this was happening to me, I would not think, “Oh well, that’s fair. I really should talk to those Congregationalists and set them straight.” No, I would be livid at being lumped in with people with whom I don’t even agree. I would yell that I had even pointedly disagreed in public with Congregationalists, and I don’t support their theology or ideology much at all. And I’d be very angry at those idiots in Amsterdam who can’t tell a WELS Lutheran from a Congregationalist, and have decided that, rather than use their brains, they’re going to lump us all together in a horrifically misguided attempt to get me to correct their bad theology, as if it were my fault.

    Honestly, have you thought this through?

  • http://www.scyldingsinthemeadhall.blogspot.com The Scylding

    Peter, the only countries that I know of, loosely, that classify their citizens officialy by religion, are Israel, Germany, Switzerland and Iran. In Germany and Switzerland, it is for tax purposes. In Israel and Iran, it is for placing people in defined religious categories – for instance, as an Armenian Christian (or a Jew – yes they are legally recognised) in Iran, you have certain rights (to make and consume alcoholic beverages, for instance). In Israel, only Jews and Druse have compulsary military service etc.

    But your blanket assertion about religious status is news to me.

  • http://www.scyldingsinthemeadhall.blogspot.com The Scylding

    Peter, the only countries that I know of, loosely, that classify their citizens officialy by religion, are Israel, Germany, Switzerland and Iran. In Germany and Switzerland, it is for tax purposes. In Israel and Iran, it is for placing people in defined religious categories – for instance, as an Armenian Christian (or a Jew – yes they are legally recognised) in Iran, you have certain rights (to make and consume alcoholic beverages, for instance). In Israel, only Jews and Druse have compulsary military service etc.

    But your blanket assertion about religious status is news to me.

  • Joe

    Peter – efficiency in law enforcement is achieved only through a degridation of individual rights. There is a balancing that needs to occur. I really don’t care if law enforcment people would find it helpful for me to register all my personal information with the gov’t and carry my papers around with me. The marginal increase in security is not worth the invasion.

  • Joe

    Peter – efficiency in law enforcement is achieved only through a degridation of individual rights. There is a balancing that needs to occur. I really don’t care if law enforcment people would find it helpful for me to register all my personal information with the gov’t and carry my papers around with me. The marginal increase in security is not worth the invasion.