'You Might Be a Terrorist If…': Leaked Document Reveals Secret TSA Check List

Obtained exclusively by The Intercept and described in a news story on Friday, a leaked Transportation Safety Administration document reveals the “suspicious signs”—including excessive yawning, a cold hard stare, or a rigid posture—that TSA agents have been trained to look for as airline passengers make their way through U.S. airports in the post-9/11 era.

The document details how a 92-point checklist for TSA agent is divided into numerous categories with a point score corresponding to the various kinds of personal traits or behaviors exhibited by unwitting travelers.

According to The Intercept:

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The TSA responded to The Intercept’s inquiries about the document by calling it “just one element” of its strategy to “mitigate threats against the traveling public,” but the journalists who reported the story, Cora Currier and Jana Winter, point out that strong evidence exists that these kinds of programs are very ineffective in accurately identifying or predicting passengers who may want to cause harm.

“The TSA has insisted on keeping documents about SPOT secret, but the agency can’t hide the fact that there’s no evidence the program works,” said Hugh Handeyside, a staff attorney with the ACLU which just filed a lawsuit against the agency for failing to publicly disclose requested information about the SPOT program.

One  former Behavior Detection Officer manager, who asked not to be identified, told Currier and Winter that the TSA approach to profiling passengers suffers from both lack of science and simple inconsistency, with every airport training its officers differently. “The SPOT program is bullshit,” the manager told The Intercept. “Complete bullshit.”

 

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