Published on April 2nd, 2016 | by Concerned Commercial Airline Pilot0
Demand Security Screening of Airport Employees From Muslim Countries
Having spent the better part of three decades in the airline business, I have seen my share of changes. While most of these changes were the result of cost cutting, it appears that there is now another significant, and nefarious, cause for change within this industry – political correctness.
As many of you may know, at the time of 9/11/01 private (or contract) security companies provided much of the security at our nation’s airports. In areas where there was a high population of any particular ethnic group, this group was often represented in the rank-and-file of that airport’s security personnel. Immediately after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, many travelers were shocked to see Muslim security officers at certain airports, checking passengers’ ID’s and otherwise performing their security duties – even after we had all been told that it was Islamic terrorists who brought down the towers. It wasn’t long before the TSA was born, giving us yet another agency whose duty was (supposedly) to keep us safe from harm. We all know what that agency has turned into. Since its inception many of our basic liberties have been compromised, our expectation of privacy is now a relic from the past, and we’re finding that we have little or no say-so in this process known as Homeland Security. While I certainly agree that our safety is paramount, I do question why our powers-that-be feel the need to import so many from countries where – by their own admission – Islamic terrorism is a significant problem. If you’ll remember, as recently as the late 1970’s President Jimmy Carter immediately stopped the legal migration of Iranian citizens into the U.S. after the Iran hostage crisis began. He also cut off the student visas of Iranian students, as well as other measures meant to punish the Iranian government. While Carter is often perceived to be one of America’s weaker presidents, in my opinion he got this one right. So fast-forward to today – why are we suddenly importing vast quantities of immigrants, mostly Muslim, who come from countries where terrorism is rampant? Furthermore, why are we hiring these same people to provide the very security that we need to protect us from . . . well . . . them?
In a typical day, I fly in and out of several large airports. When our plane pulls up to the gate, we are greeted first by the ramp crew. Lately, I’ve noticed that a much higher percentage of the ramp crews appear to be Muslim. To be fair, I’ve worked with my share of people from Muslim countries. I’ve found many of them to be good people, and quality employees. But today, it’s obvious that those tasked with vetting immigrants and refugees from terrorism-plagued countries have an impossible job. There can simply be no way that all of these people were properly vetted – let alone a portion of them. Many appear to be Somali. We’ve all heard the media tell us about ‘war-torn’ Somalia, and that it’s ‘lawless’ and ‘overrun by war-lords.’ So why is it suddenly okay for Somalis to have full, unfettered access to our countries commercial airplanes? Who thought this was a good idea? And more importantly, who will be held liable when the inevitable terrorist incident(s) takes place?
It’s clear to me that political correctness has run amok in our country. That much is obvious. However, when it becomes pervasive to the point where our safety takes a backseat to the threat of offending a particular ethnic group, we have collectively lost our minds. I perform safety checks throughout the day – ostensibly to look for bombs hidden somewhere on the airplane. When I encounter employees who can barely speak English, and who are dressed in such a way that indicates they are M
uslim, I can’t help but think that my safety checks are now moot. When I walk away, what is being done behind my back? Airline management continues to hire third-party companies who employ a large number of Muslims. The assumption is that ‘someone else’ along the chain-of-command has done their due diligence. And therein lies the problem – it’s only an assumption. Any reasonable person knows that it’s impossible to properly vet that many people in such a short time. So many of the Muslim employees I encounter now at airports on a daily basis appear to have just entered our country from their previous country. They are given clearances into secure areas of any given airport – including the airplanes themselves. It’s no longer a matter of ‘if’ – it’s a matter of ‘when.’ And then what? Even more security measures? Or was that the plan all along?
Simply put – airline passengers, including the elderly and infants, are regularly subjected to strict security measures prior to boarding a flight. Why, then, isn’t a higher level of scrutiny placed on those who just arrived from a country where terrorism was part of the culture, and who show an interest in working at an airport? This is not racism, nor is it paranoia. It’s a reasonable question to an obvious problem. As a pilot, my job is to provide safe air travel, 100 percent of the time. It is more than just unfortunate that I can’t say the same for my company’s management – or, for that matter, my government.