The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) spent approximately $900 million over the last 5 years for behavior detection officers to identify high-risk passengers but, so far, according to the General Accountability Office (GAO), only 0.59% of the passengers flagged were arrested and among those not one was charged with terrorism – zero.
In 2003, the TSA started testing its Screening of Passengers by Observation Technique (SPOT) program, which was then fully deployed in 2007. About 3,000 behavior detection officers (BDO) “had been deployed to 176 of the more than 450 TSA-regulated airports in the United States” by fiscal year 2012 (Oct. 1, 2011 – Sept. 30, 2012), according to the GAO.
Those BDO officers are trained to “identify passenger behaviors indicative of stress, fear, or deception and refer passengers” and their baggage for additional screening, reported the GAO in its Nov. 8, 2013 report, Aviation Security: TSA Should Limit Future Funding for Behavior Detection Activities.
Since 2007, the TSA has spent approximately $900 million on the SPOT program, said the GAO.
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