Airport Security Finally Starting to Israelify with Behavior Screenings

by September 19, 2011 09/19/11

Finally? Yes, almost a year ago I wrote an article here on ITS Tactical where I said that Airport Security needed to be “Israelified.

Last month we got the word that the TSA (Transportation Security Administration) would be screening passenger behavior at Boston Logan Airport. I’m really glad and also surprised to see the TSA institute this, as it’s certainly profiling and something I never thought the government would have the backbone to implement.

The profiling is part of a $1 Billion national program called SPOT (Screening Passengers by Observation Techniques) and trains TSA screeners to ask passengers non-intrusive questions to see how they respond. Suspicious or anxious behavior, like avoiding eye contact and searching for answers will warrant additional screening.

While the program is still in its pilot phase, I feel it’s certainly a step in the right direction. I still feel we need to do even more to model our airport security after Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion International Airport, but profiling is a step in the right direction.

What’s your opinion? Do you agree that we need to Israelify our Airport Security even further?


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Luc
Luc

Disagree. America is not Occupying Palestine!!! Context people...Context.

nathan
nathan

to me it is germany all over again do we forget that it was the nazis that also screened travelers asking for papers. profiled them as "jews". the pat downs, of children, the screening for explosives, come on, are afraid of our own country men and woman. i am an american i am free and i have a free mind i don't need people on capital hill telling me how to live and creating panic just so i can travel. i am free this is my country what paper did i sign giving them the power the treat my fellow americans like criminals? i never and will never give them that right. the goverment is the people not the the men in the white house. they work for the people. my rights are from my fore fathers they gave thier blood and were called terrorist. TSA homeland security have no right to violate my rights. i rather walk or drive from point A to point B on free land then fly in a police state plane.

Brian
Brian

I agree with this and I was happy to see they implemented it. As a Muslim I am very familiar with the Wahhabi element in my religion and know that while not all Wahhabis are dangerous the ones that are dangerous are EXTREMELY dangerous. My hopes with this program is that old women and children will stop being molested by unconstitutional invasions of privacy and that security will be improved without infringing on liberty. My concern however is that it will be stupidly implemented. An example of stupidly implemented is going solely based on looks. To offer a personal example I am referred to secondary screening every time I've flown in the last 3 years and I have no record of any kind, the only thing that changed was the way I dress. I wear a kufi (head covering) every where I go and when people see me they know I'm Muslim. The TSA seems to think that if a Qaeda member was going to try something that they would wear traditional Islamic garb which is completely ridiculous. We all know the descriptions of the hijackers on that horrible day in September and it most definitely wasn't traditional Islamic garb.

Joe
Joe

I'm shocked to hear they actually had to implement this. I thought observing behavior is an obvious part of any law enforcement or security role. You really need to tell our airport security, "hey, if the guy is evasive or searching for answers maybe you should secondary him". WTF, really? IMO that means up until this point we didn't even have airport security.

Cameron
Cameron

There are a lot of good points here and some bad, but there's a recurring theme: that we all want to be safe. When I get on a plane, whether it's on orders or just on vacation, I want to be sure that since I can't personally check over every other person getting on with me, the person being paid to do so does it thoroughly. There's very little that pisses me off more than going through a security checkpoint where the personnel are either inattentive or don't do a thorough job, because if I could've sneaked a weapon through it, a determined terrorist could have to. Let's not mince words gentlemen. Many unemployed young men in the Middle East have college degrees. Even if their schools aren't up to snuff when compared with US universities, they're still schools. Schools of design and architecture, schools of engineering, schools of chemistry. All wonderful tools for a pissed off extremist to use in an attack against Americans (or any other country for that matter). The reality of our current situation is that our government has taken steps it believes are necessary in the protection of civilians, and if you have nothing to hide, those steps are acceptable. Would I prefer that an alternate screening method be used than a TSA worker groping me at the airport? Definitely. But is the threat real? Even more so. We can't create a security system that's 100% effective, but we can take more steps to prevent inventive hijackers and bombers from getting their way. For example, what if an inventive terrorist had a like-minded doctor surgically implant explosives in him? It wouldn't take much C-4 or semtex to cause a fuselage failure in a plane, and with modern circuits the detonator could be the guts from a simple wal-mart grade watch. This WILL go through a metal detector with a small enough button cell battery. Can a pat down look for that kind of threat? No. Can a body scanner? Maybe, if it can see the scarring from recent surgery. Can a metal detector or any other form of passive detection? Only if it's set to an extremely sensitive level, which they aren't at present. But profiling probably could. Odds are this guy would feel terrible and be nervous as all hell with a ticking bomb inside him. All it would take is a nervous glance and elevated skin temperature for a computerized system to pick this up, and upon further questioning it'd be pretty obvious that something wasn't right. In the end, the point I'm trying to make here is that the government is trying its best, even if it's doing a poor job, to protect its citizens and afford them the right to fly, even if it's not necessarily a natural right. Give them a chance to improve and try new methods, instead of shooting down every new program over privacy concerns. This is all for your safety, not to hunt you down and make you feel uncomfortable. I'd rather go through the bull at security checkpoints than be dead because of loose screening.

