Why is what El Al does a violation of the United States Constitution while the ridiculously invasive new standards imposed by the Transportation Security Administration are not?
The procedures of El Al, Israel's primary airline, begin once someone buys a ticket. Employees do background checks and connect as many dots as possible.
If they don't find anything wrong with the background checks, the next step happens when a passenger gets to the airport. El Al agents - all with Israel Defense Forces training - ask about who packed the bags, whether anyone else has had them, and so forth.
Besides the answers, the agents are looking at the passenger's behavior and body language.
The background checks and the observance of physical behavior are where El Al evidently gets into a constitutional slippery slope here.
But with the current fuss over the full body scanning machines and patdowns - particularly affected are people with medical problems - El Al's procedures, successful for 40 years, are worth adopting. It's easier to justify profiling than it is to justify the patting down and exposure to radiation of people with prosthetic devices and fluid collection bags.
It's also likely better protection against terrorism.