"Israeli Style Profiling"
Less useful is another call for “Israeli style profiling,” in Bill West’s Bolstering Transit Security the Old Fashioned Way:
The more such officers there are, and the better trained they are, especially if they are trained in behavioral profiling techniques like the Israeli security services have used for decades, the better protected these transportation systems will be. Having a lot of well-trained officers who know what and who they are looking for, with the authority to stop, question and when legally appropriate search people acting suspiciously, can make the difference.
There are two issues that I’d like to discuss here. First is that Israeli profiling is the very last line of defense. The first line of defense is a well-run intelligence service that has been penetrating Palestinian militant groups for years. Second is a series of checkpoints, roadblocks, and a wall. Finally, there’s a broad set of people trained to look for suicide bombers.
The second comparison that must be made is that in Israel, those attacks are common. That frequency has an unfortunate benefit, which is that the techniques of the attackers and defenders can be studied and learned from. Did a bus driver miss something that in hindsight was obvious? Did the mall guard not notice the way a bomber was acting? In the US or Britian, such attacks are rare enough that if the training is wrong, or the implementation is wrong, it will be a long time before there are enough incidents to demonstrate that.
So, lots of well trained officers might make a difference, but much more likely, they’ll be harassing the wrong people most of the time. For example, the TSA is no better at finding weapons than private screeners were. It was an expensive shift.
Far better to spend our resources on intelligence officers who can speak Arabic. On talking to people. On training the public what to look for. (I shudder every time I get on the local train system, which still has “luggage spaces” where riders are encouraged to leave their bags, and go take a seat. A few hundred thousand dollars to fix that would go a long way.
I can think of many ways to spend money on counter-terror in the West which don’t impact the lives of the average American at all. If we were more concerned with security than security theater, we’d be pursuing them.