Why don’t we start profiling for terrorists and stop trying to put everyone from toddlers to granny through the same security procedures at airports? We’re wasting money, time and the people’s patience in an effort to be politically correct. In the end, it’s not keeping us any safer; if anything it’s making us less safe since it’s diverting resources that could otherwise be used on better intelligence gathering, or developing screening devices for cargo on commercial and civilian aircraft, or checking containers before they enter U.S. ports.
Ultimately, though, the debate over whether to use the new scanners or not isn’t a choice between privacy and security – because we’re not getting security where we need it – we’re reacting to the last type of terrorist threat, not the current one or the next one.
Supposedly, these body scanners may, or may not(!) prevent the next underwear bomber, but again, let’s use some common sense – Al Qaeda has moved on! They’re putting bombs in UPS packages that make their way from cargo planes to passenger planes. They're plotting to place bombs inside bodies – the human bodies of suicide bombers, or of corpses or even animals – which will then be detonated remotely once in plane is in flight. Full body scanners are useless against those threats!
Al Qaeda’s pattern has been to constantly adapt their offense, and force us into spending valuable resources on defense. While we’re busy focusing on preventing the last attack, they’ve moved on to the next one.
Al Qaeda terrorists hijacked aircraft on Sept 11, 2001. We’ve now got locked cockpit doors and we prohibit box cutters on airplanes. They put bombs in checked luggage; we now match every checked bag to a passenger. They put bombs on passengers – in their shoes, in their carry ons, in their underwear; we now take off our shoes, open our lap tops, and put everything through metal detectors. Body scanners and pat downs are our latest security effort.
But, let me say it again, the terrorists have moved on – the UPS packages sent last month were a dry run for their next move – to put bombs in cargo that is then loaded onto civilian or cargo aircraft and detonated to blow up over major population centers.
There's a saying in the military that generals always prepare to fight the last war, well apparently so do Homeland Security officials. Let’s use some common sense and start looking for terrorists, not frisking toddlers. And let’s put our resources into protecting all of us from the next attack, not the last one.
Kathleen Troia "K.T." McFarland is a Fox News National Security Analyst and host of FoxNews.com's DefCon 3. She is a Distinguished Adviser to the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies and served in national security posts in the Nixon, Ford and Reagan administrations. She wrote Secretary of Defense Weinberger’s November 1984 "Principles of War Speech" which laid out the Weinberger Doctrine. Be sure to watch "K.T." every Monday at 10 a.m. ET on FoxNews.com's "DefCon3" already one of the Web's most watched national security programs.