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Old Jan 13, 11, 10:52 am   #1
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Thumbs down Are TSA Behavior Detection Officers Effective? No …

An excellent post by Steven Frischling (aka Flying with Fish), looking at the GAO's report on the TSA's Behavior Detection Officers (BDOs). An excerpt:

Quote:
Of the 14,104 people interviewd by law enforcement following a TSA secondary screening initiated by the TSA, none of them were suspected of terrorist activity. Of the 1,083 people arrested by law enforcement after being SPOTted by a BDO … not one of them was been arrested for being a terrorist, alleged terrorism or having any ties to terrorism.

The most startling issue with the effectiveness of the TSA’s BDO program is this … US GAO reports state that U.S. intelligence agencies show at least 16 alleged terrorists have traveled through eight separate airports where BDOs are deployed on at least 23 separate occasions. At no time were any of these 16 alleged terrorists ever sent to secondary screening or SPOTted by BDOs to be questioned.
More here.
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Old Jan 13, 11, 11:05 am   #2
  
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And are we surprised???? About all they are good for is spraying unknown chemicals on our drinks that were purchased in the 'sterile' are
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Old Jan 13, 11, 11:29 am   #3
  
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I think I differ with most folks on FT regarding the BDO program. I support the BDO program in theory.

The big mistake that TSA makes, and the reason it is ineffective and offensive is that it focuses on "bad things" rather than "bad people".

There are an infinite number of harmful items that can be used to hurt people or aircraft, and an infinite number of items that can be crafted in the secure side of the airport. Banning and then searching for an infinite number of items is simply an exercise in futility.

For that matter, 99.999999% of the time, "bad things" on the airplane are perfectly fine. We accept for instance that guns are on an aircraft are fine....as long as they are carried by non-bad people. Otherwise we wouldn't have FFDOs or FAMs.

It's only when we have "bad people" on an airplane that we have problems. These "bad people" can cause serious problem even without a weapon or an item on the TSA "bad thing" list.

TSA will never secure the air by rubbing on our penis's and vagina's looking for bad things. TSA will never finish compiling that list of all the bad things that could hurt an aircraft/crew.

Only by focusing on bad people and their behaviors will TSA have any hope of catching their very first terrorist.

The BDO program just needs to be done right. 1 or 2 weeks of training isn't enough. Look to the Israeli's. They know how to run a BDO program.
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Old Jan 13, 11, 12:19 pm   #4
  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oboshoe View Post
I think I differ with most folks on FT regarding the BDO program. I support the BDO program in theory.

The big mistake that TSA makes, and the reason it is ineffective and offensive is that it focuses on "bad things" rather than "bad people".

There are an infinite number of harmful items that can be used to hurt people or aircraft, and an infinite number of items that can be crafted in the secure side of the airport. Banning and then searching for an infinite number of items is simply an exercise in futility.

For that matter, 99.999999% of the time, "bad things" on the airplane are perfectly fine. We accept for instance that guns are on an aircraft are fine....as long as they are carried by non-bad people. Otherwise we wouldn't have FFDOs or FAMs.

It's only when we have "bad people" on an airplane that we have problems. These "bad people" can cause serious problem even without a weapon or an item on the TSA "bad thing" list.

TSA will never secure the air by rubbing on our penis's and vagina's looking for bad things. TSA will never finish compiling that list of all the bad things that could hurt an aircraft/crew.

Only by focusing on bad people and their behaviors will TSA have any hope of catching their very first terrorist.

The BDO program just needs to be done right. 1 or 2 weeks of training isn't enough. Look to the Israeli's. They know how to run a BDO program.
Agreed.
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Old Jan 13, 11, 12:22 pm   #5
  
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I stumbled across this old story, was probably discussed here at some point...

http://articles.philly.com/2010-08-1...officer-checks

She was apparently "nervous" to the BDO so they looked through her wallet and concocted a whole fantasy about how she was divorcing her husband and stealing all his money.

Not very effective.
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Old Jan 13, 11, 1:23 pm   #6
  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oboshoe View Post
I think I differ with most folks on FT regarding the BDO program. I support the BDO program in theory.
If you read the opening message in my blog post (as I write Flying With Fish) it states clearly that I support human security assets. I have done extensive research into the TSA and aviation security since I began covering the topic as a journalist (at the time a contract photojournalist for a number of major international news outlets) on Sept 15 2001 (after having been at Ground Zero on Sept 11).

Over the years I have gained a significant insight into the BDO/SPOT program as well as how other aviation security, law enforcement and military agencies use their versions of human body language detection. From what I have learned, the way BDOs operate is ineffective. There are far better ways to deploy trained security officers in the art of individualized preventative security. This does not mean the TSA should adopt an Israeli style security scheme (which I have written about in detail as well), but it does mean there are more viable solutions available to the agency.

So ... that said ... I believe the TSA should utilize human security assets, but in a different manner than the current evolution of the BDO program is being utilized.

Happy Flying!
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Old Jan 13, 11, 1:24 pm   #7
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As eyecue would say, they must have been in another part of the airport...

What a bull crap program
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Old Jan 13, 11, 1:27 pm   #8
  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phoebepontiac View Post
I stumbled across this old story, was probably discussed here at some point...

http://articles.philly.com/2010-08-1...officer-checks

She was apparently "nervous" to the BDO so they looked through her wallet and concocted a whole fantasy about how she was divorcing her husband and stealing all his money.

Not very effective.

The TSA searching a woman's wallet was absurd. I have been stopped twice by BDOs for watching BDOs. I watch everything at airport security for research and apparently making eye contact with BDOs while at the checkpoint gets you secondary.

OK ... more than likely I got stopped because I spent 15-20 min each time outside security with a small Moleskine notebook taking notes before passing through a TSA checkpoint. But if I was a real threat, I probably wouldn't be in a priority lane with Star Gold status, a press credential and probably wouldn't have been so obvious about my watching of TSA procedures.
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Old Jan 13, 11, 1:46 pm   #9
  
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I read a very good book recently about ethics (specifically our ethics with regards to animals, called "Some we Love, Some we Hate, Some we Eat") that had a passing reference to this idea. Not BDO's specifically but the author mentioned that usually terrorists don't act scared or nervous because they believe whole-heartedly in what they are doing. Especially if their motivation is religious. They are very confident. I suspect that the idea they are nervous comes from Hollywood, where the terrorist has some doubts or twinges of "concience" so starts an internal struggle as he's about to commit the crime. I think this author is correct. Look at Jeffrey Daumer for example. Confident, cocky, and didn't everybody who ever met him comment about how sweet and personable he was?
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Old Jan 13, 11, 3:46 pm   #10
  
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Originally Posted by sefrischling View Post
I watch everything at airport security for research and apparently making eye contact with BDOs while at the checkpoint gets you secondary.
I wonder how much time and manpower has been wasted groping and rifling through the belongings of people watchers.
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Old Jan 13, 11, 5:04 pm   #11
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I know of no publicly available data than shows TSA BDO's to offer any value to airport security, and what is available in the public domain clearly shows that TSA BDO's are worthless.
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Old Jan 13, 11, 5:06 pm   #12
  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phoebepontiac View Post
I wonder how much time and manpower has been wasted groping and rifling through the belongings of people watchers.
You can't waste what is already a waste (BDOs).
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Old Jan 13, 11, 5:23 pm   #13
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Originally Posted by phoebepontiac View Post
I wonder how much time and manpower has been wasted groping and rifling through the belongings of people watchers.
All of it.
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