And What Exactly is Wrong with Profiling?

Several years ago I flew from Miami to Tel Aviv on El Al Airlines.  Right after I got my ticket at the El Al counter, and long before I got anywhere near the airplane, a young woman from the airline gave me the third degree.  Where did I live?  What synagogue did I go to?  What were the names of other members of my family?  Why was I going to Israel?  What was my name translated into Hebrew?  And those were just a few of her annoying questions.

When I got to the gate, after going through security like everybody else, I was pulled aside for a second security check, this time by El Al.  And this time they went through my luggage before they let me on the plane.

Did I like it at the time?  Not especially.  Did I feel safer flying on El Al to a part of the world where bad things happen way too often rather than on some other airline?  Definitely.

Call it anything you want, but there’s no way around the fact that I was profiled.  Israelis, who know a little bit about terrorism, don’t cringe when it comes to profiling.  Let’s just say no one will confuse Israeli security agents with the ACLU.

But why me?  I was different.  Almost everyone on the flight was an Israeli.  I was an American.  Almost everybody on the flight was going home.  I was merely changing planes in Tel Aviv, en route to Amman, Jordan.

El Al security agents had every right to profile me.  So what if I wasn’t a terrorist.  How were they supposed to know, unless they treated me as a special case?  Unless they profiled me.

My trip on El Al comes to mind because of what we’ve been hearing recently about the “underwear bomber” who tried to blow up a Northwest flight en route from Amsterdam to Detroit on Christmas day.  By now we all know the story:  his father, a prominent banker in Nigeria warned the U.S. Embassy in Lagos that his son was becoming a religious fanatic and might be dangerous.  His travel history included a trip to Yemen.  He bought a one-way ticket.  He paid for it in cash.

Did any of this set off alarms?  Nope.  Too bad he wasn’t wearing a sign that said, “I’m a terrorist and I plan to blow up your airplane.”  But frankly, I’m not sure those eagle-eyed authorities would have noticed that, either.

Here in America we have the TSA, comprised of agents who try to make flying safe by taking away our toothpaste and shampoo.  They do a bang-up job, these TSA folks — of making us dread going to the airport … where we will have to take off our shoes … our jacket … our hat … maybe our belt … take out our tiny bottles of mouthwash … put our computer in a separate bin … and if we have 12 cents in loose change in our pocket, we get to go through the metal detector all over again or get patted down by the magic electronic wand.  I wouldn’t really mind any of this if it made me feel safer.  Truth is, it doesn’t.  Not like the El Al security check made me feel safer.

I know they mean well, but a lot of TSA agemts remind me of Barney Fife on the old Andy Griffih TV show.  Barney might hassle an old lady for jaywalking in Mayberry — because rules are rules. Same with the TSA agents.  Got a nail file?  Got to take it away.  You might try to stab the pilot if they let you on the plane with one of those dangerous weapons.  Besides, rules are rules.

And fair is fair: You can’t blame the TSA for what happened in Amsterdam.  TSA agents didn’t let the “underwear bomber” on the plane. But I’m not all that confident they would have caught this same guy if he got on a plane in Detroit and was heading to Amsterdam with a bomb in his underpants.  Now, if he had more than three ounces of  conditioner, there’s no way he would have made it through security.

So what’s the solution?  No system is 100 percent foolproof.  Granted.  But profiling is a good place to start.  And not just profiling anyone who seems especially nervous and is acting a little too fidgety.  We need to do that, for sure.  But we also need profiling – I pause here so that any liberal with a heart condition can get his medicine before continuing – we need profiling … based …on …what …you …look like and where you come from.  Young men traveling with passports issued, for example, in Nigeria, Somalia, or anyplace in the Arab world, should get special attention.   They should be profiled!   A 23-year old man from Beirut is not the same as a 78-year old woman from Peoria.  They do not pose the same potential threat to our safety.   That strikes me as beyond obvious.  Besides, if liberals are willing to turn our economy upside down on the chance –no matter how slight – that global warming may harm us in a hundred years or so, they ought to be willing to profile potential terrorists who might to try to blow up an airplane in an hour or so – no matter how slight that chance.

But liberals will say, “What happens when the terrorists recruit a blond, blue-eyed Swedish woman to carry the bomb?  What good will your profiling do then?”  Good question.  When that happens, we should start profiling Swedish women, too.

But for now, we can be assured of just one thing:  if you thought going through security at the airport was a great big pain in the ass before the “underwear bomber” surfaced, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

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  • Bjensen4

    I’ve never been accused of being a conservative, but what you said makes perfect sense to me. Reasonable profiling
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    offended, that is unfortunate. Nevertheless the Supreme Court has ruled the practice to be perfectly constitutional – at least if it is conducted within civilized limits (U.S. v. Armstrong, 1996). Thanks for the post.

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  • John Obama

    The Obama administration will ignore the rights of its citizens to protect what it thinks are the rights of the non-citizens.

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    The Obama administration will ignore the bad guys because they think that is being fair and take away the rights of the good guys because they think they don’t deserve rights.

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  • Elba Davis

    Hey very good blog!! Man .. Lovely .. Superb .. I will bookmark your weblog and take the feeds also…


    Mr G
    Please let me suggest a title and a subject for your next book.

    The Corruption in American Sports – Top to Bottom
    I have worked in youth sports for about ten years and at every level – Middle School to College and have yet to see a open and ethical “sportsmanship” approach from anybody. The kingdom of the Football Coach is supreme everywhere. The Press only care about the big four NFL MLB NBA and NHL with maybe a sprinkle of Tiger – I mean PGA. Colleges and the NCAA looks the other way or minimize the gravity when a player – especially a “star” player commits a violation that would end a mortal students career.
    How about it?
    Can you handle the truth?????
    Mike T

  • Eric

    Definitely necessary to parse the negative association of profiling to show that it has benefits that are worthy of unemotional discussion. Thanks for sharing your views out loud!

