The TSA revises itself, sort of

From the NY Times:

Transportation Security Administration officers who are in a behavioral detection program designed to spot terrorists at airports have been ordered to undergo special training after officers in Boston were accused of racially profiling passengers.

All officers at Boston Logan International Airport, where the profiling is said to have occurred, and managers of similar programs nationwide must attend a four-hour class on why racial profiling is not acceptable and why it is not an effective way to spot terrorists.

Not to criticize Janet Napolitano, but it takes a lot of optimism to think you can change anyone’s mind on anything much in 4 hours. Beliefs are not like jelly beans that can be scooped out and through away. They get invidious connections with all sort of other things, and they tend to reoccur. Just think how “Obama is not a US citizen” connects up in people’s heads. For example, producing a birth certificate is not going to move it.

I hope they add in a good bit of behavior modification along with the facts and figures. E.g., here’s what racial profiling looks like; keep it up and you’ll be fired.

7 thoughts on “The TSA revises itself, sort of

  1. what about picking out anyone who looks different, like Transwomen, or extra fat women. a friend of mine got taken aside and strip searched, she is over 300 lbs, they said they could not tell if she was hiding any thing in her diaper and or clothing. she missed her plane, and was so humiliated she went home and re booked for another airport 4 hour drive from home rather than face those jerks at Logan again.

  2. grannylizzy, I’m so sorry to hear about your friend.

    I’ve just been in a discussion about kinds of oppression and unjust discrimination. It is a very long list, and I’m afraid the TSA is only looking at one part: racism. Or at least as far as I can tell. I don’t know quite how to approach some of the other problems, and I wouldn’t bet on 4 hours helping with them. There is so much that needs to be done.

  3. I don’t understand those TSA officers. That lady already passed the metal detector check or even a body scan. What else can she hide? It’s ridiculous. I’m very glad that the racial profiling at logan is on the news. Hope for a better change. They have no rules, case studies, or instruction manual to put in place before implementing such program on TSA officers. How many do they catch terrorists from the past 9 years? None… from this program… WTF

  4. Bob, but I don’t want to, especially on this sort of thing. We really don’t have much reliable common sense about the transmission of information and/or how to change behavior. One consequence is that the culture is full of appalling models of education.

  5. WTF the last time I went through one of those full body scanners, I was taken aside so they could pat down my clothed right knee. I have no idea what could possible have been going on, but clearly the scanners can point out problem areas. At least they didn’t insist on surgery then and there.

  6. The missing link here is that Logan TSA agents were given a quota for referrals to law enforcement agencies. In other words, they were not simply engaging in profiling for likely terrorists but also acting as agents of LE looking for drug traffickers, etc. So, in a bizarre way, their profiling was not even aimed at stopping terrrorists from getting on planes; it was also/mostly aimed at catching ordinary criminals.

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