TSA's $1B SPOT Program as Effective as Flipping a Coin
Screening 'the same as or slightly better than chance'
By Arden Dier, Newser Staff
Posted Nov 14, 2013 8:40 AM CST
A passenger is briefed by a TSA trainer before going through a new expedited security line Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2011 in Atlanta.   (AP Photo/David Goldman)

(Newser) – Nearly $1 billion spent on a TSA behavioral screening program may have been better spent in Vegas. Started in 2007 at a cost of $200 million a year, the Screening of Passengers by Observation Techniques (SPOT) program trains officers to scan crowded airports for suspicious-looking people. There's just one problem: There's "no evidence behavior detention works," a GAO report has found, noting the results of identification from SPOT, which employs 3,000 officers across the country, are "the same as or slightly better than chance," reports NBC News.

The report, which looked at 400 studies over 60 years, has called for a slash in funding until the TSA "can provide scientifically validated evidence"—but Homeland Security says there's plenty out there. In a response, it said studies supporting behavior detection were left out of the GAO's report and the program's different techniques result in "misleading" conclusions. The TSA calls the program "a common sense approach," CBS News reports, but Rep. Bennie Thompson tells the Washington Post it "is fundamentally flawed, cannot be proven effective, and should no longer be funded with taxpayer dollars."

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Showing 3 of 28 comments
Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum
Nov 14, 2013 9:28 PM CST
I'm curious. Exactly how many terrorists got past the profilers and were caught by screeners? Give us some numbers that show how bad the profilers were.
$35181329
Nov 14, 2013 6:51 PM CST
One would think that we lived in the 17th century, when news took months, if not years, to move from place to place. The Israelis have a security system in place at El Al, the national airline, which has worked successfully for 30 years. Is the U.S. Government willfully unaware of how a close ally protects its aircraft and its passengers? We don't have to re-invent the wheel. All we have to do is watch how the Israelis do it, and apply the method.
Middleclasscitizen
Nov 14, 2013 11:11 AM CST
Really? Is this any surprise from a government that has spent $60 Million on a website that does not work! More proof of the blind leading the blind.