OCCD
OCCD

Yeah the 'profiling' would be a great additional tool in airport security. Until the ACLU files a ton of lawsuits and ties it all up in court. We've tied ours hands so much with the being 'sensitive' and 'offended', we can't get out of our own way.

Garrett
Garrett

Why not just have people man up, and carry guns w/ frangible ammo....I'd rather take those chances than getting blasted out of the sky by taxpayer funded Fighter Jets.

This is land of the FREE home of the BRAVE, not land of the fee home of the slave.

Our gov. creates enemies by sticking it's nose and foot and gun into other people's business.

2ndly you should have a choice of airlines and the airlines should be in charge of their security.

You wanna be felt up and blasted with unsafe radiation that is giving TSA workers cancer?

Uhhh, no thanks I'll be on the GOA plane thank you very much...

This whole thing is a joke. The airports look more like prisons or something out of Nazi Germany

These guys supposedly got past all this billion dollar security system/NORAD on 9/11

and what have we had since then? A shoe bomber and an underwear bomber...really?

Give me a break.

No one will EVER care about your safety more than YOU. Until someone can bring you back from the dead....they have NO RIGHT to disarm you. Period. I'm sure Patrick Henry and Thomas Jefferson would agree.

Garrett
Garrett

Why not just have people man up, and carry guns w/ frangible ammo....I'd rather take those chances than getting blasted out of the sky by taxpayer funded Fighter Jets. This is land of the FREE home of the BRAVE, not land of the fee home of the slave. Our gov. creates enemies by sticking it's nose and foot and gun into other people's business. 2ndly you should have a choice of airlines and the airlines should be in charge of their security. You wanna be felt up and blasted with unsafe radiation that is giving TSA workers cancer? Uhhh, no thanks I'll be on the GOA plane thank you very much... This whole thing is a joke. The airports look more like prisons or something out of Nazi Germany These guys supposedly got past all this billion dollar security system/NORAD on 9/11 and what have we had since then? A shoe bomber and an underwear bomber...really? Give me a break. No one will EVER care about your safety more than YOU. Until someone can bring you back from the dead....they have NO RIGHT to disarm you. Period. I'm sure Patrick Henry and Thomas Jefferson would agree.

Thomas Paine
Thomas Paine

I'm a former US Marine, and I don't think I have ever read more Un-America Bullshit. TSA aka, The Brown-shirts," have helped this corrupt government turn our country into a," Tyrannical Police state." Gentlemen, reread your oaths again. Brush up on the US Constitution and stop suffering from, "Group Thought." Our country is dying, followed by thunderous applause.

Ro
Ro

Land of the free home of the Brave. We should stop using that. On a website that advocates being prepared, learning skills and with a name like imminent threat solutions, every one seems to want to give up the rights to practice what they advocate. Why should I trust some random stranger to not only search my personal belonging but molest children and women in the name of security meanwhile most of them have zero situational awareness and probably no defense skills worth mentioning . So all these tools on this website gets left at home when flying, in essence you are just as useless as every one else on the plane if a situation does arise. You as a law abiding citizen getting searched more evasively than when an Officer arrests some one who committed a crime but That's Ok? We as a people are no longer free and lets face it the majority of us are not brave as we are willing to be violated and allow our family to endure the same with the hopes that some one else who is probably less skilled and for damn sure does not care about you and your own more than you will keep you safe.

If you think its American to allow freely give up your fourth amendment rights, read the words of one of the first Great Americans as he is surely turning in his grave.

"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."

Benjamin Franklin

In the words of Samuel Adams

"May your chains set lightly upon you,"

Ro
Ro

Land of the free home of the Brave. We should stop using that. On a website that advocates being prepared, learning skills and with a name like imminent threat solutions, every one seems to want to give up the rights to practice what they advocate. Why should I trust some random stranger to not only search my personal belonging but molest children and women in the name of security meanwhile most of them have zero situational awareness and probably no defense skills worth mentioning . So all these tools on this website gets left at home when flying, in essence you are just as useless as every one else on the plane if a situation does arise. You as a law abiding citizen getting searched more evasively than when an Officer arrests some one who committed a crime but That's Ok? We as a people are no longer free and lets face it the majority of us are not brave as we are willing to be violated and allow our family to endure the same with the hopes that some one else who is probably less skilled and for damn sure does not care about you and your own more than you will keep you safe. If you think its American to allow freely give up your fourth amendment rights, read the words of one of the first Great Americans as he is surely turning in his grave. "Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." Benjamin Franklin In the words of Samuel Adams "May your chains set lightly upon you,"

Musashi
Musashi

I would have to agree with the above comments regarding the current TSA agents being under quality. As far as profiling goes its a step in the right direction, but i already see them trying to distance them selves from racial profiling. Lets be honest it doesn't make you a racist to use racial profiling in certain instances screening flight is one of the instances. It shouldn't be the only measure used by any means. Another great source for reading people and asking the right questions would be the Gaven Debecker's book The Gift of Fear. On another note I am also weary of giving the TSA to much power. My wacky theory is the feds will use them to replace local police at airports and move on from there. Hence why they hire uneducated power hungry people who they can tell what to do and not have to worry about them questioning what they are told to do.

