A reaction to Pres. Obama’s “terror speech”

Once again we hear that we need a greater use of technology… blah blah…

Okay, let’s do that.  What is the projected budget for the U.S.?  How much money would it take to change the way we approach and actually create greater security?

I bet it would be a very small percentage of the budgets as they have increased in the last couple years.

Am I wrong?

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Jason Keener says:

    I don’t think we necessarily need more technology. We just need to be smarter with the information that is already being presented to us by these terrorists. Look at how many warning signs were associated with this Underwear Bomber (traveling alone, one-way ticket, no luggage, Muslim-sounding last name), and yet he still got on a plane. What good is all of this technology and all of these airport screenings if we can’t do anything intelligent with the information we gather? Why are the federal agencies still not talking to each other? Unreal.

    (By the way, these federal workers are the LAST people I want running the healthcare system.)

  2. Andy Lucy says:

    I keep telling people to look at how the Israelis do it. It is manpower intensive but when was the last time an El Al flight was hijacked? 1968. Those same people accuse the Israelis of profiling. I respond that we all profile every day… it is central to performing the threat assessments that we all perform daily in order to stay alive.

  3. Girgadis says:

    The last time I checked, common sense was free. If only we could get these
    agencies to use it….

  4. Whatever the Israeli’s are doing, we ought to copy…This attack was a success. he got on the plane, got by security. the glitch was the bomb didn’t go off.

    If one more terror attack happens under Obama’s watch, I think things will be getting much crazier in the US

  5. EXCHIEF says:

    Since it is clear that this administration flys by the seat of its pants with no real plan I seriously doubt this will be the last terrorist incident on BO’s watch. We are so politically correct that we will not take the reasonable,common sense approach (which DOES of necessity involve profiling) but instead will continue to treat 85 year old white female passengers from Nebraska the same way we treat middle eastern males in their 20’s

  6. catholicmidwest says:

    Obama is an idiot.

    The profile is as clear as day: young, male, from the middle east or africa, paid in cash, very little luggage. And there you have it.

    (The rest of us are too smart to put a bomb in our underpants.)

  7. catholicmidwest says:

    Maybe we’d ought to hire the Israelis for a few lessons. They live in the midst of arab-tarnation and have the safest airline in the world.

  8. Peggy R says:

    Message to Obama:

    All you do to me is talk talk, talk talk, talk talk…

  9. MargaretMN says:

    El Al’s success is hard for the US to replicate. It’s a government controlled airline that can do anything it wants regarding security and it doesn’t have to rely on multiple parties in different countries with different interests to screen passengers. The volume of people flying into Israel is also much lower. I remember reading an article about their screening, which is a multi-point process. If you hit a fixed number of their flags, you’re booted from that flight and you’ll have to find another flight. I remember a female reporter got booted from El Al for having just been to an Arab country, having been in Israel less than 24 hours and having purchased a one way ticket with travelers checks. I think Americans would balk at that.

  10. Stu says:

    This has been a problem for awhile. We rely too much on technological “solutions” and administrative procedures instead of using old-fashioned investigative work like the Israelis (as has been mentioned). The pink elephant in the room is to profile, along with other hands-on measures that require interacting with passengers.

    A few years after 9/11, I was going on an overnight trip and had only a carry-on bag. A octogenarian women and myself were stopped at the gate to be searched. I was both amused and somewhat annoyed as they went through my bags and belongings to discover my Rosary, Bible and military uniform while similarly giving the shakedown to the older woman all while the TSA agent was talking to me about vigilance. Oddly, when I flew out of Israel the investigator questioning me before getting on the plane seemed content with my credentials identifying me as an American Naval Officer and the search stopped there. Go figure.

  11. Kerry says:

    A question for the TSA. Is it possible to determine without searching, who does not need to be searched? The GWOT, having successfully beaten back all attacks by nail clippers, tweezers, soap bottle and snow globes should be renamed the War on Bacon Haters. Rumor should be started and ‘neither confirmed no denied’ that all our ordnance and munitions have been sprinkled with Holy Water, and that bacon grease and lard are replacing gun oil. Massive numbers of leaflets with pictures of Moo-ham-ed,as seen from the back, lacking the mole should be dropped almost everywhere, with special attention payed to Detroit. Whatever can be done to demoralize the jihadists should be done. These people are not trying to kill us because we haven’t been nice enough to them, and we cannot defend Christendom by searching underwear in with scanning x-ray machines.