  • Californo, The ultimate wood fired oven

    I would like to talk to Mr. Goldberg.
    Californo, The Ultimate Wood fired Oven

  • Steve

    Here’s a solution to all the controversy over full-body scanners. Have a booth that you can step into that will not X-ray you, but will detonate any explosive device you may have on you.

    It would be a win-win for everyone, and there would be none of this crap about racial profiling!!!!!

    • Erika

      Excellent! LOL I love it!

  • Steve

    These people need your feedback!

    Just a reminder of an unforgettable event discussing the future of journalism in our society…
    Journalism Values and Vision: Leading in the Age of Digital Disruption

    Presented by the UO Alumni Association and the School of Journalism and Communication
    Thursday, February 11, 2010
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    5:30 p.m. – 6 p.m. Reception. Beer, wine and light refreshments will be served.
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    In an age when anyone can be a journalist, the sheer volume of information can lead to digital overwhelm. How do consumers of media know whom to trust? How can professional journalists foster citizen engagement while shaping the landscape? It’s clear a new ethic of public trust through public engagement must evolve.

  • Larry Golden

    Years ago I took a flight from Stuttgart Germany to Frankfurt and was ushered into a booth with curtains, a woman sat at a table and a guard stood behind her with a machine gun. They went through everything I had and asked a ton of questions before I could board the plane. I felt safe and not at all put out. I won’t fly now, unless I am going to Israel on El Al and go through the profiling, then I will feel safe.


    Dear Bernie
    Love your books – I have an idea for your next book – an expose or theory on how and where Sports (at all levels) turned into a ultra corrupt affair. Looking back over the past 40 years to see the evolution of sports from “Sportsmanship” to “In your Face”. No Gamesmanship anymore just strut and taunt your opponent and rebellion against the officials.
    I think you would be the perfect author for a book with this topic….

    Let me know

    BTW I coach a club sport at the college level (Not Varsity) so I have first rate in-roads with and to THE PROBLEM.

    Mike T

  • Negev

    Profiling is unjust for those who have done nothing wrong. Think of an Arab in Israel trying to get on a plane. She or he will be thoroughly searched, while Jews Israelies will pass much faster. This is frustrating. Maybe even humiating.
    The question is, who is to blame.
    In my opinion, those Israeli Arabs should go after the terrorists. They are the reason for profiling. Not Israel’s will to stay save.

  • Ken Besig Israel

    Just so you know, all passengers who fly from Israel are interviewed prior to boarding, and those who seem to fit a doubtful profile like Arabs, are questioned more thoroughly and even searched before they are allowed to board. And you should know that the various Israeli civil rights groups are just as much up in arms against this practice as the American groups are, making all sorts of claims of discrimination, unjust and unfair anti Arab practices, etc. Thankfully so far, the Israeli Supreme Court has rejected these claims out of hand and allowed the airport authority to continue to profile Arabs, non Jews, non Israelis and anyone else who might pose a threat to a plane full of passengers.

  • Catherine P. Slocum

    Mr. Goldberg – At last with your new articles I have found a way to contact you. I belive you are a man of integrity and I thought you might want to read some personal observations of
    William F. Buckley, Jr. as I was privileged to be with him on several occasions. From your
    discussions on Bill O’Reilly’s show I thought you are/were a fan of Mr. Buckley’s and I am
    too. This information would be only for you. I feel I could trust you to keep my comments for
    your eyes only. Not that anything I tell you is bad, its just private. My cousin, Reggie Stoops,
    (now deceased) was a best friend of Mr. Buckley’s . Reggie was never maried until he was 50 and Mr. Buckley was his best man at his wedding in Memphis, TN years ago. Reggie is in all his sailing books and sailed with him on most of his trips. When Reggie passed away in
    Newport Christopher Buckley delivered and wrote his eulogy. He sent me a copy as I was
    unable to attend the service. When I saw Christopher recently on a TV program he said he
    had supported and voted for Obama!. Buckley would be spinning in his grave!!!

    • Catherine P. Slocum

      I got cut off before I finished my note. If you will e-mail your address in Miami I will send “eyes only” info to you. I am retired NASA and live near the Space Center. If you have
      never been there its worth a trip..before it gets shut down by the powers that be…Hope to hear from you. Oh, by the way since I’m writing to you on your question re profiling..I’m all for it. Catherine P. Slocum.

  • Morten Williams

    Profiling may be unjust in some cases, particularly when it has no basis in reality or fact.

    Someone mentioned white people being paranoid around black people. According to the United States Department of Justice white folks are far more likely to be murdered by black people than the other way around. Something to the tune of 3 to 1 if you look at real homicide numbers from 1976-2005. Rape is even more skewed than that.

    So while irrational paranoia is probably not needed, being wary is understandable.

    Of course, it’s considered impolite to state these things and that doesn’t make the situation less true.

  • joel o’connor

    Keep it simple….

    if your are profiled and you’ve done nothing wrong, then you have nothing to worrie about. But if you are profiled and are “mistreated” in anyway,,,,there needs to be some protective measures in place. There is no reason to mistreat anyone who is “a special case.”

  • Bob

    Dear Bernie, I loved your book “A Slobbering Love Affair” and your comments whenever you are on certain TV shows. I am very frustrated and would like your opinion on my thoughts, and of WHOEVER ELSE FEELS THIS WAY ??? I have been harping on this for years now… partial text of a recent letter I just sent to a few friends…

    Letter “QUOTE”

