Despite repeated recommendations by GAO and Congressional criticism of TSA’s Screening of Passengers by Observation Techniques (SPOT) program, TSA Administrator John Pistole, has not only ignored recommendations by but openly defied oversight by not only maintaining the program but conspiring to expand it. The behavioral detection program that TSA has wasted hundreds of millions of tax dollars incredibly purports to train the average low IQ TSA employee to become a mind reader in only a few weeks.
As any rational person would quickly conclude, not only does this not work, it has led to hundreds of insanely abusive screenings of passengers and the unwarranted detention and harassment of law abiding citizens.
Hopefully, Mr. Pistole, who is responsible for molesting more children than Jerry Sandusky, will not escape the wrath of Congressional oversight committees and will soon be brought to justice for his abusive treatment of taxpayers and travelers.
By Stephen Dinan – The Washington Times – Thursday, April 10, 2014
The government’s chief auditor has urged TSA to cut its behavior screening program, but the agency instead quietly expanded it last month on passengers at Baltimore-Washington Thurgood Marshall International Airport.
Under the “targeted conversation” checks, which began March 5 and will run through April 28 as part of a test, Transportation Security Administration officers try to strike up conversations with passengers and airport employees in an effort to snoop out would-be terrorists, according to documents obtained by Democrats in Congress.
But those Democrats said TSA’s behavior detection programs are a waste of money, have failed to screen out suspected terrorists and violate the rights of regular passengers. Even worse, the lawmakers said, TSA officials may have misled members of Congress about how they would use the expanded checks.
“This [program] represents an intrusion into the privacy of the flying public through a process TSA has not scientifically validated,” the lawmakers said in a letter signed by Rep. Bennie G. Thompson of Mississippi, the ranking Democrat on the House Homeland Security Committee, joined by three other high-ranking Democrats. The TSA didn’t respond to a request for comment late Thursday on the test program or the letter from Democrats.
A report last year from the Government Accountability Office, the federal government’s chief auditor, said behavior detection is unproven and called the airport program a waste of money. In the wake of that report, TSA chief John S. Pistole acknowledged to Congress that the program had not nabbed a single would-be terrorist.
“Questions are presented in a customer-friendly manner and not confrontational,” the TSA said in its documents. The questions are secret, the lawmakers said. Passengers who refuse to answer the questions are forced to go through secondary screening, the Democrats said.
“Given the lack of scientific validation that [behavior detection officers] are capable of detecting the presence of an individual who poses a threat to aviation security, it is unlikely that scientific validation exists to show that the use of the same methodology would enable BDOs to identify an individual who is a low risk and only requires minimal and expedited checkpoint screening,” they said.
In addition to Mr. Thompson, the letter was signed by Rep. John Conyers Jr. of Michigan, the ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee; Rep. Elijah E. Cummings of Maryland, the ranking Democrat on the Oversight and Government Reform Committee; and Rep. Cedric L. Richmond of Louisiana, the ranking Democrat on the Homeland Security transportation subcommittee.