Invasive security measures at U.S. airports

Airport security firestorm ignored by President, cabinet

By —— Bio and Archives--November 17, 2010

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Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano and the rest of President Barack Obama’s cabinet are either evasive or silent about their latest public relations fiasco: invasive security measures at U.S. airports.


It appears that in an effort to protect traveling Americans, while at the same time adhering to the liberal-left orthodoxy, on domestic and international commercial airline flights, new state-of-the-art body-scanners are now in use at airports throughout the nation. These admittedly intrusive devices leave nothing to the imagination when a man or woman is scanned, and should travelers resent being subjected to a full-body scan, they may opt to be “manually” frisked by airport security officers.

While Americans are being told that these measures are in place to protect them, Muslims—both citizens and immigrants—are demanding to be exempt from such security procedures.

“This is being done in recognizing that we all have a collective role in our security and we all know and can recognize that there are threats and risks that have been articulated by those who seek to harm the United States, particularly in the aviation environment. And, so, you know, what we are doing is designed to really be risk based, to be intelligence based, to be layered like I said, when you get to the airport at that screening center, these TSOs (Transportation Security Officers) are really the last line of protection we have for the aircraft and that’s the way we’re going to evaluate things,” said Secretary Napolitano in a news conference on Tuesday.

According to conservative talk host and former attorney Laura Ingraham, when Napolitano was asked by a reporter if Muslim women wearing burqas or hijabs refuse to undergo scanning or frisking, what will Transportation Security Administration personnel do, Napolitano didn’t answer, preferring to continue her scripted dialogue on the list of items not permitted on commercial flights such as powders and gels.

When pressed for an answer about Muslims wearing hijabs being scanned or frisked, Napolitano stated simply that “there is will be more to come” from the Homeland Security Department and the TSA.

The issue of the invasion of privacy created by the newly enhanced procedures has been raging for the last few days. Yet, President Barack Obama continues his silence on the issue.

President Obama had ordered Napolitano to conduct security reviews following the attempted terrorist attack on December 25, 2009, including recommendations from the intelligence and security communities.

“The attempted attack on Christmas Day is a powerful illustration that terrorists will go to great lengths to try to defeat the security measures that have been put in place since Sept. 11, 2001,”said Secretary Napolitano.

“These recommendations will strengthen aviation security—at home and abroad—through new partnerships, technology and law enforcement efforts,” she said at the time.

Secretary Napolitano provided the following recommendations:

  • Accelerate deployment of advanced imaging technology to provide greater explosives detection capabilities — and encourage foreign aviation security authorities to do the same — in order to identify materials such as those used in the attempted Christmas attack. The Transportation Security Administration currently has 40 machines deployed throughout the United States, and plans to deploy at least 300 additional units in 2010.
  • Re-evaluate and modify the criteria and process used to create terrorist watch lists—including adjusting the process by which names are added to the “No-Fly” and “Selectee” lists.
  • Establish a partnership on aviation security between DHS and the Department of Energy and its National Laboratories in order to develop new and more effective technologies to deter and disrupt known threats and proactively anticipate and protect against new ways by which terrorists could seek to board an aircraft.
  • Strengthen the presence and capacity of aviation law enforcement — by deploying law enforcement officers from across DHS to serve as Federal Air Marshals to increase security aboard U.S.-bound flights.
  • Work with international partners to strengthen international security measures and standards for aviation security.

Secretary Napolitano’s recommendations came in addition to the Department’s immediate actions following the attempted attack on Dec. 25, 2009 — including enhanced security measures at domestic airports and new international security directives that mandate enhanced screening of every individual flying into the United States from or through nations that are State Sponsors of Terrorism or other countries of interest and the majority of all passengers traveling on U.S.-bound flights.

“It is unacceptable to just claim human error and systematic problems, but not assign responsibility except to say ‘the buck stops here.’  The blame does rest with the President for creating an atmosphere in his Administration where no one wants to offend anyone – not even a terrorist,” said Danny Gonzalez, director of communications for KeepAmericaSafe.org, a grassroots organization

“Obama said that as a country we would not have a siege mentality and we wouldn’t hide behind the walls of suspicion and mistrust. This is ignoring the fact that America is under siege, and we have bad people at our borders trying to get in.  Most importantly, visiting the United States is a privilege not a right, and we shouldn’t be afraid to deny people that privilege if there is any chance they pose a threat,” said Gonzalez.


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Jim Kouri -- Bio and Archives | Comments

Jim Kouri, CPP, is founder and CEO of Kouri Associates, a homeland security, public safety and political consulting firm. He’s formerly Fifth Vice-President, now a Board Member of the National Association of Chiefs of Police, an editor for ConservativeBase.com, a columnist for Examiner.com, a contributor to KGAB radio news, and news director for NewswithViews.com.

He’s former chief at a New York City housing project in Washington Heights nicknamed “Crack City” by reporters covering the drug war in the 1980s. In addition, he served as director of public safety at St. Peter’s University and director of security for several major organizations. He’s also served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country.


Kouri appears regularly as on-air commentator for over 100 TV and radio news and talk shows including Fox News Channel, Oprah, McLaughlin Report, CNN Headline News, MTV, etc.

To subscribe to Kouri’s newsletter write to [email protected] and write “Subscription” on the subject line.


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