Former Homeland Security Chief Michael Chertoff: Profiling Dangerous And Foolish (UPDATED)

Posted by | January 1, 2010 11:10 | Filed under: Top Stories

George W. Bush’s Director of Homeland Security, Michael Chertoff, told NPR host Robert Siegel how wrong profiling is.

Mr. CHERTOFF: Actually Robert, I’m going to argue that this case illustrates the danger and the foolishness of profiling because people’s conception of what a potential terrorist looks like often doesn’t match reality. In this case we had a Nigerian, for example, not a person from the Middle East or from South Asia. If you look at the airline plot of 2006, two of the plotters were a married couple that were going to get on a plane with a young baby. The terrorists understand that the more they vary the kind of operative they use, the more likely they’re going to be able to exploit prejudices if we allow those prejudices to guide the way we conduct our investigation.


SIEGEL: Your objection to profiling is not just as an ethical matter, it’s a point of efficacy also. You’re saying it doesn’t work.


Mr. CHERTOFF: I think it’s not only problematic from civil rights’ standpoint, but frankly, I think it winds up not being terribly effective.


Unfortunately, Chertoff supports full-body scanners which, besides being an invasion of privacy, is insulting to Muslims, as former El-Al security head Isaac Yeffet knows.

“Realize that a Muslim will know that his wife was seen naked in this machine,” Yeffet said. “You know what would be the reaction? … Terrible.”


UPDATE: Chertoff’s company has a client that manufactures these machines.

An airport passengers’ rights group on Thursday criticized Chertoff, who left office less than a year ago, for using his former government credentials to advocate for a product that benefits his clients.


“Mr. Chertoff should not be allowed to abuse the trust the public has placed in him as a former public servant to privately gain from the sale of full-body scanners under the pretense that the scanners would have detected this particular type of explosive,” said Kate Hanni, founder of, which opposes the use of the scanners.

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Copyright 2010 Liberaland
By: Alan

Alan Colmes is the publisher of Liberaland.

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