John Booth
John Booth

Good remarks however:

From the TSA Website here are the qualifications for an applicant:

QUALIFICATIONS REQUIRED:

Applicants must:

Be a U.S. Citizen or U.S. National at time of application submission;

Be at least 18 years of age at time of application submission;

Be proficient in the English language (i.e., able to read, write, speak, and listen);

Have a high school diploma or General Educational Development (GED) credential OR at least one year of full-time work experience in the security industry, aviation screening, or as an X-ray technician.

As for the three hour interviews, they are all canned questions that do not allow for developing further insights into your abilities at the job and if you would be a good fit. (worse than hiring poor performers at TSA, is the fact they often hire over qualified candidates that last a few days to a few months then are off to more suitable employment costing you and me the taxpayer between $10-$30K per attrition). By the way did anyone have a copy of your resume or vita with them when they interviewed you?

You did make a good point about credit problems. That is why TSA cannot hire a Harvard graduate with a degree in Arabic and Middle Eastern Studies because they are carrying well over $100K of college loan debt. Instead they rather have the kid with the GED and no debt (albeit no exceptional skills either) working for them.

While most of the TSA employees I know are good, there is more than enough room for improvement in the whole process. Personally, the first thing I would do is not advertise on Pizza boxes for Sreening Officers.

Jeremy Jackson
Jeremy Jackson

I love this post...easier to get things into a "secure airport" than a Corrections Facility...

I believe CO's don't get enough praise for the amazingly dangerous and biologically hazardous job they do. With out you all, the streets would have even more dangerous people roaming about providing nothing to society...

Thank you for what you do!

Jeremy Jackson
Jeremy Jackson

1. Your obviously an idiot

2. It would be easier to profile people

3. People need to get over the past and STFU when they are profiled for "fitting the bill" and acting nervous

4. What is needed is a TSA that is highly trained, physical group of individuals

4.1 right now they look like a joke so of course idiots are going to pack explosives in their undies and try...why not these morons aren't going to catch him

5. The TSA needs to be offensive in looks, offensive look is more of a deterrent than some moron standing at a podium treating American citizens like dirt

6. If you don't want to be profiled before flying....DON'T FLY...get in your POS Prius and start driving.

7. Liberal effing morons like you need to be escorted to the southern border and dropped off in TJ, maybe then you will understand what it is to be American...THIS---->"People of the United States of America, ask your leaders to show more empathy, respect and honesty towards not only other cultures or religions, but yourself too." is the dumbest thing I have ever read....why show some one compassion or empathy for a group who detests us and will stop at nothing to kill us all if given the chance.

8. Stop watching CNN.

Jose Soto
Jose Soto

About time. We use a similar technique in our checkpoints. It works.

WMDunkin
WMDunkin

This is a good laugh, I will keep it short. I used to work for TSA at Reagan National. There is a lot in place to keep us safe, there is a lot of easy (looking from the inside) ways to get stuff through, yes 95% of TSA employes are dumber then bird shit. Yes the hiring process is just a "detailed" background check not really a how good of a working are you. But with all that being said, we on average took live ammo almost once a week, a firearm about once every 2-3 weeks, drugs, tens of knives daily, and found people trying to smuggle everything from money, to drugs, to weapons, to water (lady tried to hide them in between her legs). So yes they serve a purpose but they could be improved in many ways as well.

Sincerely

Your former TSA Officer now Correctional Officer

WMDunkin
WMDunkin

This is a good laugh, I will keep it short. I used to work for TSA at Reagan National. There is a lot in place to keep us safe, there is a lot of easy (looking from the inside) ways to get stuff through, yes 95% of TSA employes are dumber then bird shit. Yes the hiring process is just a "detailed" background check not really a how good of a working are you. But with all that being said, we on average took live ammo almost once a week, a firearm about once every 2-3 weeks, drugs, tens of knives daily, and found people trying to smuggle everything from money, to drugs, to weapons, to water (lady tried to hide them in between her legs). So yes they serve a purpose but they could be improved in many ways as well. Sincerely Your former TSA Officer now Correctional Officer

luapfitz
luapfitz

I have to disagree with you on several points. I have just been hired as a TSO. The process was a long and very in depth.

First I took several based tests, second had to pass a credit check, 3rd fill out a 50ish page question packet, 4th a 3hour interview with a panel of questioners, 5th pass a physical, 6th pass a security check and finally got hired. I also have to go through a one year conditional assignment which is usually part time.

There is 120 hours of classroom training and several weeks of on the job training.

You can not get a job as a TSO with a criminal record, a dishonorable discharge, bankruptcy within the last 7 years or any serious credit problems.

