Lessening Air Travel and Refugees’ Risks

By Rachel hrenfeld
Thursday, May 26th, 2016 @ 5:01PM

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Hiring more TSA agents may shorten the lines of passengers waiting to go through airport security, but this will do little to ensure they safely arrive at their destination. And shortcutting Syrian refugees vetting procedures from 12 or 18 months to a few days, increases the risk of bringing jihadists and their sympathizers into the country.

While it is necessary to screen passengers and their luggage for explosives and weapons. And while there is an added deterrence factor in doing so publically, such screenings are not enough to better secure airports and airplanes waiting to take off.

Rushing through proper vetting of TSA agents to cut down on long lines of passengers, or drastically reducing the screening of Syrian refugees, many are undocumented and unknown numbers using false passports, could pose a serious threat to the United States. But even if done properly, such screening tells nothing about their tendencies.

Moreover, political correctness enforced by the U.S. and European governments and potential legal harassment from Islamic organizations have conditioned many to turn a blind eye to potential security risks.

How many among the growing numbers of supporters of radical Muslim groups are posing as refugees? How many are working at airports? How many are looking for ways to exploit security gaps? How can they be identified before they carry out an attack?

Workers allowed to airports restricted areas and on planes are supposed to go through security checks each and every time. However, as of last month, according to TSA Administrator Robert Neffenger, only Atlanta, Miami, and Orlando airports required “employees to go through a security check before entering “secured” areas of the airport.”

What happens with maintenance, cleaning, and catering contractors’ employees, who have no criminal background and have never appeared on on any security agency’s suspect list?  Moreover, as we have been witnessing lately, the contamination of Islamic radicalization often comes with no warning signs. If that happens, they could easily conceal an explosive material, a weapon or a harmful substance inside their catering cart or stuff, or their cleaning tools or products.

Shabtai Shoval, the co-founder of the Israeli Suspect Detection Systems (SDS) Company, points out, the “basic preconditions to carry out a terrorist attack: intent, capability, and opportunity. When one has the intention to attack, the capability, and opportunity will present themselves, eventually.”

Thus, aircrew, maintenance, and catering staff with access to the planes may present a bigger threat than the passengers.  While we know of several pilots who deliberately crashed their planes, there were several instances where sabotage on the ground by airport employees was suspected. The attack on Brussels airport has shown that some of the employees were  ISIS sympathizers. Who knows how many airline and airport employees may be willing participants in such attacks?  And how can we find out others could be manipulated or into cooperating with terrorists?

The prevention of a terrorist attack is more likely to succeed when the presence of a hostile intent could be detected in real time. The SDS is using an automated interviewing decision-making system with varying stimuli, which is “adaptable to a variety of different questioning contexts,” with different languages and adjusted to different cultures, which allows the timely detection of such intent. The examination lasts between 6 to 15 minutes. The  “Such systems can question employees, contract workers or passenger and find if any of them joined or collaborated with ISIS, for example,” says Shabtai Shoval, the co-founder of the Israeli Suspect Detection Systems (SDS) Company. He points out the “basic preconditions to carry out a terrorist attack are: intent, capability, and opportunity. When one has the intention to attack, the capability, and opportunity will present themselves, eventually.”

The SDS helps discover the hostile intent of asylum-seeker refugees and immigrants asking for a visa, as well as airport employees and passengers, among others. Using such efficient systems would surely lower the risk of admitting jihad-sympathizers to the country or blowing up an airplane. But the Obama administration has no intention to use such systems. 

The government refrains from using the SDS system for vetting refugees and applicants for U.S, visas or for TSA screening. Why?  Reportedly, because DHS’s preposterous claims that such scrutiny would constitute an intrusion on the privacy of those screened by the system.

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Categories: air travel security, immigrants, Latest News, passangers, Refugees, screening, Suspect Detection System, TSA