New details of the Transportation Security Administration’s behavior screening have been leaked, and they are just as ludicrous as expected.
The Transportation Security Administration’s checklist for spotting suspicious behavior has been leaked to The Intercept. The checklist, also known as the SPOT Referral Report, is part of the much maligned Screening Passengers by Observation Techniques program, also known as SPOT. Under the program Behavior Detection Officers identify suspicious passengers, monitors their activity, and questions the suspect to determine threat potential.
The checklist includes 92 items with different categories including a call for further inspection based on passengers’ possible “signs of deception.” These signs of deception the TSA is trained to watch for include having a recently shaved beard, whistling, and “wearing improper attire for the location.” Critics say the checklist is further proof that the TSA is a waste of taxpayer dollars and continues to be unsuccessful at catching terrorists.
Passengers are given a preliminary “observation and behavior analysis,” and then, if suspected of terrorism, they are pulled aside and inspected further. At this point the checklist calls for scoring suspicious behavior based on two or more categories. This includes having “unusual items” such as”numerous prepaid calling cards or cell phones.” The Behavior Detection Officers can also deduct points from passengers’ terrorism “scores”. For example, if two people are married and over the age of 55 they could each have one point deducted.
“Behavior detection, which is just one element of the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) efforts to mitigate threats against the traveling public, is vital to TSA’s layered approach to deter, detect and disrupt individuals who pose a threat to aviation,” the TSA told The Intercept.
The leaked document comes one week after the American Civil Liberties Union and the New York Civil Liberties Union filed suit against the TSA for records related to the SPOT program. The civil liberties organizations say they are seeking records related to the effectiveness of the widely criticized program, as well as the percentage of minorities that are targeted.
In November 2013 the Government Accountability Office released a report Wednesday detailing the massive financial failures of the behavior screening program. According to the report, the program works “no better than chance” and has not proven effective even at a cost of more than $1 billion since 2007. Steve Lord, director of the investigation for the GAO, stated that the “”TSA has yet to empirically demonstrate the effectiveness of the program.”
The new details of the behavior screening program reveal how arbitrary TSA training methods truly are. With over a billion dollars spent on this failure of a program, it has become even more obvious that the U.S. government’s Fear Campaign built around the War on Terror is yet another farce in a long line of lies from the alleged authorities.