Also, we are retested yearly and can be fired after 2 low test score.

wayne
wayne

Man, some novel type essays on here:) I'll be brief--I am all for the "Israelifying" of airports. Should have been done long ago.

uri
uri

No, it won't so, bug off and let's get rid of all the freaking terrorists.

YinYam
YinYam

And here we are.

I guess i will be the only one to say this :)

Instead of trying to stop a crazed kamikaze from getting on your flight, and risk heading for some building somewhere, I would like for the concerned governments and citizens of those `at risk` countries to focus on the root of the problem:

The abuse and murders of countless Palestinian civilians and peaceful militants in Palestine,

end a non-justified war in Irak, that made hundreds of thousands of civilians victims for no other reason then making profits ( I.E: Halliburton and others).

People of Israel, ask your leaders to end the non sense, and ask them to let your neighbors live in peace.

People of the United States of America, ask your leaders to show more empathy, respect and honesty towards not only other cultures or religions, but yourself too.

You have let your government destroy countless lives and never asked for the truth.

Under the Bush-Cheney regime, the U.S of A have gone from being the greatest nation in the world to being a police state, taking Gestapo like actions throughout the world, tolerating torture and holding secret prisons in thirld world countries in order to implement said torture acts ( doing it at home would be too dirty), invading a sovereign nation under false pretenses (Irak) .

Food for tought for you readers: dont you think that solving those issues would greatly reduce the risk of you seat buddy on the next Philly flight to get up at some point after you're just done having your morning mimosa and start yelling Allah Hu Akbar and craking the door of the pilot?

Let me know.

:)

YinYam
YinYam

And here we are. I guess i will be the only one to say this :) Instead of trying to stop a crazed kamikaze from getting on your flight, and risk heading for some building somewhere, I would like for the concerned governments and citizens of those `at risk` countries to focus on the root of the problem: The abuse and murders of countless Palestinian civilians and peaceful militants in Palestine, end a non-justified war in Irak, that made hundreds of thousands of civilians victims for no other reason then making profits ( I.E: Halliburton and others). People of Israel, ask your leaders to end the non sense, and ask them to let your neighbors live in peace. People of the United States of America, ask your leaders to show more empathy, respect and honesty towards not only other cultures or religions, but yourself too. You have let your government destroy countless lives and never asked for the truth. Under the Bush-Cheney regime, the U.S of A have gone from being the greatest nation in the world to being a police state, taking Gestapo like actions throughout the world, tolerating torture and holding secret prisons in thirld world countries in order to implement said torture acts ( doing it at home would be too dirty), invading a sovereign nation under false pretenses (Irak) . Food for tought for you readers: dont you think that solving those issues would greatly reduce the risk of you seat buddy on the next Philly flight to get up at some point after you're just done having your morning mimosa and start yelling Allah Hu Akbar and craking the door of the pilot? Let me know. :)

Jeremy Jackson
Jeremy Jackson

Definitely couldn't hurt. Although i think the TSA is mostly a joke anyways. Seems every airport I go to, I have seen at least one "Agent" sleeping. I could count several that I know for a fact, even with my herniated disk and other back problems I could out run several of them. If it came down to it I could out fight most of them at the different places I have been. If I am entrusting my life to them, they should have: better back ground checks on "Agents", a fitness requirement, more stringent training in how to talk to people. (have a bad attitude when asking a passenger something, get one back.) I can't stand when they try to say they "out rank me", or treat me as if I am just a regular passenger when I'm in uniform and flying on orders.

John Booth
John Booth

Excellent comments, however the issue is for Israeli type security to work at TSA the devil is in the details. Let me outline some these devilish details.

First, TSA would have to upgrade their hiring program. Most employees in the security at El Al are college educated and most have served time in the Israeli military. They have a worldliness about them that only comes from being exposed to a multitude of cultures and being subject to military discipline. These security specialists are not government employees, but work for the airline and are paid much more than your average TSA screener. They attend approximately three months of training and are constantly being tested and evaluated. On the other hand, TSA officers receive one week of training before they began their OJT period. I have been told that you cannot work the front counter at McDonalds’ with that little of training.

TSA problems begin during the hiring process. TSA hiring interviewers are not allowed to view resumes or comment on personnel appearance and demeanor. That is correct, TSA is expected to hire professionals that will wear a uniform, but when a job candidate shows up in cutoffs, torn t-shirt, and flip-flops as a member of the interviewing panel cannot comment on their professional decorum. Regarding educational backgrounds, most of the officers in TSA are not college educated. In fact, you don’t even need a high school diploma or GED to apply. All you need is six months security experience (such as working as bouncer at a roadhouse, or being night watchman at a junk yard). What many of at TSA find even more appalling is that you can be hired for TSA even if you have a Dishonorable Discharge. Along with these considerations is the whole zeitgeist of many TSA employees. I know TSA employees who have to come to work with TSA having only flown one or two time in their entire lives. Some have never left the US. How do you intelligently engage a world traveler that might be terrorist if your world view is only the next county over from Podunk?

