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How do you feel about behavior-observing officers?

How do you feel about behavior-observing officers?

Old Aug 5, 07, 6:18 am
  #1  
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How do you feel about behavior-observing officers?

http://www.tsa.gov/press/happenings/bwi_story.shtm

How do you feel about the SPOT program?

I feel torn. On one hand, it's kind of a good thing, because many criminals do feel nervousness before they do their crime, so they can notice that.

On another hand, however, I think it's pointless. A very well-groomed terrorist can easily conceal his/her feelings, and we ordinary people do get stressed at times - do that make us a suspect? For example, if I'm really stressed (if, for example, I'm going through an identify theft crisis, or my grandma had died and I was anxious to get home) would that make me "flagged"? What exactly do they see as suspicious?

Curious for your POV's.

-Andrew
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Old Aug 5, 07, 10:46 am
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Originally Posted by Andy1369 View Post
For example, if I'm really stressed (if, for example, I'm going through an identify theft crisis, or my grandma had died and I was anxious to get home) would that make me "flagged"? What exactly do they see as suspicious?

Curious for your POV's.

-Andrew
Indeed, that MIGHT get you flagged, but the difference between a casual observer like we all are and a TRAINED behavior spotting officer is that he/she would probably be able to tell the behavioral pattern. Then, maybe not but what would you prefer ? Be inconvenienced on a maybe basis and be able to explain it all, or have your relatives all be flagged a week later as they are flying to your memorial service held on land a few thousand or hundred miles from where your plane was blown up mid-ocean ?

There is no doubt that our counterterrorism approach is flawed by the degree of individual freedom we take for granted, but these liberties can and must lapse when your own interest and safety are at stake. Israel, where maintaining security is a paramount science which has precedence above all liberties without any signficant challenge from those at risk, has behavioral evaluators everywhere and their results are good. My only concern is that efforts in that direction in the US will be fought on and on by pea brains who do not realize that freedom is useless when you are dead. Take the example of those who discuss at length in one of the forums how to smuggle liquids on board. They completely ignore the fact that two "perfect strangers" could walk aboard a plane with medium quantities of 2 completely innocuous liquids bought at your local supermarket, mix them in flight and spell disaster. No recipe given here, but it does exist. I'd turn all the writers on that thread over to the FBI, but I am confident that they do not need me for that.
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Old Aug 5, 07, 11:01 am
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I have mixed feelings about SPOT. Maybe after I've seen some of their training and gain a better understanding of it, I'll have something better to say.
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Old Aug 5, 07, 11:34 am
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Originally Posted by Cofyknsult View Post
pea brains who do not realize that freedom is useless when you are dead.
And life is meaningless unless you are free. But I digress...

IF the TSA's BDOs are sufficiently well trained AND have the aptitude for the task, it might work. But since the TSA has consistently shown it cannot even field a force of trained and competent screeners, I'm not holding my breath.

Wait for the false alarm stories to start. And the TSA spin about how BDOs have caught umpteen NON-TERRORISTs but "people you wouldn't want on your flight (Kiptalk)".

I could be wrong. Yeah.
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Old Aug 5, 07, 11:37 am
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Originally Posted by Wally Bird View Post
I could be wrong. Yeah.
Yeah...
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Old Aug 5, 07, 11:38 am
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There is no way that SPOT is going to be effective given the short-duration, limited scope of the training, the very limited backgrounds of the employees conducting it and the overall mindset of the TSA and its staff.

I've been "SPOT"ed three times - the approach they take with me is usually making some type of comment about my college T shirt, to which I usually tell them to go play SPOT with someone else and just walk away. Other posts in this forum illustrate a SPOT observer coming up to the customer while holding a clipboard and answering a set of fixed questions

To compare these TSA people with the behavior observing employees of El Al (for example) would be like comparing the fry cook at Burger King with Julia Child.
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Old Aug 5, 07, 12:08 pm
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Originally Posted by bocastephen View Post
There is no way that SPOT is going to be effective given the short-duration, limited scope of the training, the very limited backgrounds of the employees conducting it and the overall mindset of the TSA and its staff.

