Video: Why don't airports use profiling?

By Kerry Sanders Correspondent
NBC News
updated 8/23/2006 12:28:49 PM ET 2006-08-23T16:28:49

Many Americans think they know what a terrorist looks like. But some just don't fit the "terrorist profile" created after we learned the identities of the 9/11 hijackers: Young, Arab, Muslim.

Still, there's a growing chorus in the United States demanding airport authorities profile passengers using just that criteria, even though the Supreme Court has ruled racial profiling unconstitutional.

"You should check the main people that's trying to do damage to us, which is, unfortunately, is the Muslim community," says airline passenger Otis Jones.

Sgt. Kevin Dougherty and his team at Miami International Airport are among a very few in this country trained by the Israelis to look for unusual behavior patterns. Is a forehead sweaty when everyone else is cool in the air-conditioning? Is a passenger constantly looking down? Most look up at monitors and signs. Is personal luggage ignored for long periods of time?

The techniques were developed in Israel, where racial profiling is accepted and where the behavior of passengers is monitored from the moment they get out at curbside.

"We're not focusing on people because of the color of their skin," Dougherty says. "We don't care if they worship at a mosque, a temple, a church, a storefront — it doesn't matter. We're looking for behavior.

A behavior that says there's something wrong, not with the way people look, but with the way they act.

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