    Watching this Democrat Administration, the President (so-called), the House and the Senate is like watching 911 all over again – “in slow motion”, (ONLY MUCH MORE DEVASTATING). Instead of airplanes flying into buildings, we see illegal and corrupt voting, Government fraud and waste, out of control spending, total ignorance of the good, honest, tax-paying Citizen’s demands, and now we see a Government take over of free enterprise, public corporations, banks, and health care, thereby producing obamacare, stimulus plan one, stimulus plan two, TARP, climate bill, ACORN, SEIU, ACLU, and on and on. Let’s be real clear about this, what’s happening in America right now is downright pure evil. Liberalism is a disease, Liberal Democrats are Kenites, (as the Bible states, they are the “Tares in the Wheat”) the devil’s seed – everyone should be reading their Manual. Obama is not only a Kenite, but I believe that he is the Manchurian Candidate, “the enemy from within”. He feels his job is not to create jobs for Americans, but rather it is to take down the Country and steal everyone’s wealth, while taking over all departments of government, and to stay in power forever. That’s it folks – why do you think that 80% of all so-called stimulus moneys are being reserved for next election? Why do you think that TARP money being returned is being illegally stolen -to be used for additional stimulus-two when 80% of stimulus-one is still right there for the election? Why is this democrat, liberal government spending as much as possible, as soon as possible, with no restraints in mind whatsoever? Why is the Constitution being mauled, and totally ignored? It’s all to ruin this country as fast as possible, and to grab all the power they can, while they still have all the votes !!! Even at the risk of being exposed, and facing treason charges, theft, fraud charges and more.

    We really don’t have time to wait for the next election, ASAP- we really do need a Civilian National Guard, or our regular Military to declare Martial Law, and start arresting these Liberal Traitors – “Kenites”. In the meantime every Citizen should very peacefully campaign in mass at every hangout of their local liberal representative, at their homes, their offices, town hall meetings, congress, senate, and the white house itself, and also at the offices of the totally worthless news media outlets, most of whom are Kenites too. It is almost too late now, where we could very soon be back in bondage. Its all in our Manual “The Holy Bible”; the past, present and the future; so very clearly written, “even a child can read it”. If one can’t read, they should ask a Jew about bondage, for every time they messed up and got complacent, and started idol worship, they ended up back in captivity or bondage. Ask the Cubans, ask the Venezuelans, ask the Russian Citizens, the Iraqis under Saddam Hussein, and guess what – we’re next. SMARTEN UP AMERICA, OPEN YOUR EYES.
    Signed “Very Disappointed”

    Here’s some help with the Official Liberal Dictionary…
    Baby murder, infanticide, abortion on demand = CHOICE
    Power grab of 1/6 of the US economy, (providing more opportunities to steal money) = “PUBLIC OPTION”
    Spend as much as possible, as soon as possible, even without approvals = “INVESTING IN AMERICA”
    Help Dictators, thugs, terrorists, while accusing, and not defending our Police, Navy Seals, etc= “DEMOCRACY”
    Try desperately keep trying to shut down free speech talk radio = “FAIRNESS DOCTRINE”
    Kenite take-over of entire world by evil dictators, and world dominance by radical Islam= “ONE WORLD ORDER”
    World take over of trillions of dollars by thieves and liars, and thugs= “GLOBAL WARMING”
    Let proven murders, rapist, pedophiles out from the courts, and jail with minimum sentencing= “FAIRNESS”
    Steal, grab, put aside borrowed money as quickly as possible; more money than we can afford= “STIMULUS”
    911 terrorists, radical Islamises and Moslem terrorists all killers of the innocent= “MAN MADE DISRUPTIONS”
    Let anyone from anywhere in without back ground checks do anything illegal, or immoral = “DIVERSITY”
    Help uneducated black criminals intimidate and steal taxpayer money, cause voting corruption= “ACORN”
    Plan evil deeds behind closed doors, without letting the people know what you are doing= “TRANSPARENCY”
    Government with better benefits than the Electorate, Higher Pay, Free Medical, No-Taxes= “HARD WORK”

    I rest my case,

    • Ron Kean

      I don’t know about Kenites or tares in any wheat but I do think it’s Christians and America with Jews and Israel against the bad guys in the world.

      I also think that unless conservatives are thoughtful and wise in taking power back it will be Obama that organizes a National Police Force and that would be bad.

      • Bob

        Hi Ron,
        Thank you for your thoughtful comments. Kenites are sons of Cain; ref John 8:44. Tares in the wheat same as Kenites; ref Matthew 13:37 – :50. As to National Police Force, BHO tried that initially with Acorn but on December 17, 2009, he placed the United States of America under the authority of the international police organization known as INTERPOL, granting the organization full immunity to operate within the United States.

        Order 12425, Reagan made two exceptions to that status. The first had to do with taxation, but the second was to make sure that Interpol had the same accountability for its actions as American law enforcement – namely, they had to produce records when demanded by courts and could not have immunity for their actions.

        Barack Obama unexpectedly revoked those exceptions in a change to EO 12425 last (week)…

        Thus, Interpol now can conduct its operations on U.S. soil with ZERO accountability to anyone in this country.

        And you beginning to understand now just what the ‘end game’ is on the part of those who are currently running the U.S. Government?

      • Bob
      • Bob
  • Wil Burns

    Hey Bernie, What is your opinion on how a group of Texas conservatives are rewriting kids’ textbooks. Frightening, isn’t it.

  • Wil Burns

    Are you people scared, I mean really scared?

    Then terrorism has won!

    • Henry

      If we let our guard down, then they’ve won!

  • Dave

    Uh, ok. What about the shoe bomber guy. His name is Richard Reid. Don’t see how profiling would help there. Or how bout Timothy McVeigh , or Orlando Bosch. Profiling isn’t really as effective as people think it is. Even if it was slightly effective, is it really worth giving up civil liberties for? I doubt it. Allowing the big strong government to profile is a scary proposition.

    Israel profiles sure, and look at the improvements. There is a suicide bombing almost every week, and the muslim world hates them more than ever.

    As Newt Gingrich says, terrorists must be discovered through behavioral observation. NOT PROFILING. Nazis used profiling.

    Profiling does not exist in a free society. Period.

