Your local TSA agent wants to get to know you!!

I almost titled this, “Get to know your local TSA agent.” But of course, that’s not what’s going on. They don’t really care if you know them, they want to know you. According to NPR, the TSA will now require every passenger going through Boston Logan to submit to a “quick interview” with a TSO. Various questions will be asked of passengers, such as where they are going and why, how long, where they have been, etc. They call it behavioral profiling, and it’s been used in Israel for years. Boston is the first, with a gradual roll out expected across the country at some point.

What if a traveler doesn’t speak English? Evidently, that doesn’t matter. They’re not really looking for the answers to your questions–they are looking for most behaviors  that are  “involuntary physiological reactions that a human being would not be able to repress.” Really? Like that guy on TV that can tell when people are lying? My experience with TSA has, for the most part, been totally fine (compared to a lot of horror stories you hear about). But I thought people looking for “involuntary physiological reactions” that last milliseconds have to be highly trained for years. Do they really think the average TSA agent will be able to see these reactions? I am very curious to see how this goes down. Of course, as the article says, ” as long as the bad guys believe this works, that’s half the battle.”

Readers, what do you think? Will this work?


  1. I think this can be really good. It works really well in Israel, and not everyone there speaks English or Hebrew. For the most part, enough people speak English or Spanish well enough to get by.

    If the TSA runs this the way Israel runs this, then we will see a vast improvement in security. If they botch it, or just make it an additional thing to go through, on top of everything else, then it’s pointless.

    Hopefully, the BDOs are actually trained professionals, though I can say from personal experience that I trained in Israel in the military with some TSA personnel from Logan, so that’s a good sign.

  2. They can record and feed those reactions and let a computer handle most of the filtering process. By the time they finish questioning they can filter it down to 10-20% who would need additional questioning.

  3. I met the guy that thought this up at a conference once. He worked to overhaul the security at Boston Logan and he is convinced this will work and they will roll this out around the country. He used to be the head of security at Ben Gurim in Tel Aviv. This will be an interesting experiment.

  4. Seems like that will just increase the amount of time required to get through security and people will be displaying tense behaviour because they are tired, grumpy or about to miss their plane…

    Surely, if people can train to spot these reactions, someone can train to hide them? After all, you can train yourself to pass a polygraph test, and you’re wearing electrodes and in a quiet environment. I’m not sure about this, seems like more “security theatre”.

  5. This entire program, like the rest of TSA, is nothing more than a jobs program for misfits and criminals. This will only provide yet another mechanism for TSA to arbitrarily abuse and harass innocent travelers while supplying an excuse for their excesses.

    This agency has been a colossal failure, does nothing to assure airline security and has traumatized more passengers and their children than Al Qaeda. At least the private security firms that were accountable for their performance.

    It was the failure of the FBI and CIA to share information that resulted in 9/11, not the private screening firms. In typical Washington stupidity, multiple Government agencies failed, 9/11 resulted and their remedy is to punish the innocent security firms by replacing them with yet another incompetent and corrupt Government agency. Al Qaeda is now looking elsewhere and allowing TSA to bleed us dry with their expensive and senseless abuse of taxpayers.

    Despite the repeated claims that they are adopting more sensible procedures, particularly for children, the TSA abuses continue to this day. Now they will have another mechanism to support them in their attack on the traveling public.

    TSA Crimes and Abuses

  6. So this is what they will be doing while their coworkers steal items from our suitcases. Nice racket, TSA.

  7. I’m more likely to tell them it’s none of their business where I’m going and where I’ve been.

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