I've been "SPOT"ed three times - the approach they take with me is usually making some type of comment about my college T shirt, to which I usually tell them to go play SPOT with someone else and just walk away. Other posts in this forum illustrate a SPOT observer coming up to the customer while holding a clipboard and answering a set of fixed questions

To compare these TSA people with the behavior observing employees of El Al (for example) would be like comparing the fry cook at Burger King with Julia Child.
yup! see spot run: another waste of tax dollars which could otherwise be put to an actually functional use .

training a 90 day wonder isn't gonna cut it. becoming a behavoiral expert takes a lot more time AND education than that and the mindest of the tsa just doesn't get it. we live in a world where we have the abilty to create some of the greatest technology ever imagined yet we are stuck in a kip-lock baggie and x-ray machines cannot detect explosives mindset .

i too have been spotted. it was in bos by two staties (massachusetts state police officers/aka troopers, er troopahs). they walked up to me and wanted to know if they could ask me a few questions. i said "sure and btw, very nice piece on 60 minutes about spot" (they just happened to be the 2 troopers profiled on 60 minutes). they were caught a little off guard but to keep up the facade, they asked to see my i/d.

spot: "oh, so you're from frisco, i've always wanted to go there."
me: only tourists call it frisco like tourists he-ah (putting on my own boston accent) call boston beantown.
spot: you from he-ah?
me: yup, spent almost 20 ye-ahs growin' up he-ah.
spot: <handing me back my i/d> "have a nice flight"
me: thank you. so did i pass your test and may i see both of your i/d's please?
spot: beg your pahdan
me: because as members of law enforcement, you are required to show yoru i/d when requested and i'd also like to write a letter [n.b. i did not say what knd of letter ]
spot1 & spot2: begrudgingly hand me their i/d's where i promptly record the information.
me: thank you both and have a great rest of the day.
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Old Aug 5, 07, 12:24 pm
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Originally Posted by Cofyknsult View Post
......but these liberties can and must lapse when your own interest and safety are at stake. ...
.....
Life is fraught with danger. If you think you can give up liberty for the illusion of safety then you have truly bought into the fear propaganda hook, line and sinker.

Those who give up liberty for the illusion of safety deserve neither safety nor liberty.

Last edited by UALOneKPlus; Aug 5, 07 at 3:02 pm
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Old Aug 5, 07, 12:41 pm
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Is this entire post for real?

Indeed, that MIGHT get you flagged, but the difference between a casual observer like we all are and a TRAINED behavior spotting officer is that he/she would probably be able to tell the behavioral pattern.
The TSA SPOT participants are not TRAINED observers - they took a short class and were let loose to expand the TSA's brand of institutionalized incompetence.

Then, maybe not but what would you prefer ? Be inconvenienced on a maybe basis and be able to explain it all, or have your relatives all be flagged a week later as they are flying to your memorial service held on land a few thousand or hundred miles from where your plane was blown up mid-ocean ?
All I can say is

There is no doubt that our counterterrorism approach is flawed by the degree of individual freedom we take for granted, but these liberties can and must lapse when your own interest and safety are at stake.
Sure, let's just get rid of the Constitution altogether - that darn pesky document is putting us all at risk. Who needs it? We're at war, dammit!

Israel, where maintaining security is a paramount science which has precedence above all liberties without any signficant challenge from those at risk, has behavioral evaluators everywhere and their results are good.
Good results, eh? You might want to discuss that with the victims and families affected by the myriad of bus and cafe bombs that have plagued Israel for many years.

My only concern is that efforts in that direction in the US will be fought on and on by pea brains who do not realize that freedom is useless when you are dead.
I'd rather be dead than live in the AmeriKa you envision.