  • joyce

    I flew to London – they had 3 lines – one for brits -One for the US of A – and one for the Middle East – Obviously the Brits sailed through, the USA was briefly questioned and detained, and the people from the middle east were there forever – The Brits have been a target of terrorism forever, in fact modern terrorism was invented by the IRA ! – But the Brits DO NOT PLAY – Safety is too important – If people dont like being detained before entering our country, tell them what the Brits say “Sorry – It couldn’t be helped” –

  • Locksmith

    Maybe the answer is to have two screening lines, initially, at the airports, a profiling screening line and a non profiling screening line. Then stipulate that the longest line will fly, the one with the most people. The shortest will not. See how that works. See what the public prefers.

  • Lisa

    The time for profiling is now. Civil liberties be damned!

  • Shali Zanzuri

    Dear Sir or Madam,
    where can i write to Mr. Goldberg?

    Shali Zanzuri

    • Ron Kean

      Why not here?

  • John

    I understand the argument and think there is a faction in TSA who agree but not in the way you are referring. TSA has the SPOT program. It is about focusing on the intent of the individual and not the item. It is in effect screening for intent. The current administration is not a fan and many within TSA are split. Some federal security directors simply do not understand it and do not fully use it while others fully support it and really use it to the fullest. The argument of “how many terrorist have you caught” is a weak one. We screen about 2 million persons per day. How many are a threat to aviation, likely very few. But do the math, what percent of the total were the 9-11 highjackers, minimal when looked at as a percent but the intent of harm was real. When you look at terrorist behavior, suicide bombing indicators, and criminal behavior they really overlap in many areas. SPOT refers people every day based on behavior and persons are arrested by local law enforcement every day because of SPOT referrals. I suggest speaking with Boston Logan’s Mass Port law enforcement to see how the work with TSA’s SPOT and get their opinion.

    So I think you might really enjoy a story about the real SPOT but would suggest you do not get your information from TSA’s PA or the assistant sec. I suggest you go to SPOT, do a true investigative piece of work and make up your own mind. Once you know what I know it is my belief you will help those who want to do the job and see that screening for intent is the way to go. We all hear many say look at Israel. Well their model is an in-your-face Q&A which would never fly in the US. It is about 60 persons per hour being processed which would never fly with 2 million per day. It is also at an airport about the size of San Antonio with a few flights per day vice several thousand. But, they are focusing on intent and not the item which is exactly what SPOT is about.

    • Tim Ned

      This is one of the most intelligent posts I have read in a while. I wasn’t aware of this program and since your post I have done some research on it. Thanks for the information.

  • Caroline Horner

    Being an Australian who travels often to the US, I have been taken aside on a couple of occasions to be “profiled”. I totally agree with you. Every country should have profiling.

    In the words of a famous Australian radio announcer, John Laws, “Not all Muslims are terrorists, but all terrorists are Muslim”!

    Caroline Horner

  • Kibba

    Bernie, when the blonde Swede blows up your plane that willjust prove that profiling will not work.

    You miss the real bomber by looking for what you think the bomber will look like.

    Any profiling done in this country will be based on skin color, completely missing caucasion radical muslims, or the multitude of other ethnic mixed people intent on terrorist actions.

    • EddieD_Boston

      But blonde Swedes don’t blow up plains. Muslims do. Man, you liberals really don’t get it. If blond Swedes start blowing up planes then we should profile them. Not a moment before.

      • Anonymous

        What does a Muslim look like?

        • EddieD_Boston

          They look like they have a Muslim name.

      • bmmg39

        I’m sympathetic to Bernie’s view here, but waiting until a blond Swede blows up a plane to profile them is a bit reactive, not proactive, wouldn’t you say? Kind of like we allow box-cutters on board, until…

  • Al

    Totally agree. Think of the money wasted by the extra hours standing in security checkpoints. It would be interesting to do an analysis on the time and money wasted in security checkpoints.

    The basic problem is we spend too much time looking for “things” (nail clippers, conditioner over 3 oz. etc.) when we should be looking at “people”. People on no-fly lists, people who buy one-way tickets with cash, people whose own fathers warn our embassy that their son is radical , people who lie about their point of origin etc.

    Maybe if we put some emphasis on screening bad people instead of “things” we’d all be safer, and wouldn’t need to dread our upcoming travel knowing we’ll need to spend an hour in the security line without our shoes and taking our laptops our of our bags…

  • Nancy

    Good points Bernie!

    Just wish we could figure out a way to electronically use profiling in, say, conservative web sites…


    • http://n/a Kathie Ampela


      If I could prevent another 9/11 attack in this country simply by using profiling on what I post on this or any other website, the government is more than welcome to do so. I have nothing to hide. In fact, I’m offering the government a little assistance:

      White, christian, 40-something female New Yorker. Hope that helps!

      All the best,

  • Wil Burns

    Hey Bernie, What do you think about what Ted Nugent said in England this week:

    Gosh, it seems like only yesterday that American singers could get themselves in big trouble by going to a foreign country and criticizing the President of the United States. They had their records burned, were subjected to death threats and blackballed from radio stations.

    That was then and this is now. Here’s Ted Nugent in England this week:

    “I think that Barack Hussein Obama should be put in jail. It is clear that Barack Hussein Obama is a communist. Mao Tse Tung lives and his name is Barack Hussein Obama. This country should be ashamed. I wanna throw up.”

    It’s a good thing he didn’t say that he was ashamed of him. Them’s fighting words.

    • Tim Ned

      Imagine that. A conservative musician going overseas and criticizing the president. I thought this right was reserved for liberal ex-presidents such as Carter!

      • Ron Kean

        Actually, it used to be that being a communist was bad. Stalin, Mao and the rest murdered millions and threatened to take over the world. Van Jones, William Ayres, Franklin Marshall Davis… Now communists are old best friends of the President of the United States. Pals you might say. Strong influences. Mentors.

        No denying that.

    • EddieD_Boston

      Liberals are free to burn his records. I don’t see anything stopping them.

  • Ted Kalal

    A black man passes by a car in the parking lot of a shopping mall and the woman inside quickly locks her door. A black man enters an elevator and a white woman holds her purse more tightly. A black man or woman looks at clothes in a department store and a sales clerk trails them to make sure there will be no shoplifting.

