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Is TSA’s “Suspicious Behavior” Watch at Airports Working?

It’s hard to say these days what suspicious behavior is. Eating a Snickers bar with a knife and fork like George on Seinfeld? Maybe. Maybe not.

By Thomas Frank
USA TODAY
WASHINGTON – Fewer than 1% of airline passengers singled out at airports for suspicious behavior are arrested, Transportation Security Administration figures show, raising complaints that too many innocent people are stopped.
A TSA program launched in early 2006 that looks for terrorists using a controversial surveillance method has led to more than 160,000 people in airports receiving scrutiny, such as a pat-down search or a brief interview. That has resulted in 1,266 arrests, often on charges of carrying drugs or fake IDs, the TSA said.
The TSA program trains screeners to become “behavior detection officers” who patrol terminals and checkpoints looking for travelers who act oddly or appear to answer questions suspiciously.
Critics say the number of arrests is small and indicates the program is flawed.
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