Sadly, it’s all too often derided as “racial profiling” here in the U.S.
Ironically enough, pattern analysis is used by U.S. law enforcement unbeknownst to the vast majority of Americans.
When targeting the Russian Mob, NYPD and federal authorities focus on specific businesses the Russian mob has been known to infiltrate and they focus their wiretaps and other surveillance sweeps in predominantly Russian areas like Brighton Beach, Brooklyn.
Pattern analysis takes into account a wide array of parameters, both behavioral and (gasp!) ethnic/racial, as well.
Pattern analysis does NOT start with probable cause (reasonable suspicion), it uses actions, dress (ie. inappropriate clothing, like bulky clothing in warm weather), behaviors (pacing, excessive sweating, etc), oddities like taking a long one-way trip without much luggage, and other factors to ESTABLISH that reasonable suspicion.
Good law enforcement is never reactionary (responding to actual threats or criminal actions), it is proactive. That’s been the buzz word in law enforcement over the last 25 years. Proactive law enforcement looks at a crowd and looks for reasons to stop, detain, question and otherwise interdict people who COULD BE rapists, pedophiles, terrorists, meth dealers, etc.
Those who say that “Racial profiling is not pattern analysis” are 100% right! The fact that Americans have been programmed to inanely call pattern analysis “racial profiling” is unfortunate.
Israeli security targets “suspects” via a broad-based pattern analysis and American law enforcement uses pattern analysis in the way I properly defined; “When targeting the Russian Mob, NYPD and federal authorities focus on specific businesses the Russian mob has been known to infiltrate and they focus their wiretaps and other surveillance sweeps in predominantly Russian areas like Brighton Beach, Brooklyn. They focus on biker gangs NOT inner city thugs when looking for Meth dealers and they DO focus on inner city thugs when looking for crack dealers. Pattern analysis takes into account a wide array of parameters, both behavioral and ethnic/racial, as well.”
For the time being America has eschewed such pattern analysis, at least when in plain sight, such as in pre-flight boarding procedures, so in lieu of that, there’s the current state of affairs, where passengers are given a choice between a scanner and an “enhanced pat down”.
In truth, both the scanners and the “enhanced pat downs” are mostly for show, those things like the shoe removal and liquid restrictions are to show Americans their government is serious about their safety.
Hopefully the hidden nitrogen, peroxide, rad and other chemical sensors would ferret out any such materials.
There are people who claim this reactive methodology is incapable of stopping the more creative terror plots, because “they won’t use the same targets (ie. airlines) twice”.
Those folks (who include a significant number of recognized anti-terror experts) are apparently wrong, given that airlines have been used in multiple terror plots post-9/11, from Richard Reid’s attempted “shoe bombing” to the Christmas Eve “underwear bomber”. Our government pays a number of people to come up with various “workable terror plots” (scenarios) and they set up response and interdiction tactics based on those, as well.
But “the show” is important...it does serve a purpose.
Moreover, political correctness is not free...it comes with a price tag, often measured in inconvenience. I honestly don’t see the big deal here.
The confusing of legitimate pattern analysis with the inadequate measure of “racial profiling” is that it taints a very legitimate and highly effective strategy with an ineffective and unsavory one.
While pattern analysis works very well, actual racial profiling does not.
Remember the “shoe-bomber”, Richard Reid?
Reid didn’t dress in Muslim garb, didn’t look at all Arabic, nor was he from an Arab-Muslim country. He was born in England of (I believe) Jamaican parents.
Same thing in the USA, there are many “black Muslims” who do not have Muslim names (at least they haven’t changed their given names legally) and there are many inmates converted and radicalized in prisons who don’t have Muslim names or dress in Muslim attire. There are also many Muslims from the Balkans – “the Fort Dix Six” were all European-looking Bosnian Muslims.
Pattern analysis takes into account a wide array of factors, predominantly behavioral to establish a reasonable suspicion about that person.
Pattern analysis WOULD HAVE been useful in the Fort Hood (jihadist) attack, as both the CIA and FBI had rather thick files on Major Nidal Malik Hasan, whose own writings indicated an increasingly radical bent. The CIA was aware that the he’d attended “services” with Anwar al-Awlaki, the imam at the Dar al-Hijrah mosque between 2000 and 2002 now targeted for death by the U.S.
On that base Major Hasan showed no jihadist leanings and didn’t dress in Muslim garb on base even when off-duty. He DID however dress that way in town and the FBI had known of that for months before the Fort Hood terror attack.
Sadly, such pattern analysis is considered “racial profiling” by many naive ivory tower dolts in America and it’s considered too “offensive” (non-PC) for the government to effectively defend.
The Patriot Act has given various law enforcement agencies the permission to comb through any citizen’s banking records. If Terrel Richardson (a/k/a Mustafa Ali, converted in prison) now living in a South Bronx housing project comes into Newark Liberty airport wearing a heavy winter coat in May and his bank records show a recent deposit of $10,000 despite Richardson having “no visible means of support” (that’s “no jobby-job” in the vernacular), then Terrel Richardson SHOULD BE a prime suspect based on (1) his prison experience, which indicates a potential for jihadist recruitment), (2) his inappropriate attire and (3) his recent inexplicable financial transactions, DESPITE the fact that Mr. Richardson fits none of the requisite racial demographics in question.
No, racial profiling is not going to be effective in dealing with this threat, but pattern analysis certainly is a very useful, even necessary tool.