    That’s profiling. Not religious, but racial. We do it here in America every day.

    Concealed carry licensing is growing very rapidly; why? Not so that some wannabe hero can jump in and save the world, but because the gun licensed person feels they need more safety than what they feel is provided.

    That’s the lack of trust in the system that is supposed to protect us.

    On the cable news programs, lefties and righties argue the pros and cons of profiling. What I see is that apparently most have no idea of what profiling really is. It’s awareness that some people manifest the propensity to ruin the lives of others. Their overall appearance, behavior, credentials, origin, religion, etc. help to focus on the troublesome ones.

    It’s not just religion. It’s the whole package, including the explosive package that terrorists bring with them to blow us all up.

    I suppose many feel that profiling is an invasion of their privacy. It is, get over it. I believe these people believe that the “next terrorist attack” will kill someone else. They’re right; it will probably fall on some other poor souls. But don’t we all have a responsibility to not only protect ourselves, but those others who would probably work to protect us?

    We’re in this together and as soon as we “all” become aware of it, we will still be floundering.

    • Bill

      I agree 1,000% with Ted’s sentiments. The type of profiling we’re talking about is based upon a person’s everyday experience and sense of danger, not racial hatred. However, the opponents of profiling who are so obsessed with political correctness always argue that it is the victims of violence who are at fault. These people are almost always Leftist/Liberals. Conservatives, on the other hand, are usually the ones who have to step forward and take common-sense action to protect everyone else – and always get criticized as being “reactionary,” “racist,” and “bigoted.” That’s why there has always been a great tension and distrust between Leftist/Liberals and law enforcement and the military. Fortunately for the Leftists/Liberals, they are snuggling safely in their beds at night due to the efforts of the very folks they disdain. Its pathetic!

  • Gloria H

    Mr. Goldberg,

    You make so much sense! Profiling is a law enforcement technique proven effective for centuries! Profiling is born out of common sense, and BASIC LOGIC. Why is the TSA unable to implement such a simple, useful concept?

  • Capn Eddie Ricketyback

    What a can of worms. Makes me glad I haven’t been aboard an airliner since about 1996, and I made my living as a military and commercial aviator for about 30 years.

    It’s a damn shame when every sentient individual knows how to protect ourselves from these killers but those who are responsible for our safety won’t do it because of “political correctness.”

  • Kathie Ampela

    I feel much safer now! And this article appeared in Time – even Obamamedia can’t provide cover for this!,8599,1949329,00.html

  • EddieD_Boston

    Profiling is how sane, rational adults keep themselves safe. Any talk otherwise is silly and childish. And irresponsible!

  • Ellie

    What I mean is that they profiled him as a non-dangerous and they were wrong. We have to apply profiling techniques that will give us the right outcome.

  • Ellie

    They profiled him at Amsterdam – black guy – full pants :) Turn out he enhanced himself with some explosives. They go to stop profiling and start checking.

  • Marilyn

    You’re absolutely right.

  • Jane R

    Mr. Goldberg,

    Awww … thanks for the refreshing brain breeze of “beyond obvious”. With your voice, perhaps the security of intelligent thought in America will not be hijacked and destroyed.

  • Kathie Ampela

    The ‘can of worms’ factor:

    It’s either this or racial profiling. What do you think?

  • Bill Fisher

    Excellent article, Sir. The BS security today is only to make the naïve sheep feel safe and that was just proven on the 25th. The ACLU seems concerned with everyone’s “rights” except conservative Americans’.
    I am all for profiling those responsible for virtually all acts of terrorism–Arab Muslims and if they don’t like it, they can stay home in their 12th century countries with their 12th century beliefs.

  • Kathie Ampela

    Another no-brainer. When the choice is everyone having to submit to full naked frontal body scans and anal cavity searches or profiling young, muslim males which do you think most Americans will choose? I mean this is putting even extreme liberal beliefs to the test. I want to see a member of the ACLU strip searched and examined rectally before boarding a plane. The underwear/crotch bomber has clarified the issue for us, I think. Why do you think more liberals haven’t posted angry comments regarding Bernie’s column?

    • Chris

      True. When liberals don’t rant and rave in disagreement then the argument being made is hitting very close to home.

      • Wil Burns

        Kathie Ampela says: I want to see a member of the ACLU strip searched and examined rectally before boarding a plane.>>

        I’m a member of the ACLU…now you want to see what? What a weirdo you must be!

        • dave65

          I just threw up in my mouth with that thought, No body wants to see your willy, willy!

        • http://n/a Kathie Ampela

          Not a weirdo-just trying make a point about liberal hypocrisy. Where is your mind? WHy do you keep posting here-like picking fights in the school yard? Got your milk money stolen one too many times in school? I CARE about the safety and security of this country more than protecting the rights of terrorists!! I also care more about the safety and security of my 3 year old son more than the current administration does (or the ACLU for that matter) Get a life!

          • Wil Burns

            Kathie, You seem to have a lot to say, but no one else can. How special you must be! BTW, I was a school yard bully.

          • http://n/a Kathie Ampela

            Congrats on being a school yard bully. I wasn’t.

  • Leland

    I agree with you. Keep on writing.

  • Tim Ned

    Having been to Israel a few times doesn’t make me an expert but, the methods described by Bernie are best described as “Un-profiling”.

    Israel security knows the makeup of their enemy and I believe it has nothing to do with the color of the eyes, hair, or skin. When they ask you if you are having a good day as you enter a shopping mall they could care less. They want your accent! Scrutiny is on everyone and they are very good at seeing issues that are out of the ordinary as the suicide bombers try to blend in. This is how they catch suicide bombers disguised in the traditional dress of Orthodox Jews when they are walking with a backpack. Do they profile? Of course they do!

    The “Fruit of the Loom” bomber could have been stopped by good profiling as the Israeli’s use. And it has nothing to do with race. Perhaps someday our officials will understand this and then grandma from Peoria won’t be strip searched because a random number came up.

