From Homeland Security News Wire:
GAO says TSA’s costly behavioral detection program falls short
18 November 2013
The Government Accountability Office(GAO) said last week that DHS may have wasted $1 billion on the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) Screening of Passengers by Observation Techniques (SPOT) program. SPOT aims to spot terrorists by detecting “anomalous” or suspicious behavior. The anomalous behavior – perspiration, fidgeting, restlessness – is supposed to be the result of high levels of stress, fear, or deception. Individuals who exhibit anomalous behavior are subject to additional security screening.NBC News reports that GAO concluded in its report that available evidence does not support the approach that behavioral indicators can be used to identify individuals who may pose a risk to aviation security.
The GAO reviewed four meta-analyses which included more than 400 studies from the past sixty years and found that the human ability accurately to identify deceptive behavior based on behavioral indicators is “the same as or slightly better than chance.” Moreover, a DHS April 2011 study conducted to validate SPOT’s behavioral indicators did not demonstrate SPOT’s effectiveness because of study limitations, including the use of unreliable data. According to GAO, twenty-one of the twenty-five behavior detection officers GAO interviewed at four airports said that some behavioral indicators are subjective. TSA officials agree, and said they are working to define them better....
I have long maintained TSA should consult with the experts who know what they are doing. You know, maybe the Israelis???!