A second detail that needs discussion is the whole culture of bureaucracy within TSA. While most of the officers in TSA are professional and care a great deal about the service they provide, the fact is that after ten years, many are just worn down by the weight of the apparatchiks over them. To put it in military terms; TSA’s point of the spear ( its screening workforce that actually performs the security mission) is the size of a large mechanized army division. However, it has division HQ staff of over 6,000+ at its Arlington, VA HQ telling them what to do. Need I say more. Security personnel at El Al cannot have their local on site tactical decisions overridden by bureaucrats offsite with respect to security. TSA, unfortunately, has become a den of bureaucrats with little or no aviation security expertise, that routinely overrules the tactical decisions of its on scene officers.

While the details listed above can be overcome with a modicum of leadership at TSA, other details that will require legislative and possible constitutional changes are the true stumbling blocks to implementing Israeli style airport security.

The foremost issue here is the 5th amendment. You have the right to remain silent when dealing with a government official, employee, or agent. While this is not going to be popular, but you have every right when asked about your travel by a TSA, Custom, or Federal LEO to say: “None of your damn business.” Yes, they can hassle you, yes they can make life difficult for you, and if they have probable cause they can detain you—but in the end you are constitutionally allowed to remain silent.

Some of you, may argue why not just give up your right to silence and answer their questions? The devil in the detail here is 18 USC 1001. You can be imprisoned up to five years for lying to any government official and fined $25K. Your lie can be oral or written, misleading or implied, and you do not have to be sworn. All you have to do is say or imply something that the government can come back and show was untrue. Well how is answering questions by TSA going to get you in trouble with regards to 18 USC 1001. Let’s see: you are at the airport and a TSA officer asks you if your trip is for business or pleasure. You say pleasure because you are on vacation visiting your grandmother. But what about if during your visit you answer your business cell phone, what if you have to finish a last minute project and e-mail back it to your employer, what if you have to visit a local office to take care of an urgent tasking from your boss? Guess what? You just violated 18 USC 1001 and now could be looking at five years in sunny Leavenworth, KS.

Would the TSA ever do anything like this to you? No, I doubt it. Would an overzealous Assistant US Attorney level such charges against you to make a point (either real or political)--that is the real possibility. Let’s say they do file 1001 charges and in the end, you win. Big deal, you have been ruined financially through attorney fees, your reputation is shot, and what do you think your chances of finding a job will be?

In short, I agree the Israeli model is good, but we must handle all devilish details before it can be implemented.

John Booth
John Booth

Excellent comments, however the issue is for Israeli type security to work at TSA the devil is in the details. Let me outline some these devilish details. First, TSA would have to upgrade their hiring program. Most employees in the security at El Al are college educated and most have served time in the Israeli military. They have a worldliness about them that only comes from being exposed to a multitude of cultures and being subject to military discipline. These security specialists are not government employees, but work for the airline and are paid much more than your average TSA screener. They attend approximately three months of training and are constantly being tested and evaluated. On the other hand, TSA officers receive one week of training before they began their OJT period. I have been told that you cannot work the front counter at McDonalds’ with that little of training. TSA problems begin during the hiring process. TSA hiring interviewers are not allowed to view resumes or comment on personnel appearance and demeanor. That is correct, TSA is expected to hire professionals that will wear a uniform, but when a job candidate shows up in cutoffs, torn t-shirt, and flip-flops as a member of the interviewing panel cannot comment on their professional decorum. Regarding educational backgrounds, most of the officers in TSA are not college educated. In fact, you don’t even need a high school diploma or GED to apply. All you need is six months security experience (such as working as bouncer at a roadhouse, or being night watchman at a junk yard). What many of at TSA find even more appalling is that you can be hired for TSA even if you have a Dishonorable Discharge. Along with these considerations is the whole zeitgeist of many TSA employees. I know TSA employees who have to come to work with TSA having only flown one or two time in their entire lives. Some have never left the US. How do you intelligently engage a world traveler that might be terrorist if your world view is only the next county over from Podunk? A second detail that needs discussion is the whole culture of bureaucracy within TSA. While most of the officers in TSA are professional and care a great deal about the service they provide, the fact is that after ten years, many are just worn down by the weight of the apparatchiks over them. To put it in military terms; TSA’s point of the spear ( its screening workforce that actually performs the security mission) is the size of a large mechanized army division. However, it has division HQ staff of over 6,000+ at its Arlington, VA HQ telling them what to do. Need I say more. Security personnel at El Al cannot have their local on site tactical decisions overridden by bureaucrats offsite with respect to security. TSA, unfortunately, has become a den of bureaucrats with little or no aviation security expertise, that routinely overrules the tactical decisions of its on scene officers. While the details listed above can be overcome with a modicum of leadership at TSA, other details that will require legislative and possible constitutional changes are the true stumbling blocks to implementing Israeli style airport security. The foremost issue here is the 5th amendment. You have the right to remain silent when dealing with a government official, employee, or agent. While this is not going to be popular, but you have every right when asked about your travel by a TSA, Custom, or Federal LEO to say: “None of your damn business.” Yes, they can hassle you, yes they can make life difficult for you, and if they have probable cause they can detain you—but in the end you are constitutionally allowed to remain silent. Some of you, may argue why not just give up your right to silence and answer their questions? The devil in the detail here is 18 USC 1001. You can be imprisoned up to five years for lying to any government official and fined $25K. Your lie can be oral or written, misleading or implied, and you do not have to be sworn. All you have to do is say or imply something that the government can come back and show was untrue. Well how is answering questions by TSA going to get you in trouble with regards to 18 USC 1001. Let’s see: you are at the airport and a TSA officer asks you if your trip is for business or pleasure. You say pleasure because you are on vacation visiting your grandmother. But what about if during your visit you answer your business cell phone, what if you have to finish a last minute project and e-mail back it to your employer, what if you have to visit a local office to take care of an urgent tasking from your boss? Guess what? You just violated 18 USC 1001 and now could be looking at five years in sunny Leavenworth, KS. Would the TSA ever do anything like this to you? No, I doubt it. Would an overzealous Assistant US Attorney level such charges against you to make a point (either real or political)--that is the real possibility. Let’s say they do file 1001 charges and in the end, you win. Big deal, you have been ruined financially through attorney fees, your reputation is shot, and what do you think your chances of finding a job will be? In short, I agree the Israeli model is good, but we must handle all devilish details before it can be implemented.