  • PJ

    With a name like Barack Hussein Obama, if he ever flew commercially, the (choke! cough! I find it hard to call him President) President would be the first one I’d profile. Maybe that wouldn’t be such a bad idea because I’m not too sure how much he cares about the safety of the American people versus his legacy or whatever he calls it. Loved the column. I’m not a radical…just fed up with this administration & their posturing.

  • Johnny Utah

    while we may be saddled with incompetent TSA and government in general, I’ve found flight attendants to be very alert and in tune with who might be troublemakers, profiling all the way. and terrorists got away with complacent passengers for a few flights on Sept. 11, but they’re not getting away with it now.

    Even if the government won’t do it, people know what’s right. and they’re not going down without a fight.

  • Jay Kersting


    I agree with you 100% on this, but it does leave one thought in my mind.

    Think of how different Roderick Thorpe’s book “Nothing Lasts Forever” (which became the movie “Die Hard”) would have been if Joe Leland (John McClane in the movie) couldn’t have had his gun with him when flying to LA.

    I know, I know…fiction.

  • Bob B.


    The FBI has trained profilers, and they construct profiles of serial killers and the like. You know… white, male, loner. Apparently it’s OK to profile until you run into a profile element that is politically incorrect like “Muslim”. It looks like it may take a planeload or two dying at the hands of terrorists before this administration wakes up. The jihadists must laugh at us as we tie ourselves up in knots imposing procedures that are based on the premise that everyone is an equal threat. THEY ARE NOT! This is not only obvious, but as you said, beyond obvious. Our enemies may not be in uniform, but so far there is a very predictable pattern. Let’s start with young, male, and Muslim. Our “leaders” need to get a spine, and stand up to CAIR, the ACLU, etc., and start doing sensible screening. The evidence is very empirical. Just put on a board photos of the 9/11 terrorists, Madrid/London train bombers, Major Hassan, Little Rock recruiter murderer, and all of the plotters here and abroad who have been caught before they could act. I’m sure I have left out some, but all are young, male and Muslim. This is not prejudice, this is reacting rationally to empirical data. Those on the left love to point out Terry McVeigh and a couple killers of abortion doctors to rebut arguments like this. So add them to my theoretical board, but if we are going that far back, let’s also add the photos of the bombers of the Cole, Khobar Towers, 1993 WTC, millennium bomber to name a few. When all is said and done, I wager that over 95% of the terrorists identified so far fit the profile (young, male, Muslim). As Jack Webb said, “just the facts ma’am”. We ignore them at our peril. Only the willfully blind cannot (choose not) to see this. Political correctness is already killing people (Major Hassan). Wake up Obama!

  • Richard

    How many Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddists have tried to blow up themselves and their traveling companions? I rest your case!

    • EddieD_Boston

      Spot on, as a liberal would say. Also, it’s NOT racial profiling. It’s terrorist profiling. But liberals are too clueless to grasp this simple fact. The dimwit Wil Burns (he got beat up for his second L in Jr. High) doesn’t consider the Ft Hood rampage to be an act of terrorism. The guy was just stressed out from going to therapy sessions in rush hour traffic. PTSD and all that. Plus, the poor guy had to suffer through 8 years of a president who actually was adult enough to see the threat for what it is. Poor soul.

    • Bill

      A guy in my office is a native of Connecticut and is a real New England liberal. In discussing this issue of the “Pantie Bomber” he sais we can’t just target Arabs, Muslims and “dark people,” because it is “possible” that white folks from Utah or North Dakota “could” be recruited as bombers. He said profiling was evil and wrong. A few minutes later he stated that it took him longer to get back to the office from an appointment because he had to take a rout around “the bad area of town” which he tries to avoid. Huh? Are liberals really that nuts?

  • JDodson1220

    It reminds me of that joke about the scorpion. The one with the frog who wants its help over the stream by riding on its back and the frog says at first, “no you’ll sting me” and the scorpion promises not too but does and they both die and then the frog asks why he stung him and the scorpion says, “it’s in my nature”.

  • Jon


  • AJ Federation

    I think we should profile as you suggest, as well as install full body scans for that additional profiling. This feel-good security is a false sense of security. The trouble with measures done domestically would only likely find our 9/11 hijackers. But they won’t find Umar the crotch bomber, and that shoe bomber. Our trans-Atlantic flights into the US need screening methods into the country that are effective. Profiling would do it, as would full body scanners.

    Regardless, none of the measures made since 9/11 would have stopped the mid-flight bombers. The passengers have proved time and again they are the only line of defense. Whether a foreign airport can effectively profile or not has much wait and see. Armed Air Marshals on the other hand, would prove a powerful ally to passengers. They could arrest the failing terrorists mid-flight, and get them to Guantanamo Bay. Not all that different from the Israeli government who find terrorists in their planes and airports.

  • Donna (Texas)

    I liked the article…very true. Personally though, I’ll really won’t be surprised if people start deciding to drive or take a train rather than planes. The industry is really going to suffer more than it already has. A horse and buggy looks pretty good right now.

    What Really gets me is, people want “guaranteed safty” in everything they do! The same with health care. It’s not going to happen…there will be cause for alarm in all things. Profiling? You bet! I say go for it…I’m sick of all the progressive ideas. They have damaged our country almost beyond repair.

    I pray we can turn this country around in 2010…

  • Nancy

    Right on Brother Bernard! I do not mind the extra security. I didn’t even mind when a TSA agent threw out a new jar of body lotion because it was not the correct size. I DO mind that they refuse to use common sense but instead rely on idiotic political correctness, which is not correct in any way, shape, or form. Heaven forbid that we apply logic and actual intelligence (I am talking about what God puts in our heads, not what the government pretends to collect) to keep people safe. Lets give in to the bullies and be manipulated by cries of ‘racist’ or whatever the catch phrase of the day happens to be. If pulling someone out of line because he is a male, of Arab descent, with a ticket bought with cash and no luggage is the way to keep everyone safe, DO IT!! And then stuff a sock in the mouths of the loony libs and ACLU lawyers who are clownishly yelling about civil rights. Make them be the ones to sit down with their hands in their laps and nothing else and not allow them to go to the bathroom for over an hour.

