EUGENE, Ore. — A new government report on airport security is slamming the TSA’s SPOT program. It trains agents to watch airport passengers to try to pick out potential terrorists from their behavioral cues. It’s being called a waste of time and money.
The report is the most critical yet of the TSA SPOT program. It found the federal government wasted up to one billion taxpayer dollars on a program that doesn’t work.
The government accountability office reviewed 400 studies of behavior detection spanning 60 years and found TSA behavior profiling techniques were no better than picking suspects by random chance.
The report went on to say congress risks wasting more money if it continues funding the program. Travelers we spoke to agree. “You know I travel a lot. I generally feel pretty safe. I think there are some unnecessary security procedures that are done that make people feel better,” says Jessie Visser.
“It doesn’t make me feel more unsafe, eliminating that program,” says traveler Mark Fischer.
The TSA started the program 10 years ago and spent more than $900 million on it. In response to the report, TSA defended the program, saying security will be damaged if money is cut.
This isn’t the first time the program has come under fire. It has been criticized over the years for alleged racial profiling. Thursday, the House Subcommittee of Transportation Security will hold a hearing, with both sides talking about the report.