Video: Travel security measures move forward

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updated 1/13/2004 2:56:53 PM ET 2004-01-13T19:56:53

It seems almost every time the government attempts to enact any anti-terror measure, civil libertarians protest with the same old arguments.  The latest example is the government‘s effort to better assess which airline passengers could be possible terrorists. 

Rather than randomly searching grandmothers from Missouri, or using outdated assumptions about one-way tickets or paying cash, a new computerized system would collect certain basic information about the traveler. 

First they make sure the traveler is who or she claims and then assign a risk rating.  Those who get a red rating can‘t board.  It‘s going to be a very small percentage.  Yellows get additional scrutiny, and green means they go through the fast lane.  The system will in particular look for wanted criminals or possible terrorists. 

But the ACLU complains that it will  “create two classes of airline travelers.” 

Yes, that‘s the point.  Rather than targeting everyone, a few will be delayed based on certain identifiable risk factors. 

I love when the ACLU offers up security recommendations.  “This and other efforts will have no security benefits,” as if they are security experts.  It seems they oppose almost all post 9/11 security enhancements by saying “this or that won‘t help.”  “The terrorists will find a way around it, maybe.” But even if we make it more difficult for terrorists, that and in and of itself enhances our chance of capturing them before they can execute. 

Everyone who gets on a plane gives up a certain amount of privacy.  If you don‘t like it, you drive. 

Some say that by changing our way of life, we let the terrorists win.  I say I‘m willing to let them win that little battle if it might help prevent a massive terrorist attack.  Let‘s be honest -- 9/11 has meant a change in our way of life.  It‘s an unfortunate reality.  If there‘s another 9/11, the change will be far more drastic. 

No matter how you slice it, more safety and security means a little less absolute freedom. 

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