  • Steven M

    Agree 100%, profile them and if they don’t like it, take the train!

  • Jesse D. Orozco

    Way back in 1992, at Newark Airport, an eagle-eyed TSA “agent” told me I couldn’t bring my art scissors, which were in my carry-on Artbox, onto the airplane. Since my ride to the airport had already left, I had to ditch them in a trash can before I could go back through security … where they promptly let me go through, complete with the X-Acto knife still in the same Artbox.

    Being an art student at the time, I couldn’t afford to lose the scissors, but, hey, at least the passengers were safer without me havin’ ’em, right? Right.

    In my only trip to Colombia (Bogota, to be exact), I (and my family) was stopped and frisked/checked no less than three times at the airport, not only when I arrived but also a week later, when I departed. They check purses and baggage at all of the major malls there, also. The Colombians have to live with terrorists in their country, and don’t mess around with those terrorists’ “rights.” Was all of this checking annoying? A little. Did I feel safer because of it? Yes.

  • Chuck Bernard

    GREAT article. Jeff Schrieber at America’s Right cited it and heaped praise onto Mr. Goldberg (he’s the one responsible for creating a conservative-libertarian monster out of a former liberal Democrat).

    And theres a great photograph there of a Muslim TSA agent frisking a nun.

  • Bill

    When 18-year old females from Encino, California, or 80-year old veterans from Salt Lake City are routinely involved in terrorist acts, then I will get over the inane screening performed at the airports. Until then, I will maintain that we should screen and body search only those who are members of the Muslim faith, persons from countries known to harbor terrorists, and those who otherwise fit the well-known profiles (i.e., one way tickets, etc.). If 100% of the 14,600 plus terrorist acts since 9/11 are Muslims, why is it improper to profile each and every one of them when traveling on all airlines? The so-called “Religion of Peace” has wreaked havoc al over the globe for years and we’re still pulling aside and hastling little old ladies at airports? Why? To satisfy the ACLU and politically correct liberals? I say “screw them.”

  • Ron Kean

    I don’t care. They can ask any question, make me take off or separate any metal thing, and I’ll never take a tube of toothpaste with me again.

    I’ve lost 2 little swiss army knives which I accidentally forgot to take off my keychain. I won’t lose a third and I hope nobody else has one on board.

    The price is way too high for laxity.

  • Michael

    The TSA confiscated our daughters’ snow globes on a trip back from Savannah, Georgia.

    At 5 and 7, they looked very dangerous I guess. I know rules are rules, but common sense should have a place in this.

  • Sheryl

    Thanks for posting what’s always on my mind Mr. Goldberg. The idiocy of our government officials never ceases to amaze and sadden me. I fly with homeopathic remedies and I am subjected to an inordinate amount of additional scrutiny (which I don’t mind and happily submit to) and yet somehow it remains some sort of “sin” to observe obvious signs of potential terrorism in folks with a strange name. I’m sick of the “civil rights” argument. No one (including the illustrious ACLU) seem to give a rip that my civil rights are violated every single time I step in to a “security” line at the airport. I am deeply concerned that the bureaucracy we’ve created is completely incapable of protecting us because it has neutered the only agencies that can, in fact, protect us.

    I predict our future will see more bombing attempts, a few successes and a full “frontal” assault on honest, hardworking, law abiding American citizens to appease the radical muslim jihadi supporters residing in our country. I hope I’m wrong, but with Mr. Obama and Janet Napolitano in charge, our security is in serious doubt.

    • Wil Burns

      Benjamin Franklin’s famous quote, “Those who would give up Essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”

      Sheryl, Was Ben wrong? And BTW, We have had no 9-11 attacks since Jan. 20, 2009!

      • Jeff


        Was Ben around when the American Criminal Lovers’ Union started clamoring to give terrorists and pedophiles legal protections free of charge? (Aside: the quote you cited would be a great thing to read to anyone who supports the government forcing people to buy health insurance.)

        And BTW, in the last few months radical Muslims have committed 3 violent acts against Americans, and the BO administration reacted like blind idiots each time.

        Forgive me if I don’t share your love for a president who, had he been in charge 9/11/01, would’ve responded with: “Rest assured, I will see to it that every person involved with this assault on 3,000 Americans will, courtesy of you taxpayers, receive every Constitutional right their victims’ families have access to.”

        • Wil Burns

          Forgive me if I don’t share your love for a president who, had he been in charge 9/11/01>>

          Jeff, Your love for a president (Bush) who ignored all the warnings about the impending 9-11 attack? That guy? Give me a break!

          • Stephen Shields Springfield, IL

            Wil, are you still on your mighty liberal battle against conspiracy theories that 9/11 was Bush’s fault? Seriously, are you Michael Moore’s bff or something? Inform yourself one time. Maybe then, everyone won’t think you are such clueless twit.

          • Wil Burns

            Steve, Clueless twits like yourself gave the country Bush/Cheney two times. Bush created the largest deficit in history and left the country with two wars.


            Easter Sunday Statement by the President

            THE PRESIDENT: Good morning, and Happy Magical Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Day. Yesterday, after weeks and weeks of listening to nosey reporters whine while my approval ratings sank into the crapper, I made a decision – which despite the fact that I said I’d never do it should NOT be interpreted as a Kerryesque “flip-flop” – to release one of my super-secret Presidential Daily Briefings. Now this particular PDB, entitled “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in US,” was read aloud to me by Condi Rice on August 6th, 2001 – the same exact day I was due to leave for my first of many well-deserved month-long vacations at my luxury ranch in Texas. Well today, I trust that the American people will agree I did the right thing, when after glancing over that ridiculously vague memo filled with specific references to a domestic al Qaeda attack, I promptly skipped town for thirty fun-filled days of golf, jogging, and naps. Thank you.

