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Profiling

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With Jeb Bush and Donald Trump arguing over whether George W. Bush failed to stop 9/11, it’s worth going to the videotape (47:28) of the second Presidential debate of 2000. On 10/11/2000, the Texas governor denounced heightened scrutiny of Arab airline passengers by airport security. Bush said on national TV:

Secondly, there is other forms of racial profiling that goes on in America. Arab-Americans are racially profiled in what is called secret evidence. People are stopped, and we have to do something about that. My friend, Senator Spencer Abraham of Michigan, is pushing a law to make sure that Arab-Americans are treated with respect. So racial profiling isn’t just an issue at local police forces. It’s an issue throughout our society. And as we become a diverse society, we’re going to have to deal with it more and more. I believe, though — I believe, as sure as I’m sitting here, that most Americans really care. They’re tolerant people. They’re good, tolerant people. It’s the very few that create most of the crises, and we just have to find them and deal with them.

Note that when the future President said “we just have to find them and deal with them,” the “them” he was referring to as having to be dealt with were not Arab skyjackers but airline and airport employees worried about stopping Arab skyjackers.

In accordance with this statement, Bush appointed Democrat Norman Mineta Secretary of Transportation and directed him to root out profiling of Arabs at the airport.

In 2005, airport counter clerk Michael Tuohey told Oprah Winfrey of his encounter early on 9/11/2001 with the leader of the terrorists:

“I got an instant chill when I looked at [Atta]. I got this grip in my stomach and then, of course, I gave myself a political correct slap…I thought, ‘My God, Michael, these are just a couple of Arab businessmen.’”

By the way, on a personal note, this may have been when I started to realize I was the world’s least viral journalist. I’m not sure if the word “viral” had that meaning on 9/11/2001, but if it did, I was sure that the President’s 11-month-old denunciation of anti-terrorism efforts would soon go viral. I vividly recalled watching Bush say this to a huge television audience less than a year before. Back then you couldn’t post video, but it was easy to find a transcript. So I stayed up late that night writing up “Bush had called for laxer airport security” so I wouldn’t get scooped too badly by all the other pundits.

In all the rush, it didn’t get published for about a week. Yet by then, nobody else had brought it up. When my piece didn’t get any attention, well, lots of stuff was happening.

Every few years since then, I’ve brought up Bush’s statement, but it never seems to register on anybody other than my core readers. It’s an interesting example of the Sapir-Whorf effect in action. We are given categories to file facts away in: e.g., Republicans Are Racist; Bush Protected Us from Terrorism, etc. It’s very hard to remember anything that doesn’t fit in the right slots.

This is the first time I’ve posted video of Bush saying this. We’ll see if this makes any difference in the impact, although by now, after 14 years, I doubt it.

Similarly, the big Bush Push of 2002-2004 to ease traditional credit standards, such as down payments and documentation, that have disparate impact on black and Hispanic mortgage-seekers is practically impossible for most people to remember because it doesn’t fit in the categories: Republicans Are Racist; Bush Protected Us from Liberalism, etc.

Here’s a video of Bush telling his federal regulators that down payment requirements are keeping minorities from achieving the American Dream:

But I’ve posted this before with negligible impact.

 
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Excuse me, but what’s the date today?

July 3rd.

Okay. Uh, what year is it?

2008.

So, 9/11 was like six years and eight, almost nine months ago, right?

So, why are we reading articles like the following today, rather than, say, six and a half years ago? Was Homeland Security too busy hassling octogenarian retired Marine Corps generals on their way to give a speech at West Point when their Congressional Medals of Honor set off the metal detector?

The AP reports:

Proposed Justice Dept. rules would allow FBI profiling

By Lara Jakes Jordan The Associated press Article Last Updated: 07/02/2008 11:52:02 AM PDT

WASHINGTON (AP)- The Justice Department is considering letting the FBI investigate Americans without any evidence of wrongdoing, relying instead on a terrorist profile that could single out Muslims, Arabs or other racial and ethnic groups.

Law enforcement officials say the proposed policy would help them do exactly what Congress demanded after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks: root out terrorists before they strike.

Although President Bush has disavowed targeting suspects based on their race or ethnicity, the new rules would allow the FBI to consider those factors among a number of traits that could trigger a national security investigation.

