We often find ourselves in the position of criticizing the TSA and their employees. A lot of this stems from the way they handle business. But, in this case, things did work out the way one would hope.
The woman was being forced to fly to New York, and she had bruising all over her face and other damage. The TSOs isolated the woman, and detained her traveling companions…we assume until the authorities showed up.
The head of security at MIA, Mark Hatfield, attributes this to their programs of behavior screening. Screening of Passengers by Technique(SPOT) trains TSA workers to observe behavior for those acting in a suspicious manner. Of course, in a report released last year, SPOT was criticized by the Government Accountability Office, pointing out that in seven years, the SPOT program has led to thousands of arrests of travelers suspected of immigration violations, drug possession, false documents and other offenses, but not a single one of the arrests was identified as terror-related. This despite the fact that the TSA’s mandate- it’s only mandate – is to prevent terrorist attacks.
But that makes the SPOT program a success to the TSA, who has a track record of having very few terror-related successes. While we agree with security experts that behavioral profiling is just one of a multi-layered approach to security, it at least focuses on people, as opposed to objects. The TSA didn’t require body scanners, or an invasive pat-down, or a liquid ban. Just good old human compassion. But, seeing as some questioned whether such a thing existed in the agency, it’s nice to see that there is some there.
We would like to commend the TSOs who did notice something was wrong and take action. However, it is a sad comment on our society that a woman with serious injuries, looking scared and terrified, is not approached by anyone to express concern in a public place such as an airport, and that it takes someone who has been trained in observation to see this.
- Authorities: TSA agents rescued kidnapped woman (overheadbin.nbcnews.com)
- TSA Blog Issues Non-Response to Their Officer Spilling Human Remains (flightwisdom.com)
- Woman Convicted Of Battery For Pat Down Of TSA Worker (blacklistednews.com)