Luis Barreto
Luis Barreto

They should've have been doing this all the time. I do some security work for a couple of different locations and at each one I have my guys go and start conversations with people they feel are off and find out how they answer questions or how they react to being talked to randomly. TSA should be no different.We've got to step up are standards for TSA employees. How am I supposed to trust these people to make sure the guy getting on a plane with me is unarmed and mentally there if they don't say anything more to you then " ID and ticket please".

Charlie - GetPunchy
Charlie - GetPunchy

Thanks for the update.

TSA Behavioral Detection Officers (BDOs) have started to work in some airports a while ago.

http://www.tsa.gov/what_we_do/layers/bdo/index.shtm

I understand these analysis techniques are based on Paul Ekman's research... you may know his name from being the inspiration behind the "Lie to me" TV show. Even though the TV show is just that, the research is there... and that's what the TSA's and the Israeli's systems are based on. You can even take some of the training yourself...

Dr Ekman's site, with some training info:

http://www.paulekman.com/

More info on FACS - Facial Action Coding System

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Facial_Action_Coding_System

Actually, just found a TSA blog post on this, confirming Ekman's role:

http://blog.tsa.gov/2008/02/truth-behind-title-behavior-detection.html

Love the site, keep up the great work!

Charlie

Charlie - GetPunchy
Charlie - GetPunchy

Thanks for the update. TSA Behavioral Detection Officers (BDOs) have started to work in some airports a while ago. http://www.tsa.gov/what_we_do/layers/bdo/index.shtm I understand these analysis techniques are based on Paul Ekman's research... you may know his name from being the inspiration behind the "Lie to me" TV show. Even though the TV show is just that, the research is there... and that's what the TSA's and the Israeli's systems are based on. You can even take some of the training yourself... Dr Ekman's site, with some training info: http://www.paulekman.com/ More info on FACS - Facial Action Coding System http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Facial_Action_Coding_System Actually, just found a TSA blog post on this, confirming Ekman's role: http://blog.tsa.gov/2008/02/truth-behind-title-behavior-detection.html Love the site, keep up the great work! Charlie

Carl C
Carl C

A few K-9 units woulndn't hurt, it would be better than it is now.

Chris K
Chris K

RsC,

You're wrong. The SC has said people have a right to travel freely.

And as far as quizzes go. I won't be answering them.

So take your "Security Theatre" and shove it up your ass.

Chris K
Chris K

RsC, You're wrong. The SC has said people have a right to travel freely. And as far as quizzes go. I won't be answering them. So take your "Security Theatre" and shove it up your ass.

Josh
Josh

Comparing flying to driving just doesn't work. Comparing flying to riding in the Greyhound is more accurate. You're in a vehicle you don't own, and are paying to be a passenger on.

Perhaps we should have TSA officials grope-search everyone before getting on a bus? Perhaps everyone should be grope-searched before driving, according to your logic.

I agree that security needs to enhance as terrorist techniques do, but the way they're currently doing is has failed to produce results, and succeeded in being a gross invasion of privacy and pants. Behavior-based screening seems to be a step in the right direction, for once.

steven shytle
steven shytle

I still distinctly remember the screeners and their questions both entering and exiting Israel. Their questions, their tone, their stare. In hindsight I now recognize them to be profiling questions, but it was intense and intimidating and that was in the early 1990's.

Travis
Travis

This is application of a concept our government could take advantage of in nearly every facet. If we invested more in the employee/soldier/agent and gave them proper training and support in executing that training, we could avoid tons of fraud, waste, and abuse in our system.

There still is no jet fighter, computer module, or magic sniper rifle round that is more capable than a well trained human.