  12. catholicmidwest says:

    If the system we have gets bad enough, they’ll stop balking. Or they won’t fly.

  13. Jordanes says:

    The president gave a “terror speech”?

    Aren’t all his speeches “terror speeches”?

  14. Jordanes says:

    For the American people, that is (and for everyone else on the planet for that matter).

  15. catholicmidwest says:

    Well, Jordanes, for some people they used to be, but even those people are getting numb and no longer listening.

    He talks too much. Yap, yap, yap. He sounds like your worst junior college professor gone viral–but no one can figure out what class he might be teaching. He’s vague.

  16. My take on this: if the people in charge, who were supposed to be doing their jobs (and I include the Prez in this), did their jobs this incident could have been prevented.
    But no.
    We have all kinds of “blame-game”, rationalization, and further impositions upon most of the travelers (who are in no way suspect) to go through hell just to get to where they are going.
    This is just insane. It is a real violation of human rights, as far as I can see.
    If those who were in “the know” knew about the “captain underpants” and did not do anything about it, THEY should have to suffer the consequences; not the thousands if not millions who travel every year.

  17. Andy Lucy says:

    “El Al’s success is hard for the US to replicate.”

    No, it isn’t. TSA is an all encompassing agency. There is no reason that it couldn’t, should it desire, take over the screening procedures for flights to the US originating in foreign countries. Or at the very least, require the airlines to follow its mandate.

    The problem will come from people screaming about the use of profiling to determine risk profiles on passengers. As has been stated, strip searching 86 year old aunt Tillie from Dubuque is an exercise in passenger humiliation to no constructive end. But until they decide to start profiling, and acting upon the information gleaned from that, no one can board a flight with confidence that potential terrorists have been weeded out.

    This boils me, since I am not allowed the means to protect myself, as “everyone” must be totally disarmed, right down to their nail clippers. My security, and that of my wife and children, rests in the hands of people who cannot make hard decisions because they are not allowed to by their superiors, who are solely interested in not offending anyone who might fit the profile of a potential terrorist. This way, lies madness.

    Needless to say, I have not flown lately, and will not until the security issue is settled to my satisfaction, as it is my life (and that of my family) which is put at risk every time we board a plane.

  18. Andy Lucy: As I have said before, I was more a “suspect”in Amsterdam, wearing a religious habit, and undergoing a very grueling “search” than this “captain underpants” which should have set off every alarm in every way…I don’t know if this is the American government or the EU’s idea of being “inclusive”, except when it comes to Catholic religious (which in the Netherlands should not be, but is, a suspect)…anyhoo, welcome to the “New World Order”, folks…read R.H. Benson’s “Lord of the World” for further info. And maybe Soliev’s (which title I cannot remember).

  19. isabella says:

    1. I think we should profile, but intelligently. Hire El Al to come give lessons in common sense. Or better yet, change the cabotage laws and let them fly here domestically. I flew in the Philippines when they had terrorist issues in the 90’s, and they apparently had talked to El Al. We were asked the same questions several times in several places and times about why, where we were flying, and some other stuff. Everybody was limited to a carry-on only – about as large as a woman’s purse with passport, money, meds. They sold food, water, books, stuff at the gates. Everything else was checked or sent ahead if it was too valuable to check. At the security checkpoints (3 before the gate), everybody was wanded, separated into lines by gender, discretely patted down. More questions just before the gate. But all this still took less than maybe a fifth of the time TSA does. We don’t have security; we have security theater.

    2. There was an interesting link on Jill Stanek’s blog about profiling. It needs to be well thought out and done right. Yes, it seems ridiculous to profile religious, Navy officers, the elderly, white women, etc. But what if that nice middle aged woman has a terrorist boyfriend who tucked a little something into her bag just before he kissed her good bye? If we only profile for young Arab looking men, they will simply substitute somebody different looking, or do it second hand. Richard Reid (shoe bomber) was white and there have been several non-Arabs caught, including (I don’t remember when) a white Irish woman whose boyfriend had put a bomb in her luggage. There were some other examples and good points, but I’m too lazy to go back and find the link.

