Sunday, June 08, 2014

TSA Profiling At Airports Has Yet To Nab A Terrorist

The TSA’s behavior-profiling program at airports has been in effect for seven years, but has yet to identify any potential terrorists who pose a threat to aviation, the agency’s administrator acknowledged Thursday.

Mr. Pistole is fighting to preserve the profiling program, run by Behavior Detection Officers, or BDOs, in the face of a new government-watchdog report that says the research shows officers are little better than random chance in picking out potentially dangerous passengers.

The Government Accountability Office recommended cutting funding — and that proposal has the support of a number of members of Congress, who said the $200 million a year spent on profiling could be better spent elsewhere.

Mr. Pistole acknowledged that the BDO program hasn’t detected any would-be terrorists, and that most of the people that end up being referred all the way to law enforcement are illegal immigrants, drug traffickers or those with outstanding arrest warrants.

The BDO program is separate from the screenings of luggage and passengers performed by security officers.

BDOs are trained to look for 94 different telltale behaviors that could signal a dangerous intent. But the GAO review said officers interpret the behavioral cues differently, making it subjective.

In fact, during their review of a month of operations, the GAO found some officers never referred a single passenger for a secondary screening.

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