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Jewish World Review Jan. 10, 2002/ 26 Teves, 5762

Ann Coulter

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Consumer Reports

If the profile fits ... -- AN Arab with a copy of "The Crusades Through Arab Eyes" and a gun boarded an American Airlines plane on Christmas Day claiming to be a Secret Service agent on his way to the president.

There was a problem with his paperwork, and the pilot and flight attendants were concerned. After an hour's negotiation -- rudely ignoring the travel needs of the rest of the passengers -- they decided to fly without the armed Arab, who caught another flight the next day.

This much is conceded by all parties.

Four months ago, 19 Arab men armed with less ostentatious weapons than guns boarded four commercial aircraft in the United States and as a direct consequence, thousands of Americans are now dead. Hundreds more narrowly averted being blown up midflight last month on an American Airlines flight from Paris involving another Muslim terrorist.

On account of being delayed for a day, the Secret Service agent, Walied Shater, charged that the airline singled him out because he is an Arab. Never mind the gun. Pursuing his paranoid fantasy, he immediately hired a lawyer and is demanding an apology and a pledge that American Airlines crew be subjected to sensitivity training classes. Naturally, he hasn't ruled out monetary damages.

This man should not be allowed near the president with a loaded gun. At the least, he's an immature nut. At worst, he's a ticking time bomb, in a simmering rage at America's supposed mistreatment of Muslims.

These alleged civil liberties concerns have only one purpose: to give Muslims a cushion for another attack on America. There is no principled basis for opposition to using Arab appearance as a factor in airport screening procedures.

Sadly, there is even less reason to believe this is what the airlines do.

In some goo-goo-minded attempt to prove they are not profiling, the airlines make a big show of harassing precisely those passengers they should be ignoring. This ought to warm the hearts of Muslims in Saudi Arabia. Too bad they'll never read about it since their newspapers are too busy polishing the theory that Zionists bombed the World Trade Center.

According to the FAA -- the federal agency keeping our airports running like Swiss clocks these days -- in November and December alone, 30 airport terminals were entirely evacuated. Passengers on 434 airliners were ordered off for rescreening. Solely because of "security" precautions, 1,180 flights have been delayed, 464 flights have been canceled, and 15 diverted to alternative destinations.

An elderly white congressman was ordered to strip to his underwear because of a steel hip joint. Asian women, elderly black men, stewardesses, toddlers and cowboys are forced to remove their shoes for special screening. Women travelers are being asked to remove their bras and are having their jewelry stolen by thugs in airport security.

Not one of the passengers described above -- who were delayed, canceled, evacuated, strip-searched, robbed and humiliated -- was attempting to carry a loaded gun on an airplane.

So it's not going to be easy proving Walied was treated worse than the average air traveler. Yet Islamic advocacy groups have identified the incident with the Secret Service agent as "the most extreme example" among "a string of abuses by the airlines."

Even the Supreme Court was never this crazy. To the contrary, in a 1975 case called United States v. Brignoni-Ponce, the court held that the "Mexican appearance" of a car's occupants could be considered by border police stopping cars near the Mexican border to look for illegal aliens.

This was back in the halcyon days when the court was inventing new and preposterous "rights" every other day. But even that court didn't invent a right not to have one's ethnic appearance considered a factor in creating reasonable suspicion.

Rather, the court noted: "The government has estimated that 85 percent of the aliens illegally in the country are from Mexico." Meanwhile, 100 percent of the successful terrorist attacks on commercial airlines for 20 years have been committed by Arabs.

When there is a 100 percent chance, it ceases to be a profile. It's called a "description of the suspect." This is not a psychological judgment about an ethnic group; it is an all-points bulletin: Warning! The next terrorist to board a commercial flight will be an Arab or Muslim male.

If ethnic appearance can be used as a factor by the police trying to stem the dire threat of one more Mexican raking leaves in Los Angeles, it is logical to conclude that ethnic appearance can also be used to counter the threat of thousands of Americans being killed in a terrorist attack.

Had airport security spent a little less time angrily shaking down every little old lady trying to sneak tweezers onto an airplane, American Airlines might have had sufficient time to attend to Walied's gun paperwork.

JWR contributor Ann Coulter is the author of High Crimes and Misdemeanors: The Case Against Bill Clinton.

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