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Chat Downs

The September 12-18th issue of Business Week highlighted how TASA is piloting a program focused on “chat-downs” rather than “pat-downs.”  While pat-downs are still the norm, TASA is piloting several programs where their agents, both in uniform and undercover, try to listen to travelers, mingle with crowds, and explicitly ask questions of anyone they think is suspicious.  Utilizing a technique similar to what Israel uses for airport screening, it is hoped that travelers would be more than willing to answer questions and through proper training, the questionnaires can spot suspicious activity or concerns.  However, unlike Israel where travelers are used to such questioning and screening, American travelers have treated such efforts with suspicion and have been less than cooperative.

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