The Transportation Security Administration's demeaning new "enhanced pat-down" procedures are a direct result of the Obama administration's willful blindness to the threat from Islamic radicals. While better tools are available to keep air travelers safe, they would involve recognizing the threat for what it is, which is something the White House will never do.
El Al, Israel's national airline, employs a smarter approach. Any airline representing the state of Israel is a natural - some might say preeminent - target for terrorist attacks. Yet El Al has one of the best security records in the world and doesn't resort to wide-scale use of methods that would under other circumstances constitute sexual assault. The Israelis have achieved this track record of safety by employing sophisticated intelligence analysis which allows them to predict which travelers constitute a possible threat and which do not. Resources are then focused on the more probable threats with minimal intrusion on those who are likely not to be terrorists.
Here in the United States, these sophisticated techniques have roundly been denounced as discriminatory "profiling." Allegedly postracial America has been unable to come to grips with the difference between immoral and illegal racial discrimination and the prudent use of the types of techniques that police on the beat use every day, which is similar to practices the customs service applies to assessing which packages being sent into the country are licit and which were sent by smugglers. TSA believes an 80-year-old grandmother deserves the same level of scrutiny at an airport terminal checkpoint as a 19-year-old male exchange student from Yemen. This policy not only is a waste of time and resources, it denies reality.
The new crotch-inspection policy is a direct result of al Qaeda underwear bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab's failed attempt to take down Northwest Airlines Flight 253 last Christmas. At the time, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said, in masterful doublespeak, "Once the incident occurred, the system worked." However, the incident itself was a symptom of systemic failure. Abdulmutallab's name was on various watch lists. He had traveled to Yemen to network with al Qaeda. Warnings concerning him had been received from Yemen and Britain. His father had even attempted to notify the United States about the coming attack. None of this made an impression.
Despite all the government bureaucracy and TSA's intrusive inspection practices, Abdulmutallab's attack was only foiled because of a faulty bomb and the actions of alert passengers. Now all passengers have to pay the price by having their privacy (and their privates) invaded, which is the Obama administration's alternative to instituting a policy that will target the source of the problem. Indeed, they refuse to admit that a Muslim problem exists.
The Obama administration prides itself on seeking purportedly "intelligent" solutions to complex problems, but it has no such answer to air safety. Its policy for protecting American travelers is to simply and superficially check everyone, and tell those who have concerns about their personal privacy to take it or leave it. So when a TSA worker asks to examine your private parts, don't blame the terrorists, blame an administration that refuses to admit that America is at war with Islamic radicalism.
(One of the best commentaries to date. Thanks Washington Times!)