Airport Security Israeli Method

Airport Security Israeli Method

This is a discussion on Airport Security Israeli Method within the Law Enforcement, Military & Homeland Security Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; This article is from the Toronto Star newspaper and bears incite into what we SHOULD be doing here in the U.S. Presented here for discussion: ...

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  1. #1
    Member Array mel5051's Avatar
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    Airport Security Israeli Method

    This article is from the Toronto Star newspaper and bears incite into what we SHOULD be doing here in the U.S.

    Presented here for discussion:

    The 'Israelification' of airports: High security, little bother

    December 30, 2009

    Cathal Kelly

    Staff Reporter


    While North America's airports groan under the weight of another sea-change in security protocols, one word keeps popping out of the mouths of experts: Israelification.

    That is, how can we make our airports more like Israel's, which deal with far greater terror threat with far less inconvenience.

    "It is mindboggling for us Israelis to look at what happens in North America, because we went through this 50 years ago," said Rafi Sela, the president of AR Challenges, a global transportation security consultancy. He's worked with the RCMP, the U.S. Navy Seals and airports around the world.

    "Israelis, unlike Canadians and Americans, don't take crap from anybody. When the security agency in Israel (the ISA) started to tighten security and we had to wait in line for — not for hours — but 30 or 40 minutes, all hell broke loose here. We said, 'We're not going to do this. You're going to find a way that will take care of security without touching the efficiency of the airport."

    That, in a nutshell is "Israelification" - a system that protects life and limb without annoying you to death.

    Despite facing dozens of potential threats each day, the security set-up at Israel's largest hub, Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion Airport, has not been breached since 2002, when a passenger mistakenly carried a handgun onto a flight. How do they manage that?

    "The first thing you do is to look at who is coming into your airport," said Sela.

    The first layer of actual security that greets travellers at Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion International Airport is a roadside check. All drivers are stopped and asked two questions: How are you? Where are you coming from?

    "Two benign questions. The questions aren't important. The way people act when they answer them is," Sela said.

    Officers are looking for nervousness or other signs of "distress" — behavioural profiling. Sela rejects the argument that profiling is discriminatory.

    "The word 'profiling' is a political invention by people who don't want to do security," he said. "To us, it doesn't matter if he's black, white, young or old. It's just his behaviour. So what kind of privacy am I really stepping on when I'm doing this?"

    Once you've parked your car or gotten off your bus, you pass through the second and third security perimeters.

    Armed guards outside the terminal are trained to observe passengers as they move toward the doors, again looking for odd behaviour. At Ben Gurion's half-dozen entrances, another layer of security are watching. At this point, some travellers will be randomly taken aside, and their person and their luggage trun through a magnometer.

    "This is to see that you don't have heavy metals on you or something that looks suspicious," said Sela.

    You are now in the terminal. As you approach your airline check-in desk, a trained interviewer takes your passport and ticket. They ask a series of questions: Who packed your luggage? Has it left your side?

    "The whole time, they are looking into your eyes — which is very embarrassing. But this is one of the ways they figure out if you are suspicious or not. It takes 20, 25 seconds," said Sela.

    Lines are staggered. People are not allowed to bunch up into inviting targets for a bomber who has gotten this far.

    At the check-in desk, your luggage is scanned immediately in a purpose-built area. Sela plays devil's advocate — what if you have escaped the attention of the first four layers of security, and now try to pass a bag with a bomb in it?

    "I once put this question to Jacques Duchesneau (the former head of the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority): say there is a bag with play-doh in it and two pens stuck in the play-tdoh. That is 'Bombs 101' to a screener. I asked Ducheneau, 'What would you do?' And he said, 'Evacuate the terminal.' And I said, 'Oh. My. God.'

    "Take Pearson. Do you know how many people are in the terminal at all times? Many thousands. Let's say I'm (doing an evacuation) without panic — which will never happen. But let's say this is the case. How long will it take? Nobody thought about it. I said, 'Two days.'"

    A screener at Ben-Gurion has a pair of better options.

    First, the screening area is surrounded by contoured, blast-proof glass that can contain the detonation of up to 100 kilos of plastic explosive. Only the few dozen people within the screening area need be removed, and only to a point a few metres away.

    Second, all the screening areas contain 'bomb boxes'. If a screener spots a suspect bag, he/she is trained to pick it up and place it in the box, which is blast proof. A bomb squad arrives shortly and wheels the box away for further investigation.

    "This is a very small simple example of how we can simply stop a problem that would cripple one of your airports," Sela said.

    Five security layers down: you now finally arrive at the only one which Ben-Gurion Airport shares with Pearson — the body and hand-luggage check.

    "But here it is done completely, absolutely 180 degrees differently than it is done in North America," Sela said.

    "First, it's fast — there's almost no line. That's because they're not looking for liquids, they're not looking at your shoes. They're not looking for everything they look for in North America. They just look at you," said Sela. "Even today with the heightened security in North America, they will check your items to death. But they will never look at you, at how you behave. They will never look into your eyes ... and that's how you figure out the bad guys from the good guys."

    That's the process — six layers, four hard, two soft. The goal at Ben-Gurion is to move fliers from the parking lot to the airport lounge in a maximum of 25 minutes.

    This doesn't begin to cover the off-site security net that failed so spectacularly in targeting would-be Flight 253 bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab — intelligence. In Israel, Sela said, a coordinated intelligence gathering operation produces a constantly evolving series of threat analyses and vulnerability studies.