    3. From the same link, we ALL profile every day. One of the examples he used was that if you see a wild eyed man with a bloody axe running down the road, do you assume he is a crazy murderer or a butcher rushing after a customer to give him the change he forgot? If I’m walking down the street and somebody just gives me the creeps for some reason, I cross the street and if he follows, get ready for a fight or call the police. (Can’t run b/c of upcoming knee surgery, or that would be my first choice).

    4. Finally, this is obviously one of my pet peeves, when I went to Tokyo a few years ago, I was practically strip searched *leaving* the country, but barely got a second glance *returning*. What is wrong with this picture?

    Oh well, at least it might distract Obama from his deathcare bill, so . . .

  20. chironomo says:

    The President would have to want to do something about this, which he doesn’t. His spiel during the election was that all of this “homeland security” thing was nonsense and violated civil liberties, etc…etc… It was all an invention by Bush stemming from racist hatred…etc…etc. Now he gets the briefings and finds out the truth and is faced with either continuing policies that he has already denounced, or becoming entangled in the creation of new policies that will then become the news when they lead to further problems. That’s where we are now, and in a few short days, Congress will come back and this will be a huge distraction from the healthcare bill that is his real priority. His fear is (or should be) that another “incident”, even an unsuccessful one, could derail his whole domestic agenda.

  21. chironomo says:

    Profiling will give greater attention to those who are in the profile. If the objective is to catch Arabic men under 30 years old, and you search all Arabic men under 30 with a very high acceptance threshold, you will likely thwart all male Arabic terrorists under 30 from getting on planes with weapons. You might miss the Russian terror group member (I don’t know that there is such a thing… I’m making an example here) or the female Ugandan Al-Quaeda “mule”. But given the predominance of a particular profile among terrorists, you increase the odds of stopping them. The wider the profile (both male and female/ Arabic and North African Origin/ traveled recently to key countries…etc) the more likely you will uncover suspects. Israel has such a wide net (essentially everybody) that it has managed to provide relatively high level security.

    The question is…how big of a net will Americans tolerate?

  22. Bryan says:

    Google a book called ‘The Myth of Homeland Security’ by a good friend of mine, Marcus Ranum. (Known him for over 20 years, and, while I don’t necessarily agree with his political or religious orientation (he’s an avowed athiest…).

    I think it may be out of print. But, it is available, last I checked, from Amazon.

    Security theater is what TSA does best. Why do they pat search 80 year old grandmothers? Because they can, and no one will complain. Why do they not profile (which is what El Al and the Israeli security forces do?)? Because the soft-headed MSM and their useful idiots (or is it the other way?) want to be seen as tolerant, progressive, and who knows what.

    The government has to be seen as “Doing Something”. Having been in information, physical, and network security for, oh, 30 years or so, and currently wrapping up a very long 6 years of working for the borg, I can say that appearance is everything, at least where it comes to the career bureaucrat.

    Remember, the same type of people that are in the TSA (also known as “Thousands Standing Around”) are the ones you will find in the New and Improved Socialist Health Care System being designed and forced down our throats by Congress.

    Be afraid. (And that’s why I fly myself to where I need to be rather than exposing myself to the whims of some TSA flunky).

  23. dcs says:

    Whatever the Israeli’s are doing, we ought to copy

    Unfortunately the U.S. doesn’t have a superpower ally to pay for all of these things.

  24. Stu says:

    The notion that profiling only means looking at young Arabic men is fallacious. That is but one discriminator at the hands of an effective investigator. And indeed, an old woman could be a terrorist or could have something planted upon her. But I would prefer we fish where the fish are and not get bogged down in frisking old people. Give me a “Columbo” at every gate vice the over-reliance on technology and administrative hurdles.

  25. ssoldie says:

    He (B.O.) is not and never has been, Presidental material, all he has ever done is talk,talk,talk, his only job has been a community agitator, and that I have deduced from what he reads and who he associates with and who his mentors have been. But he won, and we get what we deserve when we don’t use God given common sense. I hope and pray this election year of 2010, will produce that, and the natural law of God, to bring us back to sanity both in the Catholic Church and the Republic of America.

  26. chironomo says:


    I don’t think anybody thinks that profiling means looking only at young Arab men. Profiling means looking at whatever the specific profile designates. The question isn’t really whether we profile or not, but what we designate that profile to be. To take it to a ridiculous extreme, we already profile…we only search people who are flying on planes. Many pepole believe that the profile should be narrowed quite a bit more so as to only search specific people who are flying on planes, or at least to search such persons more rigorously.