Travis
Travis

This is application of a concept our government could take advantage of in nearly every facet. If we invested more in the employee/soldier/agent and gave them proper training and support in executing that training, we could avoid tons of fraud, waste, and abuse in our system. There still is no jet fighter, computer module, or magic sniper rifle round that is more capable than a well trained human.

Casey B
Casey B

I think the word "profiling" has gotten a bad wrap because it has been used to mean "racial profiling." Trying to spot abnormal behavior is absolutely a step is the right direction and I like the fact that it is less intrusive. The Israelis said that they don't use the backscatter xray machines because they are expensive and ineffectual!

MCGUNNY2004
MCGUNNY2004

I agree 100%! I travel a lot and watch people refuse to go through the full body scan system which to me is nothing. I think if they refuse then they are the ones that need to be grilled the most. Profile is a great idea and should have been done long before now. Next a quicker system to scan carry on bags that can sniff out for devices. Being a technologist I travel with a lot of wires, computer stuff, etc and they always freak out when my bag goes through. Lastly, lets gets some real trained TSA folks in some of these Airports, not rent-a-TSA. Some of these folks need some real lessons in situational awareness and what to look for. Just my opinion there.

Cheers.

Adam
Adam

I'm sorry, but above all else, your constitutional rights should be upheld. Safety is not a valid excuse for violating the rights guaranteed to us all, by the Constitution. I will not sacrifice my rights to be safe. I will stand up and fight until I die to protect those rights. Millions of men and women have given their lives so that you and I can enjoy our freedoms. I'm sorry, but it is disgraceful to so freely give up those rights, that so many have died for.

Freedom will always have enemies, but as long as we stand strong, those enemies will not prevail. What would our country be like if all those brave Americans sacrificed their rights to be "safe"? We surely wouldn't have the rights we have today. Don't take them away from our children under the guise of safety. Stand up, man up, and let's nurture this sick country back to the great United States of America, we once were.

Adam
Adam

I'm sorry, but above all else, your constitutional rights should be upheld. Safety is not a valid excuse for violating the rights guaranteed to us all, by the Constitution. I will not sacrifice my rights to be safe. I will stand up and fight until I die to protect those rights. Millions of men and women have given their lives so that you and I can enjoy our freedoms. I'm sorry, but it is disgraceful to so freely give up those rights, that so many have died for. Freedom will always have enemies, but as long as we stand strong, those enemies will not prevail. What would our country be like if all those brave Americans sacrificed their rights to be "safe"? We surely wouldn't have the rights we have today. Don't take them away from our children under the guise of safety. Stand up, man up, and let's nurture this sick country back to the great United States of America, we once were.

Ro
Ro

Thank you. Ladies and Gentleman a real American who has served this country and understands that it is slipping away in to a tyrannical abyss. If Americans will stand up for themselves, their beliefs and their freedoms we would not need a police state to give us a false sense of security. Our greatest form of security is one that we provide for ourselves, our loved ones and our community.

I personally do not fly anymore and used to enjoy an occasional game of football on the tube. No More. I will not support any business that allows the violation of anyone's privacy let alone their person. If every one boycotted flying and football those businesses would crumble so fast that no other business would even consider the"enhanced grope down".

We complain about safety yet if you defend yourselves, family and property against criminals you are wrong. We complain there are no jobs but every one wants to buy cheap chinese crap at walmart while big sis brainwashes them in line. Support american business. Buy food from local farms, buy from local business that supports American industry. If we wait for the government to fix our problems while doing nothing ourselves it wont be long before the brown shirts will be on your street molesting you, your wife, sons and daughters at the Ice cream shop at the little league game and at the next school play.

Ro
Ro

Thank you. Ladies and Gentleman a real American who has served this country and understands that it is slipping away in to a tyrannical abyss. If Americans will stand up for themselves, their beliefs and their freedoms we would not need a police state to give us a false sense of security. Our greatest form of security is one that we provide for ourselves, our loved ones and our community. I personally do not fly anymore and used to enjoy an occasional game of football on the tube. No More. I will not support any business that allows the violation of anyone's privacy let alone their person. If every one boycotted flying and football those businesses would crumble so fast that no other business would even consider the"enhanced grope down". We complain about safety yet if you defend yourselves, family and property against criminals you are wrong. We complain there are no jobs but every one wants to buy cheap chinese crap at walmart while big sis brainwashes them in line. Support american business. Buy food from local farms, buy from local business that supports American industry. If we wait for the government to fix our problems while doing nothing ourselves it wont be long before the brown shirts will be on your street molesting you, your wife, sons and daughters at the Ice cream shop at the little league game and at the next school play.

Paul Fitzgibbons
Paul Fitzgibbons

I cannot speak to your point of a GED as I am a college grad and teach a couple of classes at a local community college which my questioners knew. As far as the questions at the interview, I can say they were questions that spoke to my experience, professionalism, and how I would/have reacted in certain situations. These questions were then graded and the total of the points were tallied to give me a pass/fail score.

As far as the credit thing goes...it is not debt they are looking for, I have over 100k of debt with my house car etc., it's bad debt they are looking at. They want to know if they are hiring someone who might be "bought" to get out of financial trouble.

