It is my pleasure to introduce John Cardillo as a new contributor here at America’s Right. John served with the New York Police Department throughout the 1990s before moving south to Miami and becoming a bona fide Internet powerhouse. John’s company, Sentinel Tech Holding Corp., is the fusion of his experience with data and investigations, and has succeeded in making the World Wide Web a safer place for our nation’s children and younger generation.
Sentinel introduced SentinelSAFE, the world’s most powerful sex offender detection tool utilizing more than 100 points of identification, and in December 2006 partnered with MySpace.com, the world’s largest social networking site with over 400,000,000 profiles. About six months later, Sentinel and MySpace booted nearly 30,000 sex offenders from the site.
John and his team work closely with law enforcement and non-governmental organizations such as The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), with which they partnered in January 2007, in order to ensure safer and more secure online experiences. In 2008, he received a tribute by the Florida House of Representatives for his work in, online crime and predator detection, online child safety, and for protecting over 300,000,000 internet end users from criminals and sexual predators. Today, John is considered one of the world’s foremost experts on online safety and security, as well as related products and technologies.
In his spare time, John sits on the boards of directors of the South Florida Make a Wish Foundation and The Family Online Safety Institute. He is a Young Founder of Mt. Sinai Medical Center on Miami Beach, and a Fellow with the Lloyd Society, a Washington DC based think-tank. He is also a member of Harvard Law School’s Berkman Center’s Internet Safety Technical Task Force, and the FBI’s Infragard program.
It is an absolute pleasure to have John here atAmerica’s Right, and I look forward to his contributions on everything from politics to law enforcement to the manifestation of his keen insight on the ins and outs of his online security industry and its legislative aspects. His conservative voice, grounded in his unique background, will be an immense asset to this site.
Apologize for What?
by John Cardillo, America’s Right
We sincerely regret that the passengers on flight 175 did not have a positive travel experience on January 1, 2009. Security is a shared responsibility and this incident highlights the multiple layers of security that are in place in today’s aviation environment. While ultimately this issue proved to be a misunderstanding, the steps taken were necessary.
The apology was the end result of an incident on New Year’s Day in which nine Arab Muslims were removed from an AirTran flight from Reagan National Airport in Washington, D.C. to Orlando, Florida. Of the nine passengers, six were adults, three were children. All but one was a U.S.-born citizen, and all adults were wearing traditional Muslim garb.
The incident began when two other passengers alerted the air crew after allegedly hearing something suspicious from the Muslim group. In turn, the air crew alerted two federal Air Marshals onboard. Subsequently, the Marshals relayed the alert to airport police who then made the proper notifications to federal authorities. The pilot, acting on all of the information–including the actions of the Air Marshals–made a decision to delay the flight and de-board the aircraft. TSA, Airport Police and FBI then rescreened the passengers, baggage, and interviewed the suspected parties. After two hours, the plane took off nine passengers lighter.
As reported, the actions taken were a very logical and reasonable application of, and reaction to, the post 9/11 mantra of “if you see something, or hear something … say something.” Passengers were understandably concerned because seven years ago, murderers who used airplanes as weapons looked very much like the people saying suspicious things on that plane. Of course, such a concern was feast upon by the press, and the mainstream media was quick to accuse the reporting passengers of racial profiling. The usual reporting from the usual suspects ensued, and one by one the far left talking heads decried profiling as the most horrible thing since the Bubonic Plague.
But, is there anything wrong with profiling? No, in my opinion, there is not.
In fact, I believe that racial, ethnic, and religious profiling are highly effective elements of investigative and risk assessment. Yes, I said it — racial, religious, and ethnic profiling, when used to secure the Homeland or in the course of law enforcement investigations, are good things. They are also very necessary in our post-9/11 world.
Flying quite often on business, I am always loathe to see the walker- or wheelchair-bound Irish grandfather from Des Moines, Iowa struggling to deal with the intrusiveness and extensiveness of extended screening. Even if grandpa did have ill intent, even if there was a reason for that extended screening, the poor man would need two rest stops long before he got from seat 14C to that armored cockpit door. Yet, inevitably, while he’s being screened, a group of young Arab Muslim males stroll up to the metal detector without so much as a second look.
