TSA Behavioral Detection Program's awful newsletter mocks travellers' worries

The bi-monthly BDO Newsletter serves America's Phightin' Phrenologists as they decide whose lives to screw with based on a $1 billion junk-science boondoggle.

On their own, the newsletters could be regarded as light-hearted workplace fun, but they are also part of a controversial billion dollar program, known a Screening of Passengers by Observation Techniques, or SPOT, which employs specially trained officers, known as Behavior Detection Officers, to rate passengers going through screening for signs of deception. Those alleged signs of deception, which the The Intercept revealed earlier this year, include “excessive yawning” and “wringing of hands,” and have been widely criticized for lacking any basis in science, or even common sense.

The Intercept also reported on the program’s flawed design that targets undocumented immigrants not potential terrorists.

Each issue of newsletters ranges from seven to nine pages and provides a forum for behavior detection officers to share stories about confiscated lots of wine, showcase original poetry (an ode to Alaska, for example), and in one case, a promotion for an officer’s dog breeding business (the officer says her TSA training to spot deception helps her “read” potential dog buyers).

TSA's Behavior Detection Program Has a Newsletter, and It's Ridiculous [Jana Winter/The Intercept]