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SPOT in action

TSA’s highly touted SPOT (Screening Passengers by Observation Technique) was designed to leverage the best of Israel’s airport security strategies to help identify potential terrorist at airports. Of the 353 arrests from 11/10-4/12, 68% were for immigration offenses, drug charges, or outstanding criminal warrants. TSA agents cannot make arrests, but they can refer people to be arrested by law enforcement. From 2004-2008 there were a total of 1,083 arrests associated with such referrals, but none were for terrorism. However, charges have been leveled that agents have not be spotting terrorists, but profiling illegal immigrants and minorities to help obtain some arrests that could help validate the need for their services. Thus, 3,000 agents trained in SPOT will undergo a two-hour training on why racial profiling is not effective. (Business Week, 9/24-30/12 How Not to Catch a Terrorist)

My opinion is that people should be trained on the most likely source of potential concerns and address those concerns, regardless of what is the politically correct term for such action. Thus, if for example the top terrorist concerns were female blondes then I would want all security personnel to take extra precautions to carefully monitor that group. That is not discrimination; it is practical ways to address real concerns.

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