The Right Coast

August 05, 2004
Kerry, Bush and the War on Terror
By Mike Rappaport

According to the Wall Street Journal:

Even as the Bush administration warns of an imminent terror attack, it is again allowing the "rights" brigades to dictate the parameters of national defense. The administration just cancelled a passenger screening system designed to keep terrorists off planes, acceding to the demands of "privacy" advocates.

The now-defunct program, the Computer Assisted Passenger Prescreening System, or Capps II, sought to make sure that air passengers are flying under their own identity and are not wanted as a terror suspect. It would have asked passengers to provide four pieces of information--name, address, phone number and birth date--when they make their reservation. That information would've been run against commercial records, to see if it matches up, then checked against government intelligence files to determine whether a passenger has possible terror connections. Depending on the outcome of those two checks, a passenger could have been screened more closely at the airport, or perhaps--if government intelligence on him raised alarms--not allowed to board.

Under pressure from the Arab and rights lobbies, the Clintonites agreed in 1997 that passengers flagged as suspicious by the then-existing flight screening system would not be interviewed. Allowing security personnel to interview suspicious flyers, it was argued, would amount to racial and ethnic profiling. On 9/11, the predecessor to Capps II identified nine of the 19 hijackers as potentially dangerous, including all five terrorists aboard American Airlines Flight 77.
John Kerry says he could fight the war on terror better than George Bush. Then why is he not criticizing the Bush Administration for this action?