WHAT IT IS
- The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) was established after 9/11 to protect the nation’s transportation systems.
- TSA employs thousands of behavior detection officers (BDOs) to identify stress, fear or deception in travelers at airport screening checkpoints.
- The Government Accountability Office (GAO) is an agency that investigates how the federal government spends taxpayer dollars.
- GAO recently released a report stating the TSA has no valid evidence that most (28 of 36) behavioral indicators used by BDOs are useful in identifying individuals who may pose a threat.
WHY IT MATTERS
TSA plays a critical role in keeping travelers safe. It’s also expensive — the agency costs more than $7 billion per year.
WHERE WE ARE NOW
- In 2013, the GAO recommended limiting future funding for the behavioral detection program until scientific evidence demonstrated that it works.
- TSA reduced funding and revised its list of behavioral indicators, and, in July 2016, a new GAO report said there’s little to no evidence most of the revised indicators are useful in identifying dangerous travelers.
THINGS TO THINK ABOUT
- Read an in-depth analysis of the security enhancements the U.S. has enacted since 9/11 and their effectiveness.
- Do you think the behavioral detection program makes travelers safer?
- Could the money be better spent elsewhere?