TSA Security Targets Critics

[Trigger warning for discussion of enhanced TSA screening.]

The much-discussed "enhanced security procedures" put into place by the US Transportation Security Administration late last year are still in place, despite waning attention, and anyone who wants or has to be a passenger on a US flight can still expect the possibility of having to choose between body scanners or pat-downs, if they're pulled for additional scrutiny by security officers.

Today, CNN reports that among the "behavioral indicators" TSA officers are using to identify potentially dangerous travelers is "passengers' attitudes towards security, and how they express those attitudes."
CNN has obtained a list of roughly 70 "behavioral indicators" that TSA behavior detection officers use to identify potentially "high risk" passengers at the nation's airports.

Many of the indicators, as characterized in open government reports, are behaviors and appearances that may be indicative of stress, fear or deception. None of them, as the TSA has long said, refer to or suggest race, religion or ethnicity.

But one addresses passengers' attitudes towards security, and how they express those attitudes.

It reads: "Very arrogant and expresses contempt against airport passenger procedures."

TSA officials declined to comment on the list of indicators, but said that no single indicator, taken by itself, is ever used to identify travelers as potentially high-risk passengers.
Still, the fact that expressing "contempt" for screening is being considered an indicator at all is absurd, given the variety of legitimate reasons one might express contempt for invasive procedures that don't even work.

And then there's this: Using grumbling about security as an indicator of potential danger is predicated on the ridiculous fantasy that terrorists are so fucking stupid that they'll stand in a line loudly complaining about security measures. Sure.
But some experts say terrorists are much more likely to avoid confrontations with authorities, saying an al Qaeda training manual instructs members to blend in.

"I think the idea that they would try to draw attention to themselves by being arrogant at airport security, it fails the common sense test," said CNN National Security Analyst Peter Bergen. "And it also fails what we know about their behaviors in the past."
I'm glad that CNN found a suede-elbowed professor of obviousology to inject some expertise into this discussion.

Honestly, TSA: Get it together. Christ.

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