Wait, did I just say “Arab Muslims” and not identify them as “ethnic youths,” or “men of south Asian descent,” or merely mention they were “dark-skinned?” Yes, yes I did, because I refuse to allow the P.C. movement to rob me of my common sense. Before we can address a threat, we must identify that threat. On the morning of September 11, 2001, Arab Muslim males killed 3,000 innocent people. Let’s not forget that. Arab Muslim males are the Taliban, the Insurgency, and the homicide bombers.
Am I saying that all Arab Muslim males are terrorists? Of course not. The vast majority are honest, hard-working Americans just like you and me, or law-abiding visitors enjoying a vacation, education or business in America. However, because a terror threat does exist, and because the risk of that act of terror being carried out by a young Arab Muslim male is disproportionately higher than the risk of that same act being carried out by old white, black or Hispanic people, Arab Muslim males in the 18-45 age range should undergo extended screening far more often than–and long before–the elderly vice chairwoman of the Syracuse Ladies Auxiliary.
“How can you be so bigoted!?” my liberal friends, family members, and business associates often ask. My response is always the same: “How can you be so clueless?” I’m not a bigot, but I am a pragmatist, a safety and security professional, and a former New York City cop. Currently, under my direction, my company is responsible for finding and removing dangerous sexual predators from online communities with over 400,000,000 end users. We police an environment with a population greater than that of the United States. I have just a bit of investigative experience and have come to know which tactics work, and which do not. Profiling is one that works.
For many years, law enforcement has effectively profiled by race and ethnicity. The NYPD, FBI and other agencies have organized crime task forces which focus on particular ethnic groups and geographies. Yet, because the subjects of those investigations are not Arab Muslim, the liberal darlings du jour in the mainstream media largely ignores them.
When investigating La Cosa Nostra, for example, the NYPD and FBI profile Italian Americans. As an Italian American, I applaud that common sense approach, and encourage it to continue. Likewise, cocaine trade investigations focus on Latin Americans, and when the Westies, the extremely violent Irish mob from Hell’s Kitchen, was a violent problem in New York City, Irish cops staked out Irish pubs looking for Irish bad guys. It’s common sense, and the alternative is ludicrous — unless they intentionally want to waste valuable time and money, law enforcement officials would be ill-advised to set up in a Polish neighborhood looking for Bloods and Crips.
Why then, if the NYPD and FBI focus their terror investigations on mosques along Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn, or certain cities in Michigan which have the largest Arab Muslim population in the United States, is there media uproar about this recent incident? Why, when Arab Muslims are profiled, after suspicious activity or conversation on an airplane, is the media so quick to vilify the passengers reporting? These actions, after all, are not an indictment of all Arab Muslims, but rather are simply sound reactions to a perceived threat based on empirical information. Unfortunately, the P.C. crowd wants to obfuscate that truth and twist it until it fits their dangerous agenda. Even more unfortunate is that they have a tremendously powerful public relations wing in most of the mainstream media.
Of those kicked off the Air Tran flight, one was a doctor and another a lawyer. Two highly educated successful people who, probably better than most, understand the suspicion their appearance brings and why. As the good patriotic Americans that I’m sure they are, they should appreciate the diligence. Instead of wanting an apology, they should commend AirTran, the Air Marshals, the FBI and all of the other agencies involved for their methodical and rational reaction to such a situation.
Next time, it might not be a false alarm, and an alert passenger might just protect their own children. As far as I’m concerned, an apology is never owed when sound decisions are made to protect innocent lives.
John Cardillo, a former NYPD officer now considered to be one of the world’s foremost experts on online safety and security, is president and CEO of Sentinel Tech Holding Corp., an Internet security company which specializes in online crime and predator detection, online child safety, and the protection of Internet end users from criminals and sexual predators. Cardillo lives in Miami, Florida and, in his spare time, can be found astride his Harley-Davidson, in the Florida Keys, at the shooting range, or on South Beach. He has been contributing to America’s Right since January 2009.