A Malaysia Airline Boeing 777 was shot down over the Ukraine, killing 298 passengers and crew. Most were Dutch and Australian. As many as 23 may have been Americans. [UPDATE: Only one American has been identified.] The plane was reportedly brought down by a Russian anti-aircraft missile, and pro-Russian separatists are being blamed. [Read more…]
The Israeli airline El Al, though an obvious target, has never had a terrorist bring one of their planes down. What is their secret? Not heavy-handed intrusive searches. Not ethnic profiling. Not at all what you might expect. According to this interview on CNN, it’s much simpler than that:
Isaac Yeffet, the former head of security for El Al and now an aviation security consultant in New York, said El Al has prevented terrorism in the air by making sure every passenger is interviewed by a well-trained agent before check-in.
“Stop relying only on technology,” Yeffet told CNN. “Technology can help the qualified, well-trained human being but cannot replace him.”
Read the rest of the interview. Mr. Yeffet tells how they train their security people, how they have to have specific qualifications and expertise, and how just by talking to each passenger they are able to spot those who might be problems. This is in contrast to our American insistence on finding a technological fix for everything.