    "There is absolutely no intelligence and threat analysis done in Canada or the United States," Sela said. "Absolutely none."

    But even without the intelligence, Sela maintains, Abdulmutallab would not have gotten past Ben Gurion Airport's behavioural profilers.

    So. Eight years after 9/11, why are we still so reactive, so un-Israelified?

    Working hard to dampen his outrage, Sela first blames our leaders, and then ourselves.

    "We have a saying in Hebrew that it's much easier to look for a lost key under the light, than to look for the key where you actually lost it, because it's dark over there. That's exactly how (North American airport security officials) act," Sela said. "You can easily do what we do. You don't have to replace anything. You have to add just a little bit — technology, training. But you have to completely change the way you go about doing airport security. And that is something that the bureaucrats have a problem with. They are very well enclosed in their own concept."

    And rather than fear, he suggests that outrage would be a far more powerful spur to provoking that change.

    "Do you know why Israelis are so calm? We have brutal terror attacks on our civilians and still, life in Israel is pretty good. The reason is that people trust their defence forces, their police, their response teams and the security agencies. They know they're doing a good job. You can't say the same thing about Americans and Canadians. They don't trust anybody," Sela said. "But they say, 'So far, so good'. Then if something happens, all hell breaks loose and you've spent eight hours in an airport. Which is ridiculous. Not justifiable

    "But, what can you do? Americans and Canadians are nice people and they will do anything because they were told to do so and because they don't know any different."
    Last edited by rstickle; January 1st, 2010 at 09:04 AM. Reason: Language work around in article
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  2. #2
    Member Array snip's Avatar
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    we go after the liquid and not the person because it is not perople that ever do anything bad it is the object.

  3. #3
    VIP Member Array Harryball's Avatar
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    Interesting read, thanks for sharing.
    Don"t let stupid be your skill set....

    Never be ashamed of a scar. It simply means, that you were stronger than whatever tried to hurt you......

  4. #4
    Distinguished Member Array nutz4utwo's Avatar
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    Three thoughts:

    "Papers please" -I am happy to live in a society where I am not suspected of being a bad guy for not reason

    Some of those security enhancements are a good idea (like the bomb proof containers)

    Ultimately, the goal of terrorism is to instill fear in the masses. Terrorists are to weak to fight face to face so they attempt to influence average people through fear. The best way to fight them is to refuse to be afraid and let them get in the dictate your way of life. (The new TSA directives were a failure- they are useless do nothing junk only meant to placate people's ego's)
    "a reminder that no law can replace personal responsibility" - Bill Clinton 2010.

  5. #5
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    We have to do something different and better intelligence coupled with some psychological profiling and the good old look into my eyes routine would add to our security. Whether or not we could forgo some of the other steps I am unsure.

    But if we had secure airports, we'd get more "Hasan" like guys attacking schools and malls instead of military posts. That's basically what Israel has had during the last Intifada. The planes were ignored but suicide bombings and other direct attacks occurred.

    Its the old squeeze the balloon deal.

    We've a huge almost unsolvable problem here. It is really scary that the threat seems to come not from the most impoverished, or the most deprived, but from educated and affluent zealots. These are the folks who have the brains and the money to pursue their plots.

    Now for a bit of security heresy. There is always a risk benefit curve to things and there is a cost benefit curve as well. Might we "live" with losing one airliner a decade if the option was to spend 1 trillion dollars to prevent it?

    What are those "acceptability" curves really like?

    I don't think anyone has looked at that question because we all focus on the "what if I'm on the plane" thing, instead of the general risk level.

    We don't have absolute security in our homes, business, cars, on the street--as we who carry know all too well. What threat level against airliners can this country actually live with?

  6. #6
    VIP Member Array HKinNY's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mel5051 View Post
    "Israelis, unlike Canadians and Americans, don't take crap from anybody. "

    Israel and its people do not like to fight and would rather walk away from the fight but when the fight is on there is nobody better. Just think about bombing that happen everyday in Israel.

    I would love for Isreal to take over TSA. Here's why

    My mother is in Isreal as we speak and will be returning home on Sunday. On her last trip several years ago Mom and Dad where on a tour bus with 40+ other people they where stopped at a famous sight (dont remember) and another vehicle pulled in.

    The security guy on the tour tells everybody back onto the bus. So mom is still walking/looking around in her own world. SG states in a command voice Mrs.King get onto his bus NOW!!. Mom gets on and bus hits the road.

    A few minutes later down the road SG is walking from the back of the bus to the front. Mom stops him and asks " Back at the sight what was happening and how did you know my name?

    First, I did not like the looks/action of the people that got out of the other vehicle. Deceiced to leave before a problem might of happened.

    Second, It is my job to know everybody names, who is traveling with whom, who is where at all times.

    Boy you guys take your job seriously.

    There nobody more serious or better in security than Isreal.
    Last edited by rstickle; January 1st, 2010 at 09:04 AM. Reason: Quoted language work around

  7. #7
    Senior Member Array RebelRabbi's Avatar
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    Mel5051, you are 100% right, every word!!!!!!!!!!!!
    It seems it will take the death of a lot of Americans or a Ma'alot / Beslan horror to change us. One's head is very difficult to get out of one's own rectum.

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    VIP Member Array HKinNY's Avatar
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    EL AL was the first airline to use bomb proof containers for under the plane. So if something did go off, they would loose a container and the plane would still be flying. I believe the containers are make in NJ.

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