Currently, FBI agents need specific reasons – like evidence or allegations that a law probably has been violated – to investigate U.S. citizens and legal residents. The new policy, law enforcement officials told The Associated Press, would let agents open preliminary terrorism investigations after mining public records and intelligence to build a profile of traits that, taken together, were deemed suspicious.

Among the factors that could make someone subject of an investigation is travel to regions of the world known for terrorist activity, access to weapons or military training, along with the person’s race or ethnicity.

More than a half-dozen senior FBI, Justice Department and other U.S. intelligence officials familiar with the new policy agreed to discuss it only on condition of anonymity, either because they were not allowed to speak publicly or because the change is not yet final.

The change, which is expected later this summer, is part of an update of Justice Department policies known as the attorney general guidelines. They are being overhauled amid the FBI’s transition from a traditional crime-fighting agency to one whose top mission is to protect America from terrorist attacks.

“We don’t know what we don’t know. And the object is to cut down on that,” said one FBI official who defended the plans.

Another official, while also defending the proposed guidelines, raised concerns about criticism during the presidential election year over what he called “the P word” – profiling. …

The changes would allow FBI agents to ask open-ended questions about activities of Muslim- or Arab-Americans, or investigate them if their jobs and backgrounds match trends that analysts deem suspect. …

Racial profiling generally is considered a civil rights violation, and former Attorney General John Ashcroft condemned it in March 2001 as an “unconstitutional deprivation of equal protection under our Constitution.”

President Bush also has condemned racial profiling as “wrong in America” and in a December 2001 interview had harsh words for an airline that refused to let one of his Secret Service agents board a commercial flight. The agent was Arab-American.

Of course, on 9/11/2001, the Bush Administration was actively working to loosen security on Arab airplane passengers, such as, Mohammed Atta, by cracking down on airport profiling. But, that’s disappeared down the memory hole.

Is America just terminally lame? It’s been 80 months and the government is now kicking around the idea of profiling? The Ottoman bureaucracy was more on the ball in the 1880s.

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
 
• Tags: Profiling 
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An excerpt from my new VDARE.com column:

Why Barack Hussein Obama’s Middle Name Matters

Steve Sailer

No, it’s not because he’s a secret Muslim. Nobody has ever seen him engage in Islamic rituals since he left Indonesia at age ten. …

The Republican fear that Obama is a secret Muslim is silly, but so is the Democratic dream that electing a black President will suddenly make America popular in the Middle East. The sad reality is that Middle Easterners treat their black minorities with contempt. (See Robert F. Worth’s New York Times’ Feb. 28, 2008 article Languishing at the Bottom of Yemen’s LadderNo, to understand the reason Obama’s Muslim middle name matters, it’s necessary to first review America’s strategic situation.

9-11, to which we choose to make ourselves vulnerable because of domestic pandering and political correctness.

A quarter of a century ago, we were faced-off against a military superpower that had a fighting chance to drive its vast tank armada through the Fulda Gap and all the way to the Rhine. And if that didn’t work, the Soviets could fall back on their countless nuclear ICBMs.

Now, that was dangerous.

Today, in contrast, the rest of the world is demilitarizing. America’s military spending is almost equal to that of all other countries on Earth (47 percent or 49 percent of the world’s total, by two different estimates).

But what about the ruthless ambitions of Iran, which John McCain wants to bomb-bomb-bomb? According to the CIA World Factbook, Iran spent only 2.5 percent of its paltry GDP on defense in 2006, compared to America’s 4.06 percent. In 2003, Iran ranked 25th in absolute military spending, wedged among such imposing military colossi as Singapore, Argentina, Norway, and Belgium.

This doesn’t mean we are safe. We lost 3,000 people in a Muslim raid in 2001.

Yet, our military wasn’t overpowered. The twin towers weren’t knocked down by jet bombers launched from Islamic aircraft carriers. (In fact, the 44 countries of the Muslim world don’t have a single carrier amongst them. We have 12, each one larger than any other country’s biggest flattop).

No, we lost 3,000 lives because we let 19 terrorists into our country and let them roam around as they pleased. George W. Bush had campaigned in 2000 against the profiling of Muslims by airport security. His Transportation Department was running a program in 2001 to crack down on the “disparate impact” of security procedures on air travelers with Arab names.

