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The Ignorance Behind Profiling

I want to start this post by stating that all so called practitioners of proactive security clearly misunderstand what the art of profiling includes. As a result, it is very comfortable to use a common pretext that says: Profiling is racially based! or it does not work! The inability to understand and exercise profiling resides in the ignorant comments made by so many. In fact most security operators that do not use profiling as it should base their activities or racially based tactics more than anyone. That's because their profiling capabilities are not based on real time intelligence and behavioral indicators!!!



The history of airline and airport security clearly demonstrates that profiling was and is an effective tool for preventing, neutralizing and deterring terror attacks. Clearly, airports require specific security activities that are systematically adapted to large installations with extensive external and internal movement. Israel’s fight against terror has generated and developed numerous tactical methodologies based on effective means for countering terrorist activities at all stages.


The main security apparatus for checking passengers is based on interdependent rings that serve to identify the threat at its earliest stages. This process is critical and involves extensive screening of passengers for the purpose of detecting suspicious activity that may lead to the planning, assisting and executing of terrorist activity. the screening process employs security profiling or predictive behavior, which is defined as the process by which security screeners assess and define the risk level of passengers. In accordance, security screeners use verbal and non-verbal channels to determine the risk and threat factor of all passengers. It is important to note that performing security profiling requires various skills combined with execution of quick methodologies that are suitable for checking large numbers of passengers in a relatively short amount of time.


However, Implementing this operative tool incorrectly can have disastrous effects, as the price of the error is extremely high, as can be seen in the 9/11 attacks. The Post 9/11 profiling, which has not been done professionally, has lead to the birth of a controversial phenomenon called racial profiling. This type of screening assesses the risk factor in passengers only according to their racial background without taking into account behavioral profiling and other criteria. While an effective and important tool, profiling on its own is not a reliable operative source for checking passengers. Relying solely on profiling may make airports extremely vulnerable to security failures, as well as give certain minority groups easy opportunities for filing lawsuits.


The recommendations for making security profiling effective rely on understanding the threat using a multidisciplinary approach that relies on parameters such as documentation, body language, behavioral traits, interrogation, etc. This information must then be cross examined, checked, and elaborated into a specific risk level. This risk level may then be cross-examined with the procedures carried in the other security rings present. The importance of profiling is related to the fact that the security apparatus centralizes all its operational resources for early detection of potential terrorists and/or collaborators that seek to collect information and/or execute operative actions that will lead to the planning of an attack. It is important to stress that these actions are selected activities within an overall security apparatus that activates many additional security measures for the establishment of operational solutions for the above mentioned objectives.

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