  27. wanda says:

    Jordanes, You hit the nail on the head, all O’s speeches are terror speeches, striking terror in the hearts of the un-born children whose blood he may have to answer for. I’m sure improving security would cost a drop in the bucket compared to the funds that have been let loose to kill un-born children, not just here but around the world.

    Have Mercy, O Lord, have mercy on us.
    St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle..

  28. Bornacatholic says:

    April 15, 2004, 8:49 a.m.

    Listen to Lehman

    The press attention is on the wrong commissioners.

    By Michael Smerconish

    Richard Ben-Veniste and Bob Kerrey received the lion’s share of media attention paid to last week’s 9/11 Commission hearing with Condoleezza Rice, thanks to their generally intemperate questioning style. But while Ben-Veniste and Kerrey played to the cameras, it was their colleague, John Lehman, who was breaking new ground with the national-security adviser, but few noticed.

    Lehman’s focus was the transition between the Clinton and Bush administrations. He told Rice that he was “struck by the continuity of the policies rather than the differences,” and then he proceeded to ask Rice a series of blunt questions as to what she was told during the transition.

    Among Lehman’s questions was this: “Were you aware that it was the policy…to fine airlines if they have more than two young Arab males in secondary questioning because that’s discriminatory?”

    Rice replied: “No, I have to say that the kind of inside arrangements for the FAA are not really in my….” (Lehman quickly followed up: “Well, these are not so inside.”)

    Watching the hearings on television with the rest of the nation, I wondered what in the world Secretary Lehman was talking about. This, I’d never heard before. Was he saying that the security of our airlines had been sacrificed by political correctness? A few days after the klieg lights had faded, I had the chance to ask him.

    “We had testimony a couple of months ago from the past president of United, and current president of American Airlines that kind of shocked us all,” Lehman told me. “They said under oath that indeed the Department of Transportation continued to fine any airline that was caught having more than two people of the same ethnic persuasion in a secondary line for line for questioning, including and especially, two Arabs.”

    Wait a minute. So if airline security had three suspicious Arab guys they had had to let one go because they’d reached a quota?

    That was it, Lehman said, “because of this political correctness that became so entrenched in the 1990s, and continues in current administration. No one approves of racial profiling, that is not the issue. The fact is that Norwegian women are not, and 85-year-old women with aluminum walkers are not, the source of the terrorist threat.

    The fact is that our enemy is the violent Islamic extremism and the overwhelming number of people that one need to worry about are young Arab males, and to ask them a couple of extra questions seems to me to be common sense, yet if an airline does that in numbers that are more than proportionate to their number in particular line, then they get fined and that is why you see so many blue haired old ladies and people that are clearly not of Middle Eastern extraction being hauled out in such numbers because otherwise they get fined.”

    Wow. How refreshing to hear somebody tell it like it is. Too bad this critically important subject is not receiving the attention afforded to items like the PDB of August 6, 2001. Judging by Secretary Lehman’s question of Dr. Rice, this ridiculous policy might still be in place by the Department of Transportation, which would mean our airlines continue to be exposed to great risk of terrorists who travels in threes!

    So I ran all of this by Herb Kelleher, the legendary chairman of Southwest Airlines. Kelleher confirmed it, and that it began during the Clinton administration. The Justice Department said it was “concerned about equality of treatment with respect to screening.” Kelleher said, “The random element was put in…where you just choose people at random as opposed to picking them out for some particular reason, and that of course caused a great many more people to be screened.”

    “So we don’t offend?” I asked.

    “That was the root of it, yes,” he said…

    Remarkable, no?

    Clinton institutes a Policy based upon the Liberal Principle of Non-Discrimination and Dubya continued it.

    American Leaders, keeping we Christians vulnerable and exposed to Muslim Jihad to keep the bright shiny Ideological Lie of Non-Discrimination untarnished by reality.

  29. irishgirl says:

    The people in charge of transportation security should rely less on technology and more on their BRAINS-that is, if they have any!

    They should take some tips from the Israelis-but they won’t because of ‘political correctness’!

    Well, to heck with PC [and I don’t mean ‘personal computers’ here]! American lives are at stake!

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