[More]

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
 
• Tags: 2008 Election, Obama, Profiling 
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Looking at my UPI article of October 23, 2000, “Arab and Armenian Immigrants Gain Clout,” I noticed something that you might think would have been considered relevant after 9/11, less than a year later, but simply never ever has entered the public conversation:

To gratify Arab-American voters in the swing state of Michigan, in the October 11th Presidential debate Republican nominee George W. Bush called for weakening two counter-terrorism policies. “Arab-Americans are [racially] profiled in what’s called secret evidence. People are stopped, and we got to do something about that,” Governor Bush said. “My friend, Sen. Spence Abraham [the Arab-American Republic Senator from Michigan], is pushing a law to make sure that . . . Arab-Americans are treated with real respect.”

Although Governor Bush conflated two issues, Arab Americans appreciated the gesture. According to a spokesperson for a leading Arab-American organization, their highest domestic priority is the repeal of the “secret evidence” section of the 1996 Anti-Terrorism Act. To prevent terrorist gangs from murdering U.S. government secret informants, this law allows the government to provide evidence from unidentified moles in the immigration hearings of foreigners suspected of terrorist links. The government has deported or detained a number of Arabs hoping to immigrate to the U.S. due to testimony by witnesses they were never allowed to confront.

Similarly, people of Arab descent are stopped and searched at airports more often than many other ethnic groups. This is because the secret “profiles” given security workers advising them whom to watch most closely are believed to refer to the fact that a disproportionate number of hijackers and bombers have been Arabs.

The day after Governor Bush’s remarks, 17 American sailors died in a terrorist attack in the Arab nation of Yemen. The bombing of the U.S.S. Cole, however, did not stop Vice President Al Gore from echoing Bush’s calls to end these two anti-terrorist techniques in a meeting with Arab-American leaders on October 14th. Ironically, on October 20th an Egyptian-born immigrant Ali A. Mohamed plead guilty in Federal District Court to helping Osama Bin Laden plan the 1998 bombing of the America Embassy in Kenya. …

The success of Arab-Americans this year in rallying heavyweight politicians against “secret evidence” may mark a turning point in the long, previously one-sided political struggle between Arabs and Jews in the U.S. Arab-Americans seem to be on the verge of wining on an issue opposed by leading Jewish powerhouses. On May 23, the Anti-Defamation League gave testimony before Congress, co-signed by the American Jewish Congress and B’nai B’rith, in favor of keeping some version of secret evidence.

There is some room for compromise on secret evidence and airport profiling. A Jewish counter-terrorism researcher suggested, for example, that airport security personnel should be trained to be more courteous. Nonetheless, anti-terrorism policy remains essentially a zero-sum contest between Arab-Americans and Jewish-Americans. The stronger the measures, the more innocent Arabs who will be harassed. The weaker the measures, the more Jews who are threatened by political violence.

Besides their ever-increasing numbers, Arab-Americans are gaining power because they’ve now mastered the traditional liberal Jewish vocabulary that elevates what might seem like practical clashes in power politics into tests of moral principle. On secret evidence and airport profiling, Arab lobbies have put Jewish organizations in the uncomfortable position of championing law and order over civil liberties, racial equality, and immigrants’ rights.

The Bush Administration conducted a study in June 2001 to ascertain whether airport personnel had stopped subjecting Arabs to more security scrutiny.

We now know that the airport ticket agent who checked in Mohammed Atta on the morning of 9/11/2001 said to himself, as he told Oprah in 2005:

“I got an instant chill when I looked at [Atta]. I got this grip in my stomach and then, of course, I gave myself a political correct slap.”

Michael Touhey told a reporter:

Then Tuohey went through an internal debate that still haunts him.

“I said to myself, ‘If this guy doesn’t look like an Arab terrorist, then nothing does.’ Then I gave myself a mental slap, because in this day and age, it’s not nice to say things like this,” he said. “You’ve checked in hundreds of Arabs and Hindus and Sikhs, and you’ve never done that. I felt kind of embarrassed.”

It wasn’t just Atta’s demeanor that caught Tuohey’s attention.

“When I looked at their tickets, they had first-class, one-way tickets – $2,500 tickets. Very unusual,” he said. “I guess they’re not coming back. Maybe this is the end of their trip.”

Indeed, it was.

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
 
• Tags: Immigration, Profiling 
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Steve Sailer
About Steve Sailer

Steve Sailer is a journalist, movie critic for Taki's Magazine, VDARE.com columnist, and founder of the Human Biodiversity discussion group for top scientists and public intellectuals.


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