Take the example of those who discuss at length in one of the forums how to smuggle liquids on board. They completely ignore the fact that two "perfect strangers" could walk aboard a plane with medium quantities of 2 completely innocuous liquids bought at your local supermarket, mix them in flight and spell disaster. No recipe given here, but it does exist.
No it doesn't exist - and the myth has been busted by many respected scientists - maybe you'd like to turn those scientists over to the FBI, as it's obvious someone needs to question their loyalty . Don't like my smuggle info? Don't read it.

I'd turn all the writers on that thread over to the FBI, but I am confident that they do not need me for that.
No, please. Indulge us. Go ahead and contact your local FBI office and TSA HQ and please let them know all about our little forum.
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Old Aug 5, 07, 1:35 pm
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The only SPOT officers worth a damn are "Spot" officers, i.e., sniffer dogs.
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Old Aug 5, 07, 1:48 pm
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I'd say it was great if it was almost anyone but the TSA.

In those positions you need cops or feds who have been on the job 20+ years and have seen every sort of liar around and can tell the difference. THEN you put them through an extensive training program (NOT run by the TSA), THEN you put them out with the public.
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Old Aug 5, 07, 2:27 pm
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Originally Posted by Cofyknsult View Post
There is no doubt that our counterterrorism approach is flawed by the degree of individual freedom we take for granted, but these liberties can and must lapse when your own interest and safety are at stake. Israel, where maintaining security is a paramount science which has precedence above all liberties without any signficant challenge from those at risk, has behavioral evaluators everywhere and their results are good. My only concern is that efforts in that direction in the US will be fought on and on by pea brains who do not realize that freedom is useless when you are dead.
The above is a really frightening statement.

First, here's the thing about our "safety" being at stake. Chemical and explosives experts have all stated the liquid threat was totally bogus. For that matter, many other things we're doing at checkpoints--like the shoe carnival--are really not going to do much to improve safety. So I really question just how much our safety is at stake, and how much the measures being taken are actually doing anything to make us safer, verses simply giving the appearance of making us safer.

And things like warrantless, illegal wiretaps, and blatant ignorance of things like the Geneva conventions and the US Constitution, which the Bush administration has pushed as necessary for "our safety" are not acceptable no matter what the threat to our safety and security.

Second, sure, a totalitarian police state society might be "safer," but it is somewhere I'd rather be dead than live in. I'm sure I'm far from the only one who feels the "you can't be safe if you're dead" line is total BS, and a complete cop-out.


Originally Posted by Cofyknsult View Post
Take the example of those who discuss at length in one of the forums how to smuggle liquids on board. They completely ignore the fact that two "perfect strangers" could walk aboard a plane with medium quantities of 2 completely innocuous liquids bought at your local supermarket, mix them in flight and spell disaster. No recipe given here, but it does exist. I'd turn all the writers on that thread over to the FBI, but I am confident that they do not need me for that.
Turn people over to the FBI? For what offense? If people on a message forum know how easy it is to smuggle liquids aboard and how easily one could mix, say, bleach and ammonia, to create a dangerous brew which could spell disaster, then I am sure the professionals out there in al-Qaeda and the various other terrorist groups looking to do mischief and evil don't need our help explaining it to them.

To think otherwise is a case of the emperor and his new clothes...
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Old Aug 5, 07, 6:00 pm
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Oh great. So we're running to make our connection thanks to late inbound flight/massive security queues/immigration/terminal dump/whatever, only to get spotted.

What's the matter son? If you have nothing to hide you won't mind us asking questions. Duh, genius, I'm going to miss my flight.

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Old Aug 5, 07, 6:22 pm
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Originally Posted by goalie View Post
they asked to see my i/d.
Did you ask them what the "reasonable and articulable suspicion" was for this request ?

The fact that bocastephen and goalie (neither of whom I am QUITE certain is a terrorist) were picked indicates that the criteria in use are wrong, those using them are untrained or they are simply doing unscientific random selections. QED.
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Old Aug 5, 07, 6:27 pm
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Personally I'm all for it. I'd rather them look for the wielder than the weapon. Some looking for the weapon is necessary but that's all the TSA does right now. The more outs you have the more chances you have to stop the threat as opposed to putting all your eggs in one basket.
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