With Liberty and Justice for All : Enhanced American Security Measures

January 5, 2010

U.S. Airport Security

U.S. Airport Security

The Transportation Security Administration announced heightened security measures for inbound  travelers to the United States from countries designated as “state sponsors of terrorism or other countries of interest”. Currently listed as state sponsors of terrorism are Iran, Cuba, Sudan and Syria while the “other countries of interest include Afghanistan, Algeria, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Nigeria, Pakistan Saudi Arabia, Somali and Yemen.

Fox News reports that effective Jan 1 2010, Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) is enhancing security checks for travelers to the United States, even though no direct flights even exist to America at this time. P.I.A. spokesperson Sultan Hassan explainspassengers are subjected to special screening, including full body searches, in a designated area of the departure lounge. He said the airline had run advertisements in newspapers to warn prospective passengers of the increased safety measures. maintaining strict security standards at all airports for all flights”

I am of the opinion that such measures are useful if they help prevent terrorist attacks and offer peace of mind to travelers. In tandem with enhanced security directives however, should come enhanced diplomacy and perhaps specificity.

Diplomacy is especially important because racial profiling is already a widespread international concern for inbound travelers to the United States. CAIR (the Council on American Islamic Relations) spokesperson Ibrahim Cooper says the new measurescome pretty close to across-the-board profiling of Muslim travelers,” and added that they would unfairly single out not just foreigners but Muslim Americans traveling to see their families in the selected countries. “It only serves to alienate those whose hearts and minds we’re trying to win.” It’s a fair point and underscores the need for smart power as we increase international security.

To prevent Anti-Americanism from the majority of travelers who are not terrorists, our embassies or appropriate State Department offices should amplify soft tools used in winning hearts and minds in the dozen countries whose passengers are now designated for special scrutiny.

Another way to ensure enhanced security measures don’t have unintended consequences might be a U.S. led international protocols. If all incoming travelers to the United States from a country like Pakistan are going to be searched at new, exceptional extents both in Pakistan and upon arrival to the United States, then it could be useful to implement some best practices protocols that all international Transportation authorities adhere to. For instance, to avoid instances where authorities might misuse liberties to scrutinize and make travelers feel unnecessarily uncomfortable is having a visible camera present at all times.

In the same way some California police departments are now installing cameras in officer helmets to help prevent abuse of authority and make others feel comfortable knowing there is oversight and evidence should recourse be required, T.S.A. authorities might have visible cameras present in areas where passengers from select countries like Pakistan are subject to enhanced scrutiny.

I think the new T.S.A. law could be an effective one. I don’t think most passengers would object to tightened security for the sake of safety so long as they feel they are being treated with care and there is little chance of mistreatment. So it’s important that as American’s, when we expand laws that affect the international community, we still uphold what we pledge allegiance to each day: “liberty and justice for all”.




  1. All acts must be reciprocal.


    • True. That’s the idea with enhanced diplomacy and oversight in tandem with the intensified security.

      Do share other forms of reciprocity you had in mind.


  2. I have been in the Travel Insurance Business for over 26 years, this is just another hassle that will prevent Foreign Travelers to visit USA…



    • Yup. That’s exactly what a lot of critics of the new directives are also saying……


  3. letz not forget where did all this start ! what percentage of people from my country travel to the US ? I’m not worried about the impact of these new laws/restrictions on people travelling to USA, i’m worried more about my rights as a citizen in my own country. Police checkposts were there for common man since long, traffic used to be brought to a standstill for VVIP covoys even before the culture of terrorism descended upon my land. A couple of weeks ago i had to stop while on my way to hospital to allow safe passage to the convoy of u know who____the chief justice of lahore high court_____ consisting of , believe me or not, of 22 vehicles. We r third grade citizens in our own country, why worry about how we r treated in the US. Wewe the conditions in USA the same before 9/11? who’s to b blamed for the whole mess we find this world to b in ! Letz focus more on the miseries of the people of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan rather than worry about the few who travel to USA from the land of pure.


  4. trrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrxxxxx


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