Who’s Ready for Profiling?

Numerous transit stops through Frankfurt Main Airport in Germany over the years have wisened me to a no nonsense European security procedure: passenger profiling.

When coming back from Africa, the Middle East or Central Asia, uniformed guards (with guns) will board the Lufthansa jetway or stand at the bottom of the ramp to “screen” fellow travelers.

Out on the cold, distant tarmac, far from the terminal, make sure you have your passport, return ticket and other documentation in order. Better have a good local contact and a plausible story.

If your name is Mustafa, you will be detained and questioned. Count on it.

I’ve witnessed this for more than a decade. In fact, I remember Israeli intelligence coming aboard our Cyprus Airways plane when we landed at Tel Aviv airport in 1972. Every passport was checked, every passenger identity scrutinized. All before the plane was eventually emptied and passengers were even allowed to line-up for immigration.

My take?

PROFILE ALL YOU WANT…if it leads to a safer airplane ride.

Your constitutional rights mean very little when you’ve just been blown to smithereens in mid-air by a Muslim extremist who wasn’t detained at Amsterdam Airport because he should have been on a NO FLY list.

Oh, by the way, safe travels in 2010!


2 thoughts on “Who’s Ready for Profiling?

  1. There haven’t been any airborne Timothy McVeighs to date, or at least not recently. Base the profiling on the significant characteristics of whoever you observe blowing up planes. No need to bring religious or political persuasion directly into it, except to make the observation that those are a significant facet of person’s identity.

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