The Intercept reports that the TSA, who is supposed to be looking after our transportation systems, has moved into theme parks looking for terrorists.
Yes, the Transportation Security Administration’s embattled $900 million behavior detection program, called Screening of Passengers by Observation Techniques, or SPOT, is not just used at airports. It’s also used at theme parks.
TSA has trained security teams from SeaWorld, Disney World and Busch Gardens to use the same checklist of behavior indicators, which includes “wearing a disguise,” “whistling,” “exaggerated yawning” and “excessive laughter,” according to interviews and documents obtained by The Intercept.
In March, The Intercept published the now widely ridiculed 92-item checklist of behavior indicators used by TSA’s behavior detection officers at airports around the country. The SPOT program, now referred to by TSA as the Behavior Detection Analysis program, has been the subject of several audits and reviews by oversight agencies and congressional committees, which have criticized the program’s methodology and scientific basis.
The SPOT program has never been effective, no matter what name they want to call it. The GAO said it didn’t work in 2011. The DHS Inspector General said it was useless and ineffective in 2013. It has failed to identify any terrorists and has been under scrutiny since its inception having failed to ever improve.
“They have plainclothes people at SeaWorld and Disney doing the same behavior detection, looking for the same indicators we look for at the airport,” a source told The Intercept.
Apparently, just stepping inside a Disney theme park makes you a terrorist. If you go there, don’t have fun. Anything you say or do will probably put you on a list somewhere.