TSA’s Behavior Detection Program Has a Newsletter, and It’s Ridiculous


From The Intercept, by Jana Winter

The Transportation Security Administration’s embattled behavior detection program has not identified a singe terrorist, but it has produced glossy bi-monthly newsletters poking fun at the traveling public.

In these bi-monthly employee newsletters—six of which were obtained by The Intercept—behavior detection officers, who are supposed to help spot possible terrorists, sometimes make fun of inexperienced or nervous travelers, including one “sweet little old lady” who thought the bowl for metallic objects was a tip jar.

On their own, the newsletters could be regarded as light-hearted workplace fun, but they are also part of a controversial billion dollar program, known a Screening of Passengers by Observation Techniques, or SPOT, which employs specially trained officers, known as Behavior Detection Officers, to rate passengers going through screening for signs of deception. Those alleged signs of deception, which the The Intercept revealed earlier this year, include “excessive yawning” and “wringing…

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