TSA SPOT: Screening Passengers by Observation Techniques

TSA has received a good amount of criticism on this site and in the news generally. This article (which made it to Yahoo’s front page) takes a pretty objective look a the SPOT or Screening Passengers by Observation Techniques program.

TSA has been doing this for the past 4 years and has picked 104,000 people out of lines for a more thorough investigation. They’ve gotten a few with fake IDs and a guy that had pipe bomb-making materials in his checked luggage.

So far it sounds like they haven’t actually nabbed anyone who could have really messed with their flight, but I don’t see how we can blame TSA for that since we haven’t had any terrorist attacks. There hasn’t been anyone for them to catch.

The ACLU has expressed its doubts, but Homeland Security is happy enough to greatly increase the number of behavioral detection officers in US airports.

Filed Under: Airlines + flying

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  1. jake says:

    I just flew from New Orleans. I carried my camera bag with over $10,000 of gear in it. After it went through the screening machine the TSA employee told me he would have to run it again. He unceremoniously took the bag & threw it upside down on the belt again. After it came through the machine again he told me I could take it. First I confirmed that he was through with it & with me, then I asked him why it was necessary to throw it upside down when he readily saw what was in it. He told me if wanted to I could file a complaint. What arrogance! Only in this atmosphere of fear that is promoted by this administration can BS like this be gotten away with.

  2. Cory says:

    I travel with thousands of dollars of camera gear as well and after similar experiences with the TSA’s complete lack of respect for delicate luggage, I have started shipping stuff intead of carrying it on.

  3. Max says:

    I have flow the Dayton to Dulles flight over 25 times last year and each time carried $15K in photography gear. I was pulled out of line only once and TSA wound up removing all of my gear items which took about 25 minutes.

    Speaking of TSA and their vigilance, last year Eileen Blass, photographer for USA Today had a personal experience with TSA and actually managing to shut down the Little Rock Airport. Here is the link: http://www.sportsshooter.com/news/1833

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