The US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will require all travelers flying into the US from "terror-prone countries" to be patted down and undergo physical search of their carry on items. The countries include Nigeria, Pakistan, Yemen, Iran, Sudan and Syria, among others. (Strange, no Afghanistan on the list.)
Maybe it's not exactly racial profiling, but it's some kind of profiling, or so it seems. Instead of being pulled aside for "looking Arab" travelers will be pulled aside for being Arab since most travelers from these countries will be Arab or Muslims. Is this misguided or a good idea?
Couple of problems here: are they going to pat down "private areas"? If not, terrorists will hide whatever in their BVD's or whatever terrorists wear these days. Plus, won't terrorists just fly from these 14 countries, to, say, France on a separate ticket, and then onward to the US from there?
We'd be interested to learn how TSA will enforce this. Will they have TSA agents at all security lanes watching, say, their Syrian or Iranian counterparts? Unlikely, right? Could an Iranian airport screener be in cahoots with a potential terrorist and wave him or her through? Even well-trained TSA agents in this country miss things sometimes.
And let's face it, terrorists are everywhere. Some of them have US and EU passports and don't even need visas to visit the US. At best, this is just another knee-jerk reaction.
What's really needed is for these measures to be enforced for everyone who flies, but that will never happen. Or we'll need to deploy new technology that can detect explosives and other weapons, even if inserted into a body cavity. That will be expensive, take time, and require cooperation from every airport and country.