Archive for April, 2011

TSA Pat Downs Could Become A Felonious Act in TX

http://www.myfoxdfw.com/dpp/news/042911-Texas-Bill-Would-Outlaw-TSA-Pat-Downs


Texas Bill Would Outlaw TSA Pat-Downs

Published : Friday, 29 Apr 2011, 5:42 PM CDT
MYFOXDFW.COM

AUSTIN – A former Miss USA’s claims of being groped during a pat-down at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport could be a criminal matter under a bill gaining momentum in the Texas Legislature.

If HB 1937 becomes Texas law, i t would be a felony for a security officer to intentionally touch someone’s private areas — even on top of clothing — unless he has probable cause to believe the person is carrying something illegal.

The bill’s sponsor, State Rep. David Simpson (R-Longview) , says the invasive pat-down searches at airports are taking away people’s dignity.

Last fall the Transportation Security Administration started a new pat-down procedure.

TSA spokesman Nicholas Kimball says the agency doesn’t comment on pending legislation. But he says the current security measures are the best ways to mitigate the risk of terrorism.

Former Miss USA, Susie Castillo, Molested By TSA [VIDEO]

Please visit Susie Castillo’s Blog to read the enter story: http://www.susiecastillo.net/blog/2011/4/25/my-tsa-pat-down-experience.html

Dear Friends,

To be quite honest, I almost didn’t post this video and blog because I kept asking myself, “Am I just being a baby?” I’m also not one to stir up controversy. In fact, I do my best to live a very positive and healthy life. However, in the situation I’m about to describe, I felt truly violated and believe I should let my voice be heard. Ultimately, I hope others will do the same. Mahatma Gandhi famously said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” So, that’s what I’m doing by sharing this experience:

On my overnight, 11-hour flight back to Los Angeles last week after hosting the red carpet premiere for “Fast Five” in Rio De Janeiro, I connected in Dallas Fort Worth (DFW) where I had the misfortune of being selected to go through one of those full body scanners that emits radiation. Now, if you don’t fly very often, you might not worry about it. But I’m a frequent flyer and don’t wish to be irradiated more than I already am on flights (we get a pretty large dose of radiation while flying due to our proximity to the sun; the longer your flight, the more your radiation exposure) and in life in general (we’re exposed to radiation all day every day; it’s called “background radiation”). So I will always “opt out” of going through these body scanners, especially since the long-term effects of radiation are quite well documented: it mutates our cells, often in irreversible ways, and causes cancer. I’m all set with that!

Anyway, after “opting out,” I proceeded to follow a very nice older female TSA employee to the “pat down” area. It was an inconvenience, but I thought, “No biggie. I just went through this at LAX for the first time and it wasn’t too bad, so let’s just get it over with.”

Well, this pat down was completely different. It was MUCH MORE invasive than my first one at LAX, just a week before. To say that I felt invaded is an understatement. What bothered me most was when she ran the back of her hands down my behind, felt around my breasts, and even came in contact with my vagina! Honestly, I was in shock, especially since the woman at LAX never actually touched me there. The TSA employee at DFW touched my private area 4 times, going up both legs from behind and from the front, each time touching me there. Was I at my gynecologist’s office? No! This was crazy!

I felt completely helpless and violated during the entire process (in fact, I still do), so I became extremely upset. If I wanted to get back to Los Angeles, I had no choice but to be violated, whether by radiation or a stranger. I just kept thinking, “What have I done to deserve this treatment as an upstanding, law-abiding American citizen?” Am I a threat to US security? I was Miss USA, for Pete’s sake!

Besides, is this procedure really protecting us? I remember hearing about an Al Qaeda terrorist successfully evading security detection by placing a bomb in his rectum. All in an attempt to assassinate Saudi Prince Mohammed Bin Nayef. So what if that happened in the US? Would we then be subjected to random rectal exams in addition to x-rays and being groped by strangers? How far is this going to go? More specifically, how far will WE let this go? As they say, if you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything. I think it’s time to stand up for our personal liberty.

As a frequent flyer, I knew getting a “pat down” was inevitable, but I never expected it to make me so upset. When it was over, I grabbed my things, walked over to my husband who was waiting for me, and was completely overcome with emotion.

I have never felt more violated in my life than I did that morning at DFW, and I’ve heard of others feeling the same way after these “pat downs.” Just a couple weeks ago, a video of a six-year-old girl being patted down by TSA made headlines. Talk about unjust and unacceptable. So I decided to speak to a TSA supervisor about how I felt, and make a video about what happened to post on my blog.

This “pat down” is a total violation of our rights (we shouldn’t be searched this way without probable cause or a search warrant), therefore I will be filing a complaint via phone, online and also in writing with the TSA to complain each and every time for as long as the TSA is violating my rights. I’m 100% against it, and if you care about your freedom, you should be too. This is precisely the kind of unjust search and seizure our Constitution was created to protect us from.

In my conversation with the TSA supervisor, I expressed to her how physically violated I felt. She was kind and understanding, but was nonetheless in charge of a department that was violating the rights of countless Americans every day. At one point during our conversation, I told her, “the fact is, if someone wanted to harm us, they simply would.”

