Two years ago I wrote about the introduction of the TSA’s “sophisticated behavioral inspections” known as spot that “requires screeners to make quick reads of whether passengers pose a danger or a terror threat based on their reactions to a set of routine questions…”
At the time I was very skeptical that this would do anything to enhance security:
Four days of classroom instruction and 24 hours of on-the-job training.
To do psychological evaluations of passengers in a matter of seconds, after three questions.
..[T]he point here is that the Israeli security model doesn’t scale. Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion airport processes 12 million passengers a year. Orlando handles about 33 million, and that’s not even one of the ten busiest airports in the United States.
When you roll out a project that may work at what would amount to a busy, regional airport in the U.S. (but not even a hub), that has been developed over years, and try to roll it out across a much larger system you wind up with TSA agents — who weren’t hired for their profiling skills — taking a few days of classes and being turned out on the traveling public to decide whose ‘micro expressions’ make them a threat to national security.
This is just silly.
And now after spending over a billion dollars on the program, the Department of Homeland Security’s Inspector General agrees with me.
The Transportation Security Administration has little evidence that an airport passenger screening program, which some employees believe is a magnet for racial profiling and has cost taxpayers nearly one billion dollars, screens passengers objectively, according to a report by the inspector general for the Homeland Security Department.
…According to the report, the T.S.A. has not assessed the effectiveness of the program, which has 2,800 employees and does not have a comprehensive training program. The T.S.A. cannot “show that the program is cost-effective, or reasonably justify the program’s expansion,” the report said.
As a result of the T.S.A.’s ineffective oversight of the program, it “cannot ensure that passengers at U.S. airports are screened objectively,” the report said.
But it doesn’t matter if the program is effective or a total waste of money that engages in racial profiling, because
“Behavior analyses techniques add an additional layer of unseen security measures for the safety of all passengers that begins prior to arriving at the checkpoint”
It’s been previously reported that the program has been used to question African Americans wearing baseball caps backwards and Hispanics traveling to Florida “managers..believed that stopping and questioning them would turn up drugs, outstanding arrest warrants or immigration problems.”