From the No Kidding Dept: auditor rates TSA epic fail

JD Hancock
We’ve only been saying it for years. And now the DHS Inspector General is saying it, too.

The TSA’s so-called “behavior detection program” is an expensive, risible failure. Or as we like to call it, voodoo.

USA Today has a story on the DHS audit:

TSA’s program, Screening of Passengers by Observation Techniques (SPOT), which now has 2,800 workers, began in 2007 and has so far cost $878 million. The program’s goal is to spot potential terrorists through behavioral clues, but it has been criticized for possible racial profiling.

The Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general said in a 41-page report released Wednesday that the TSA doesn’t effectively assess the program or have a comprehensive training program.

No, Virginia, say it ain’t so!

Meanwhile, TSA Administrator John Pistole is, of course, downplaying the report and continuing to spout mind-numbing PR pabulum about the many-times-discredited program. Honestly, you can’t make this stuff up:

TSA doesn’t reveal what suspicious behavior will trigger additional screening. But security experts say shifty eyes and sweating are among the traits that raise suspicions.

“Shifty eyes and sweating.” Really? Really?? And “experts say”? Who writes this shit?

But the TSA — and the media — have a history of doing this.

Never mind that the voodoo program has zero credibility and relies on the most crude kind of racial profiling that has resulted in abuse of innocent passengers again and again. Never mind that this abuse and lack of credibility have been publicized again and again.

We all know it doesn’t matter. None of it matters. Because facts don’t matter. And as long as facts don’t matter, the TSA and its idiocy will be with us.

(Photo: JD Hancock/Flickr Creative Commons)

  • Next time you are in a line to board, slowly and loudly enunciate “O-BAM-a” over and over and see what happens.

  • Svensonon

    I got questioned by one of the BDOs. Or at least I think I did. Standing in line, a TSA goon asked me the usual questions. How am I today, where am I going, etc.

    When he asked me WHY I was traveling, I simply told him it was none of his business, and continued reading. He told me he “had to know”, and I told him I wasn’t going to tell him.

    He told me to “wait right there”, which was easy since I was in a line. He came back and said I was “fine”. Which I didn’t need him to tell me.

    Maybe it wasn’t a BDO. Maybe just a garden variety TSA goon. But either way, all he did was waste the time of both of us.

    This is security?

    • Independent Tom

      No, that is a rabble of pedophiles, rapists, child pornographers, and diaper sniffing perverts. If you told him you were on your way to bone a goat or molest a child you would have been given expedited access.

    • Daisiemae

      Security? It’s the Gold Standard of the World, didn’t you know?

      After all, the clerk’s stern order to “wait right there” would prevent any bomb-wielding terrorist from detonating. That order would prevent any gun-toting assassin from taking out hundreds of passengers waiting at TSA’s bottle neck.

      And of course, you or any other terrorist (because we are all terrorists, right?) would not have gotten on the plane until he came back and told you that you are fine, right? No way. Any terrorist would suspend their terroristic plans until given permission by this well-trained security expert.

      Thank God that John Pistole’s finest prevented another act of terrorism! Thank God that our billions of precious tax dollars are being so well spent!

  • Amazingly, the NYT’s report on this is the No. 1 Most Emailed story today:

  • Chris Bray

    I have located an early TSA training film:

    • Daisiemae

      Thank God for those TSA K9s!

    • frostysnowman

      Good one, Chris Bray!

  • anc1entmar1ner

    Apparently opting out of the scanners is suspicious behavior since it always results in a police-style frisking. So far the super-vigilant TSOs have gleaned the following dangerous items from my person:

    1. My wallet. I almost getting in a fistfight with one of these bozos when I removed the cash and credit cards before allowing him to carry it out of my sight – supposedly to x-ray it. I have since learned to hide it deep in a carry-on which I keep in sight at all times.

    2. A baggage claim check. Look out for dangerous paper cut which could be inflicted by irate passenger!

    3. Kleenex tissue: Another highly dangerous item. TSO asks me, “What part of nothing in your pockets don’t you understand?” My answer: “What part of arbitrary, capricious and stupid don’t YOU understand?”

    It’s all part of the same pattern. TSA wants to be feared, but mostly they just get ridiculed.

  • RonBonner

    If TSA conducted passenger screenings correctly there would be no need (even if it worked) for TSA’s so-called Behavior Detection Officers. A person could be a terrorist or the Pope and they would present no threat since any weapons would have been identified and confiscated at the TSA Checkpoint.

    TSA is nothing but a collossal ClusterPuck that whizzes away our tax monies for no gain. The only way to get any benefit out of TSA is to lock up John S. Pistole in the Supermax for life.

    • Elizabeth Conley

      We’re sending the wrong folks to Gitmo. We need to send all those miserable camal jockies home and replace them with the Obama administration.

      • RonBonner

        No, not Gitmo. To damn good for TSA . I suggest dropping them off about 200 miles east of the coast of New York.