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DIA to Start Passenger Behavior Screening

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What will they think of next?

A Transportation Security Administration effort to screen air travelers for suspicious behavior is on track to come to Denver International Airport this year, subjecting passengers to observation and small talk from agents looking for signs of deception.

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The SPOT program – short for “screening passengers by observation technique” – is modeled after Israeli security measures that pick up on facial expressions, body language and other involuntary reactions that occur when people lie. TSA officials won't list which behaviors raise concerns or say how many screeners are involved, citing security concerns.

What are they looking for?

“We're not just looking for people who seem suspicious, TSA spokeswoman Ann Davis said. “We're looking for behaviors that have been proven by scientific research to indicate that an individual is suppressing high levels of stress or fear or deception. People who are up to something, basically.”

So what happens when you're flagged?

Travelers who raise behavioral flags or give evasive answers to casual questions about their trips can be taken aside and searched or turned over to law enforcement.

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And, they have the nerve to call it science.

“We're looking for behaviors that have been proven by scientific research to indicate that an individual is suppressing high levels of stress or fear or deception. People who are up to something, basically.”

This sounds like a revamped version of the drug courier profile.

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