TSA ‘Behavioral Officers’ Monitor Passengers At Airports

TSA ‘Behavioral Officers’ Monitor Passengers At Airports

by Kate Auletta Subscribe to Kate Auletta’s postsPosted Apr 27th 2011 08:45 AM

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Ah, the TSA. Just when a week or two goes by without an agent groping a child, news comes that the TSA has “behavioral indicator officers” to monitor passenger’s antics while in security lines.

If you don’t want to be seen as a suspicious person at the airport, what do these specialists look for?

Be wary of seeming too cocky or verbally express displeasure with long lines. Don’t look fearful or impatient.

The specialists are currently deployed in 161 airports around the country, according to the TSA.

Civil liberties groups say it’s “absurd” that exercising your right to freedom of speech should seem suspicious. Michael German of the ACLU even called it “anti-American.”

But are these specialists even useful? Terrorist experts say would-be terrorists try to keep a low profile at the airport to deflect attention. And national security analyst Peter Bergen told CNN that “it doesn’t make any sense to me.”

Yet the immigration agent who stopped the so-called 20th 9/11 hijacker recalled that his behavior was “arrogant.” The TSA modeled this program off that argument and other conversations with would-be hijackers.

On the TSA’s website, behavior detection officers are

“screening travelers for involuntary physical and physiological reactions that people exhibit in response to a fear of being discovered. TSA recognizes that an individual exhibiting some of these behaviors does not automatically mean a person has terrorist or criminal intent. Individuals exhibiting specific observable behaviors may be referred for additional screening at the checkpoint to include a handwanding, limited pat down and physical inspection of one’s carry-on baggage.”

Do you think behavioral specialists are a good idea?
Yes, it’s an extra layer of security.No, it’s completely ludicrous.


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