Date: July 28, 2005
Sent to but not published in New York Times

I am afraid that Paul Sperry (Op-Ed July 28: A23) has it precisely wrong. Profiling terrorist bombers on the basis of physical appearance is a strategy doomed to failure.

The terrorists are not stupid, they can learn. If the terror network finds out that police are profiling dark, Arabic -looking young men, then they will do as the FLN did in Algeria: that is recruit light skinned, blond people to carry their bombs for them. Random searching is the strategy of choice until we can develop reliable behavioral (as opposed to physical appearance) profiles.