Monday, November 09, 2009

TSA monitors behavior....and catches drug smugglers

Sort of an old story but one that's been given another Treatment. According to this South Florida Sun Sentinel article there are lots of TSA employees with a whopping five days worth of training, including one day of on the job shadowing, who are now monitoring travelers in order to determine whether they're acting suspiciously or not. If they are, then they get a secondary screening and possibly detention. According to the story, they don't have to have any qualifications with being familiar with psychology to get the job, just "intelligence, maturity and ability to work with people", according to the TSA itself. So Billy Bob from the mall can get the job if he can demonstrate enough intelligence and maturity to satisfy the TSA. Interestingly, the article doesn't mention being a high school graduate, although they may have just left that out. TSA agents already don't have to have a high school degree to get hired in general, but of course these folks are specialized agents with five days of training.

Not surprisingly, with nervousness as being the main thing they're looking for, they've made some spectacular arrests of drug traffickers as well as people who have arrest warrants out for them, but so far, according to another article that's buried out there somewhere (trust me, right?), there hasn't been a single terrorism related arrest. Even though the article is from South Florida and so obviously biased towards its local scene, it's interesting that it reports dozens of weekly screenings coming out of Miami and Ft. Lauderdale. I'm betting that those screenings had more to do with white powder than they did terrorism.

If this was actually catching terrorists TSA would be crowing about it instead of citing things like a big bust of a guy carrying loads of raw ecstasy with him. According to the article, the program has been going on for six years. You'd think that in that time they'd have something better to brag about, but I guess those terrorists know to take some sort of pill to calm them down before boarding planes....and it's all academic anyways.

Besides the famous "shoe bomber" there hasn't been a case of someone trying to blow up a plane found. All the TSA stuff that was created to stop more hijackings has done is to inconvenience people. There may be an effect of discouraging people from trying, and of course we don't know how many people on the "no fly list" that have been denied the ability to fly over American airspace may have had some sort of plan, but the security in general in order to fly is a good example of American brutalism in action.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Bias garbage

Anonymous said...

Blah, Blah, Blah. Do some research...

Anonymous said...

Well written...minus the whole truth aspect, the research aspect...oh, I guess it isn't well written then. Not even right on the training time, or anything else listed. Maybe you should talk to someone who knows. Just a thought...

Anonymous said...

Looks like they are doing their job

Someone who can read... said...

"...but I guess those terrorists know to take some sort of pill to calm them down before boarding planes...." And what terrorists are these? You mean the ones who can't affect the plane because they don't have any explosives? And what exactly do you think these druggies are using the money for? Ever heard of narco-terrorism in the US? It is, according to Webster's Dictionary, "terrorism financed by profits from illegal drug trafficking." Because TSA, and more specifically, these behavior detection officers, are catching these people with drugs, they are in fact keeping terrorists from carrying out their mission. I would say that is a very beneficial program and deserves praise and not babble...

John Madziarczyk said...

The training time was taken directly from the article that I linked to. If someone didn't do their research, it's the Sun Sentinel, not me.

Anonymous said...

WOW, your lack of research and facts in this article is amazing. In Orlando a passenger with bomb making material in his bag was caught based on behaviors alone. And thats just one case, just because you havn't been informed of other terrorism cases doesnt mean they dont exist. If a BDO (Behavior Detection Officer)pulls a passenger and discovers a possible terror link it is passed to FBI. If the case turns into an arrest the FBI would get the credit, not TSA. Also in order to join TSA you do have to have a high school diploma or a GED. Then you are subjected to a 4-8 month long selection process. To become a BDO you have to have been on the job for a minimun of 1 1/2 years and shown that you can perform at this higher level. So next time you feel like ripping down a viable government anti-terror program do more research than looking at a single outdated Sun Sentinel article. Oh yeah and by the way I am a BDO for TSA

Anonymous said...

If you are interested in real facts as opposed to the garbage in this article try these links.
http://www.tsa.gov/blog/2008/02/truth-behind-title-behavior-detection.html
or here is one from your precious Sun Sentinel
http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/florida/orl-airport0208apr02,0,2934337.story