David Rivkin Appears On MSNBC, Builds Economic Case For Profiling In Airports

Former Justice Department official David Rivkin calls increased airport screening a

Former Reagan Justice Department official David Rivkin appeared live on MSNBC’s “Hardball with Chris Matthews” to discuss increased airport profiling measures in the wake of the Christmas Day attempted terrorist bombing of Flight 253 to Detroit.

“It’s a reasonable way to go …. with profiling, let’s leave aside political correctness,” Rivkin told host Chris Matthews. “It’s a way of marshaling scarce resources to manage a large threat.” The Transportation Security Administration has increased inbound flight screening measures in 14 foreign countries of origin including: Afghanistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Cuba, Libya, Pakistan and Nigeria.  Rivkin noted that the real question was whether this was the right way to profile.

“I frankly think we need to look at other factors: We need to look at age, we need to look at gender …. but we shouldn’t be blinded by it,“ he added.

Rivkin asserted that the profiling process should be combined with other measures and worked “from beginning to end” of the transportation process. “Selecting people, checking people, making sure they don’t get through if they are carrying some suspicious objects, you need to do it all,” Rivkin said.

Joining Rivkin on the broadcast was Alejandro Beutel of the Muslim Public Affairs Council, who offered a counterargument that behavioral profiling was more useful, while agreeing with Rivkin that there should be a “layered defense.” Matthews took the side of Rivkin, also admitting our lack of resources and pointing out to Beutel that it was simply “common sense” to profile based on countries of origin.

“I’m not against nuanced behavioral profiling but we don’t have the resources for it,” Rivkin said. “If we push Al-Qaeda to stop recruiting [from these countries] … this is what you do in warfare, you push your enemy to operate in less than optimal ways. I would bet they won’t be able to recruit enough Scandinavians [to counter profiling measures].”

Rivkin told Beutel that he was wrongly worried about broader groups being stigmatized. “We don’t do that in this country,” Rivkin said. “All we are talking about is allocating resources, not stigmatizing.”

About David Rivkin
David Rivkin is an attorney in private practice and partner at Baker & Hostetler in Washington, D.C., who has had a lengthy career distinguished by service in the White House during two presidents’ terms, in the U.S. Department of Justice and in the U.S. Department of Energy. He is a well-known writer and media commentator on matters of constitutional and international law, as well as foreign and defense policy. He is a visiting fellow at the Nixon Center, contributing editor at the National Review, and a member of the Advisory Council at National Interest magazine. He currently serves as co-chairman of the Center for Law and Counterterrorism at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. He also represents foreign governments and corporate entities on legal, political, defense, economy and public relations matters.

For more information, visit www.davidrivkin.com or contact:
David B. Rivkin, Jr.
Suite 1100
1050 Connecticut Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20036-5304