Want to Make Your Flight? Chill Out

40 airports single out nervous, twitchy travelers for searches
By Jonas Oransky,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 18, 2007 1:05 PM CST
Travelers pass through Chicago's O'Hare International Airport at the start of the Thanksgiving holiday Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2007 in Chicago. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Nervous fliers, beware: Some 600 security guards at 40 US airports are scanning crowds for passengers who exhibit unusual stress or fear. The federal program aims to create “a new layer of unpredictability” at checkpoints, says the TSA administrator, but has civil rights advocates crying foul and security experts unconvinced. Still others say behavior detection is more likely to nab common criminals.

A government spokesman insists the program focuses “strictly on behaviors and not appearance in any way,” reports the Chicago Tribune, though an ACLU counsel argues that it targets “millions of people who suffer from flight anxiety.” Security experts contend a predecessor program, tabled over profiling concerns, was better anyway—and still failed to catch the 9/11 hijackers. (Read more airport security stories.)