The legitimacy of profiling

A dereliction in overlooking the obvious

By John Winn
Washington Times
12/30/2009

In light of the attempted Christmas Day bombing aboard Northwest Airlines Flight 253, it was certainly appropriate that President Obama directed a review of airline screening policies and procedures.

It is unlikely, however, that the current administration will re-evaluate long-standing policies prohibiting ethnic or gender-based terror profiling.

Nevertheless, failure to make common-sense changes may increase the chance that persons like Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab or “shoe-bomber” Richard Reid (aka Abdul Raheem) will one day succeed in detonating a bomb aboard a commercial aircraft.

Considering the explosive power of PETN (the explosive apparently utilized in both incidents), we can count ourselves as extraordinarily lucky that no American lives have been lost in such an attack thus far.

Unfortunately, political correctness and misguided past applications of racial profiling by domestic law enforcement have poisoned the profiling well in the war on terrorism (or whatever the Obama administration calls its counterterrorism policy this month).

While ethnic minorities are statistically no more likely than whites to violate domestic laws, 32 of the 45 groups recognized as “foreign terrorist organizations” by the State Department are Islamist in orientation with direct ties to the Middle East, the Arabian Gulf region, Africa or South Asia.

The article continues at the Washington Times

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