Everyone's been sending me the article from First Look/The Intercept about the latest "confidential" TSA document.
Though I'm a huge supporter of Glenn Greenwald and his journalistic endeavors -- and have written so here -- and am glad for any light that is shed on the TSA's myriad abuses, I have to say this latest article is a bit on the day-late-dollar-short side.
The article in question is titled "Exclusive: TSA's Secret Behavior Checklist to Spot Terrorists." Okay, yes, it's exclusive in that the reporters actually got their hands on a document that outlines the TSA's so-called behavior detection procedures. But we've been writing about these procedures for years now, calling attention to their inanity, fraud, and complete lack of scientific support.
Here's one example, from June 6, 2013 a post called "From the No Kidding Dept: auditor rates TSA epic fail." Excerpt:
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?
Here's another excerpt, from March 14, 2012, in a post called "How to rat out your fellow citizens as terrorists":
Do you fidget? Have an annoying tick? Like to wear baggy clothing? Do you ever get lost and stumble down the wrong corridor? Do you like to take pictures? Have you ever gone into a rest room to change your clothes?
Congratulations! You could be a terrorist! And if your fellow travelers are “vigilant,” they should report you to the authorities.
Read the entire article for howlers on how the TSA is “trained to be on the lookout for bad guys.” Or how the agency’s voodoo practitioners — oops, I mean Behavior Detection Officers — are likewise on the lookout.
Here's another, from February 22, 2012, post titled "TSA lied about 2008 incident":
As for the BDO program, the research on which it is based has been discredited. Devised by a retired psychology professor named Paul Ekman, the “micro-expression” theory has never been proven or thoroughly tested. Yet the TSA spends $250 million a year to continue the BDO program.
What do we get for all this money? BDOs who spend 4 days in the classroom and get 24 hours of on-the-job training. Then they question you at the airport and try to determine whether your raised eyebrow is a sign of terrorism or just impatience.
Here's another one, from April 8, 2014. There are many more. I'm not going to list all of them. If you've been following this blog, even in a minor way, you already know that the TSA bullies and harasses people based on whim, on caprice, on mood, on which side of the bed they woke up on, on the most crude kind of racial profiling (another 2012 post).
Anyway, if you want to see the complete list of Scary Terroristy Clues and "tells" the TSA is supposedly looking out for, here it is from The Intercept. Thanks to Sai for translating the hard-to-read PDF into legible text:
Behavior / Physiological"Adam's Apple" jumpChange in voice pitch, rate, volume, choice of words, dry mouthCold penetrating stareCovers mouth with hand while speakingExaggerated yawningExaggerated, repetitive grooming gesturesExcessive fidgeting, clock watching, head-turning, shuffling feet, leg shakingExcessive perspiration inconsistent with the environmentExcessive throat clearingFace becomes flushedFace pale from recent shaving of beardFast eye blink rateGazing downGestures that don't match the verbal messageIncreased breathing rate, pantingNo or little direct eye contactPowerful grip of a bag and/or hand inside the bagProtruding or beating neck arteriesRepeatedly pats upper body with hands (not associated with divesting objects at X-ray or Walk Through Metal Detector (WTMD)Repetitive touching of faceRigid posture, minimal body movements with arms close to sidesRubbing or wringing of handsScans area appearing to look for security personnelShows unusual interest in security officers and their work routineStrong body odorSweaty palmsTremblingWhistling during the screening processWidely open staring eyes
StuffAlmanacsBag appears to be heavier than expected or bag does not suit the individuals appearanceBlueprintsBulges in clothingGlobal position system (GPS) unitIndividuals who are seemingly unrelated but display identical dress or luggageLiquids or gels (in excess of 3.4 oz or 100 ml)Numerous prepaid calling cards or cell phonesPhotographs/diagrams of high profile targetsRope, wire, duct tape, loose batteries, loose electronic componentsTraining manuals such as flight, scuba, explosive, or militaryWearing improper attire for location
InteractionAppearing not to understand questionsAppears to be confused or disorientedAsks the BDO security-related questionsConstantly looking at other travelers or associatesDelayed Responses to questionsDisplays arrogance and verbally expresses contempt for the screening processDistracted or inability to pay attention to present situationDoes not remember significant facts when answering questionsDoes not respond to authoritative commandsDownplaying of significant facts when answering questionsEvasive or vague responsesExaggerated emotions or inappropriate behaviors to the location such as crying, excessive laughter, or chatterExcessive complaints about the screening processGives non-answersHesitation/indecision on entering checkpoint or submitting to screening processLacking details about purpose of tripMaintains covert ties with others (maintaining consistent eye contact with others, exhibiting hand gestures to others or passing objects to others)Movement away from official towards exitOverly specific with answers that would appear to indicate the information is memorizedPlacing objects between self and officialRepeating back questions instead of answersUnfamiliar with passport/ID or ticket dataWell-rehearsed answers that may not respond to questions or that may appear to be memorized
OtherAppears to be in disguiseArrives late for flight, if knownMales 20-40 years old travelling together who are NOT part of a family
As I've said before, you can't make this shit up.