That's funny that they advertise on pizza boxes...I've never seen that; I found the ad for the job at USAjobs.com and I am not lying when I say I applied in June 2009 and just got hired Sept. 2011.

I'm not saying you are wrong or I am right but the screening process is a bit more difficult than most people think, and I hope is improving all the time.

Jeremy Jackson
Jeremy Jackson

I love this post...easier to get things into a "secure airport" than a Corrections Facility... I believe CO's don't get enough praise for the amazingly dangerous and biologically hazardous job they do. With out you all, the streets would have even more dangerous people roaming about providing nothing to society... Thank you for what you do!

Phil
Phil

Peaceful militant, now there's an oxymoron if I ever heard one. A peaceful militant is about as real as Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and a Jew loving Nazi and they all have one thing in common: they're figments of one's imagination.

Jeremy Jackson
Jeremy Jackson

1. Your obviously an idiot 2. It would be easier to profile people 3. People need to get over the past and STFU when they are profiled for "fitting the bill" and acting nervous 4. What is needed is a TSA that is highly trained, physical group of individuals 4.1 right now they look like a joke so of course idiots are going to pack explosives in their undies and try...why not these morons aren't going to catch him 5. The TSA needs to be offensive in looks, offensive look is more of a deterrent than some moron standing at a podium treating American citizens like dirt 6. If you don't want to be profiled before flying....DON'T FLY...get in your POS Prius and start driving. 7. Liberal effing morons like you need to be escorted to the southern border and dropped off in TJ, maybe then you will understand what it is to be American...THIS---->"People of the United States of America, ask your leaders to show more empathy, respect and honesty towards not only other cultures or religions, but yourself too." is the dumbest thing I have ever read....why show some one compassion or empathy for a group who detests us and will stop at nothing to kill us all if given the chance. 8. Stop watching CNN.

luapfitz
luapfitz

I have to disagree with you on several points. I have just been hired as a TSO. The process was a long and very in depth. First I took several based tests, second had to pass a credit check, 3rd fill out a 50ish page question packet, 4th a 3hour interview with a panel of questioners, 5th pass a physical, 6th pass a security check and finally got hired. I also have to go through a one year conditional assignment which is usually part time. There is 120 hours of classroom training and several weeks of on the job training. You can not get a job as a TSO with a criminal record, a dishonorable discharge, bankruptcy within the last 7 years or any serious credit problems. Also, we are retested yearly and can be fired after 2 low test score.

Eva
Eva

As someone who's already at a higher risk for cancer due to having a lot of dental x-rays (when I was a kid those things had a lot more dosage than they do now!), I don't refuse the scanner because I'm being difficult. I refuse the scanner because I don't want to be part of that tiny percentage of people who it is going to give skin cancer to.

If you think I deserve to get groped an interrogated for not wanting my risk factors to intersect in a way that's more likely to kill me, ok I guess?

John Booth
John Booth

Good remarks however: From the TSA Website here are the qualifications for an applicant: QUALIFICATIONS REQUIRED: Applicants must: Be a U.S. Citizen or U.S. National at time of application submission; Be at least 18 years of age at time of application submission; Be proficient in the English language (i.e., able to read, write, speak, and listen); Have a high school diploma or General Educational Development (GED) credential OR at least one year of full-time work experience in the security industry, aviation screening, or as an X-ray technician. As for the three hour interviews, they are all canned questions that do not allow for developing further insights into your abilities at the job and if you would be a good fit. (worse than hiring poor performers at TSA, is the fact they often hire over qualified candidates that last a few days to a few months then are off to more suitable employment costing you and me the taxpayer between $10-$30K per attrition). By the way did anyone have a copy of your resume or vita with them when they interviewed you? You did make a good point about credit problems. That is why TSA cannot hire a Harvard graduate with a degree in Arabic and Middle Eastern Studies because they are carrying well over $100K of college loan debt. Instead they rather have the kid with the GED and no debt (albeit no exceptional skills either) working for them. While most of the TSA employees I know are good, there is more than enough room for improvement in the whole process. Personally, the first thing I would do is not advertise on Pizza boxes for Sreening Officers.

Paul Fitzgibbons
Paul Fitzgibbons

I cannot speak to your point of a GED as I am a college grad and teach a couple of classes at a local community college which my questioners knew. As far as the questions at the interview, I can say they were questions that spoke to my experience, professionalism, and how I would/have reacted in certain situations. These questions were then graded and the total of the points were tallied to give me a pass/fail score. As far as the credit thing goes...it is not debt they are looking for, I have over 100k of debt with my house car etc., it's bad debt they are looking at. They want to know if they are hiring someone who might be "bought" to get out of financial trouble. That's funny that they advertise on pizza boxes...I've never seen that; I found the ad for the job at USAjobs.com and I am not lying when I say I applied in June 2009 and just got hired Sept. 2011. I'm not saying you are wrong or I am right but the screening process is a bit more difficult than most people think, and I hope is improving all the time.

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