          • Stephen Shields Springfield, IL

            I didn’t even vote for Bush your moron!

        • Wil Burns

          Hey Jeff, Brian Ross of ABC News reports that two of the four men behind the plot to blow up a U.S. airliner on Christmas Day were actually prisoners of the United States and that, under Bush, were released into a Saudi art rehabilitation program.

          According to Defense Department records, Muhamad Attik al-Harbi (now known as Muhamad al-Awfi) and Said Ali Shari were released from detention at Guantanamo Bay in 2007 despite allegations of material support for military operations in Afghanistan.

      • EddieD_Boston

        You mean the shootings and murders at Ft Hood don’t count? Oh I forgot, the murdering terrorist suffered from PTSD from his work as a shrink and it was Bush that caused him to become a soldier of allah. God you’re an idiot. You pretty much sum up liberalism: a completely clueless fool that lives in a child-like dream world and let’s his/her emotions trump all facts to the contrary. Seriously, go look for attention someplace else. Please.

        • Wil Burns

          You mean the shootings and murders at Ft Hood don’t count?>>

          Hell no! One guy going beserk is a terrorist attack! Get real.

          • Jeff

            Sorry pally, you assumed wrong about how I feel about our former CIC, and the accusation libs have made about his failing to prevent the attacks are about as sensible as accusing BO of not being a U.S. citizen.

            Please feel free to share with us the proper definition of “terrorist attack,” and also share what makes you the authority on that. But here’s the real challenge for ya: try to do so without blaming President Bush for something–that’s the job of the thin-skinned little wuss currently pretending to run this country.

            Every time democrats face criticism they seem to suffer an attack of A.D.D.

          • Stephen Shields Springfield, IL

            Okay, so next time one of you liberals spouts off about how Timothy McVeigh was a terrorist we can just assume you are blowing smoke up everyone’s ass, right?

          • Wil Burns

            Timothy McVeigh Oklahoma attack destroyed the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. It was the most significant act of terrorism on American soil until the September 11 attacks in 2001, claiming the lives of 168 victims and injuring more than 680. The blast destroyed or damaged 324 buildings within a sixteen–block radius, destroyed or burned 86 cars, and shattered glass in 258 nearby buildings. The bomb was estimated to have caused at least $652 million worth of damage.

            Fort Hood shooting killed 12 soldiers and injured 32.

            Now who’s the smoke ass blowing fool? Stephen Shields…You!

          • Steve Burns

            @ Wil Burns~ You forgot to mention why McVeigh targeted the Building he blew up in the first place. Remember when the ATF and FBI killed a bunch of religous nuts near a town called Waco, Tx? I saw what our Gov’t under Pres. Clinton did to those people and remember how gung ho you lib’s were during the 2 months of terror placed on those people. We had a Gov’t that was profiling people and killing them based on those profiles. i.e. Ruby Ridge. McVeigh did not target a mall or a airplane, he attacked a gov’t building. Terrorist, sure. But not the type of terrorist we need to profile now.

          • Wil Burns

            You forgot to mention why McVeigh targeted the Building he blew up in the first place. Steve Burns>>

            Every terrorist has a “reason” for their acts of terror. What is your point? And remember it was David Koresh who murdered his followers in Texas. And BTW, the Ruby Ridge incident happened on Daddy Bush’s watch!

          • Jeff

            Wil, you scoffed at the idea that one murderous Muslim shouting the Jihadist cry while shooting up a military base would constitute a terrorist attack, but think that one murderous agnostic bombing a govt building does. Hmmm…

            I ask you once again, share with the group:

            1) What you define to be a terrorist attack, and provide specifics. Qualify the victims, the location, the perpetrator, the act, and any/all other relevant specifics.

            2) The training or education you got that qualifies you to say that an incident with the apparent elements of a terrorist attack is in fact not.

          • Stephen Shields Springfield, IL

            So, because it was only 12 people it wasn’t an act of terrorism? You’re an idiot!

          • Wil Burns

            Steve, Okay, everytime someone kills another, it’s a terrorist attack. Are you happy now?

          • Jeff

            Perhaps when you give a direct response, not the usual ducking the point like a coward.

            C’mon Wil. Aren’t you confident enough in your position to back it up with something more than wise-ass remarks?

            Now, let’s make a deal: pick door #1 (give yet another petty non-answer), door #2 (don’t answer at all), or door #3 (respond directly when you get a challenging question).

            Either you liberals have the strength of your convictions or you don’t.

          • Wil Burns

            Wil, you scoffed at the idea that one murderous Muslim shouting the Jihadist cry while shooting up a military base would constitute a terrorist attack, but think that one murderous agnostic bombing a govt building does. Hmmm… >>

            Why is the phase “terrorist act” so important to you people?Jeff, you just keep being afraid, very afraid. Don’t forget to take a blanket under your bed tonight. If I were you I wouldn’t leave my house anymore.

          • Jeff

            Wil Burns says:
            January 4, 2010 at 6:41 pm
            Why is the phase “terrorist act” so important to you people?Jeff, you just keep being afraid, very afraid. Don’t forget to take a blanket under your bed tonight. If I were you I wouldn’t leave my house anymore.

            Jeff’s response:
            Wil picked door #1, “give yet another petty non-answer”.

            Congratulations, Wil. You’ve just won the “Typical Snide, Cowardly, Intellectually-dishonest Liberal Troll” award. Please pick up your cone-shaped crown and some lovely parting gifts as you flee the debate at top speed, and thanks for playing.

          • Wil Burns

            Hey Jeff, I can understand your conservative callous, selfish disregard for others, but it your pride in it that puzzles me.

          • Wil Burns

            Jeff, I’m thinking about going into the bomb shelter building business. Do you want to order one?

            I might even give you a discount.

          • Stephen Shields Springfield, IL

            Does this mean you won’t be responding to this webiste anymore? Party in the Land of Lincoln!