Israel, Airports and Flying: A Better Model?

This is a discussion on Israel, Airports and Flying: A Better Model? within the Law Enforcement, Military & Homeland Security Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; To avoid hi-jacking another thread, I thought I'd post up this article on airline and airport security in Israel. December 30, 2009 Cathal Kelly Staff ...

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    Question Israel, Airports and Flying: A Better Model?

    To avoid hi-jacking another thread, I thought I'd post up this article on airline and airport security in Israel.

    December 30, 2009
    Cathal Kelly
    Staff Reporter: WSJ

    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."
    I think this would be a great step forward here in the USA, and is possible, even in the fractured political environment we're in .

    Your thoughts and other ideas?

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  3. #2
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    Israel...a country with common sense land a large 'set'...it spells out safety on their airlines.

    They use about 5-6 stages of 'profiling'...from the moment you enter the parking lot.
    The last Blood Moon Tetrad for this millennium starts in April 2014 and ends in September 2015...according to NASA.

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    VIP Member Array HKinNY's Avatar
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    There are a few other threads running with the sample idea. Isreal does not like to fight but when they do fight watch out.

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    Member Array beaker's Avatar
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    i was just watching something about this on huckabee on fox news. they had some security guy from Israel. and he was talking about some of these things. he said they would have known something the second the underwear bomber bought a 1 way plane ticket to the U.S. from nigeria with cash. that does sound a little suspicious. and supposedly after the lockerbie, scotland incident and 9-11 and a few times since then iirc, he's offered his services to the u.s. to help improve our security but they turned him down every time.

    personally i think huckabee is right. the bureaucrats up high are the ones that are to blame. the fact that they don't want to offend others. screw that i say. my thought is, we should stop being so concerned about what others think about us. and secondly profile the s**t out of EVERYONE. EVERYONE. not blacks, not arabs.. politicians have now made the term "profiling" mean being racist. well if you profile everyone its not. its about stopping terrorism and keeping this country safe. not about offending people. if i was profiled, i wouldn't be the least bit offended. i'd feel safe.

    we're to busy looking at things to prevent what just happened. so that means they'll always stay one step ahead of us. which will just make patches upon patches in our security and make the lines longer and longer. making people more and more angry

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    Are politicians at fault? Or is it the ACLU and our freakishly perverted court system?
    Mark Twain:
    The government is merely a servant -- merely a temporary servant; it cannot be its prerogative to determine what is right and what is wrong, and decide who is a
    patriot and who isn't. Its function is to obey orders, not originate them.

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    Nobody is going to pony up the kind of money it would take to hire and train the quality of people it would take to do this.You pay train and hire for the lowest cost and you get the lowest quality.

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    When the government created the TSA it knew the Israeli model. It created another bureaucracy instead. Why? Votes, unions, big government.

    To be fair, the US has maybe 30,000 flights in the air on a given day and Israel has what? A hundred?

    But profiling will have to be done or we will never be safe.

    Most of the TSA folks I have dealt with (I fly every week) are nice folks trying to do an impossible job.
    It's boring, it's repetitive. Occasional fliers don't know the routine and jam up the system.
    And when you're done, you know you just experienced "Security theater."
    While I'm taking my shoes off, I watch airport employees bypass security every week. (Tampa, a great airport)
    I complain and I get, "We're not responsible for that door."

    Once in Miami, the FBI did a sting. They offered a bribe to workers to put stuff on planes. Guns, drugs, hand grenades.
    They had to stop........because they ran out of money. Everyone took the bribe.

    Wasn't it Chicago where they found 21 illegal aliens working on the planes? Do you think they'd take a bribe?
    In a heartbeat.

    That would never happen in Israel. They're all working together.

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    Distinguished Member Array kapnketel's Avatar
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    Israeli airlines also have their own layer of security at US airorts and use other contractors for cleaning etc. They heavily screen these contractors as they do not trust (with good reason) standard airport contractors.

    Wewill never have good security until one thing happens-profiling. Our PC society will not allow it. All of the airplane terrorists in the last 25 years have been single muslim males between 20-35. So what do we do? Search 80 year old grandma's from Witchita "randomly".

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    VIP Member Array packinnova's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chiller2 View Post
    Nobody is going to pony up the kind of money it would take to hire and train the quality of people it would take to do this.You pay train and hire for the lowest cost and you get the lowest quality.
    Of course not...they have to create jobs for the unpriviledged you know...

    All they would have to do is can a few thousand of those low paid, untrained "staff" and use that money to rehire a few hundred folks that actually have a brain at a decent cost.

    It's not rocket science. You get what you pay for.
    "My God David, We're a Civilized society."

    "Sure, As long as the machines are workin' and you can call 911. But you take those things away, you throw people in the dark, and you scare the **** out of them; no more rules...You'll see how primitive they can get."
    -The Mist (2007)

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    VIP Member Array Guns and more's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by packinnova View Post
    All they would have to do is can a few thousand of those low paid, untrained "staff" and use that money to rehire a few hundred folks that actually have a brain at a decent cost.
    Are you kidding? How many votes would that get you?
    "Packinnova wants to starve children, and kick hard working Americans out in the street."
    See how this works?

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    VIP Member Array packinnova's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guns and more View Post
    Are you kidding? How many votes would that get you?
    "Packinnova wants to starve children, and kick hard working Americans out in the street."
    See how this works?
    Yep that's me...holding folks responsible for their actions since 1979!
    "My God David, We're a Civilized society."

    "Sure, As long as the machines are workin' and you can call 911. But you take those things away, you throw people in the dark, and you scare the **** out of them; no more rules...You'll see how primitive they can get."
    -The Mist (2007)

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    Member Array Erik's Avatar
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    "Israel, Airports and Flying: A Better Model?"

    Yes.
    God, country, family.

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    After reading this, I've decided that Israel isn't likely to adopt our most recent stroke of genius -- no bathroom breaks the last 60 minutes of a flight.

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    Distinguished Member Array AutoFan's Avatar
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    I don't even understand the "no bathroom breaks the last hour" rule. What possible security function can that fulfill??

    And as soon as I heard the new rules and equipment, I thought of two different ways to defeat them. One of which NEEDS the security rules to work.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AutoFan View Post
    I don't even understand the "no bathroom breaks the last hour" rule. What possible security function can that fulfill??

    And as soon as I heard the new rules and equipment, I thought of two different ways to defeat them. One of which NEEDS the security rules to work.
    Simple -- they wanted to show critics that they were dead serious about security. What better way than to make folks wet their pants while sitting in their seat.

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