Guess what. She agreed! She even went so far as to say, “We’re not allowed to touch children like we do adults. If someone really wanted to hide something, they could use a child. I know. There’re definitely loop holes with this.” So apparently, not even TSA employees believe this unconstitutional invasion of privacy works!

Here’s the video I made right after going through the invasive, unjust, unconstitutional and ineffective “pat down.” Honestly, I don’t like that I’m putting myself out there like this, but I wanted you to know what happened, what I was feeling, and that I hope you, too, will speak up if and when this happens to you. We shouldn’t be giving up our liberties as Americans because of our fears. The government can’t keep us safe. No matter how much they promise us they can, it’s a false promise.

TSA Agent Busted For Kiddie Porn

http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20110423_Airport_passenger_screener_charged_in_distributing_child_pornography.html

Airport passenger screener charged in distributing child pornography
By John Shiffman
Inquirer Staff Writer
4/23/2011

TSA Kiddie Porn Agent

A passenger screener at Philadelphia International Airport is facing charges that he distributed more than 100 images of child pornography via Facebook, records show.

Federal agents also allege that Transportation Safety Administration Officer Thomas Gordon Jr. of Philadelphia, who routinely searched airline passengers, uploaded explicit pictures of young girls to an Internet site on which he also posted a photograph of himself in his TSA uniform.

Homeland Security agents arrested the TSA officer March 24, and he is being held without bail.

Although the case was unsealed Thursday, neither the indictment nor the news release mentioned Gordon’s job searching airline passengers for TSA.

The arrest comes as TSA grapples with several other incidents involving screeners, including a YouTube video posted last week by parents angry about the pat-down their 6-year-old daughter received at an airport in New Orleans. TSA officials said the pat-down was proper; the parents said the girl was “groped.”

Citing privacy rules, TSA spokeswoman Ann Davis would not say if Gordon has been suspended from his job, but noted that he had been in federal custody since his arrest.

“We can assure the public that he is no longer working at the airport,” Davis said.

Gordon began working as a TSA screener at the Philadelphia airport in December 2005, Davis said. The airport has 900 screeners, she said.

If convicted of the child pornography charges, Gordon, 46, faces a minimum mandatory sentence of five years. The maximum prison term is 250 years and the top fine is $3.2 million.

Gordon is paid $37,000 annually as a TSA screener, records show. He has no prior criminal record, officials said.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Levy, chief of his office’s child exploitation unit, declined to comment Friday.

Gordon’s lawyer, Elizabeth Toplin, an assistant federal public defender, could not be reached for comment via e-mail or phone late Friday.

Tipped by the Delaware County District Attorney’s Office, federal agents began investigating Gordon on March 10, according to an affidavit from a Homeland Security Investigations agent.

The tip allegedly included evidence that Gordon had uploaded five explicit photographs of young girls onto the web site Photobucket.

The federal agent alleged that Gordon’s Photobucket account also included a picture of him wearing his blue TSA uniform.

The indictment alleges that Gordon used at least six Facebook accounts and employed multiple names “to upload and store images of sexual exploitation of minor children.”

The charges detail 104 illicit photographs allegedly uploaded over four weeks in February.

Authorities also seized from Gordon an HP laptop and a four-gigabyte flash drive that they say contained more than 600 images or movies containing child pornography, according to court filings.

Gordon’s job as a TSA screener was in jeopardy last year for unrelated reasons, according to an online newsletter of the American Federation of Government Employees.

Citing a family issue, it said Gordon was having “difficulty maintaining his work schedule.” The union lawyer helped convince TSA officials that a change in shift schedule resolved the problem, the newsletter said, and Gordon returned to work.

NYT Op-Ed: Stripped of Dignity

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/20/opinion/20dowd.html?_r=1

By MAUREEN DOWD
Published: April 19, 2011

A young computer programmer on his way to a pheasant-hunting trip last November offered a cri de coeur about government groping.

“If you touch my junk,” he told the T.S.A. agent at the San Diego airport just before he abandoned his trip, “I’ll have you arrested.”

It’s hard to feel safe in the skies when you have to worry not only about terrorists but our own air-traffic controllers conking out, watching movies and making boneheaded mistakes. A controller’s error on Monday evening put Michelle Obama’s plane frighteningly close to a 200-ton military cargo jet.

Ever since the Thanksgiving rebellion over intrusive new pat-downs that some have dubbed “gate-rape,” Americans have been debating security requirements versus privacy rights.

Consternation crackled again last week when a Kentucky couple posted video of their 6-year-old daughter being given the deep probe by a female T.S.A. agent in New Orleans.

“We felt that it was inappropriate,” the girl’s mother, Selena Drexel, told ABC News. “You know, we struggle to teach our child to protect themselves, to say ‘No, it’s not O.K. for folks to touch me in this way, in these areas.’ Yet, here we are saying, ‘Well, it’s O.K. for these people.’ ”

State Representative Sharon Cissna of Alaska has become a heroine for many women with breast cancer since she spoke out about the “twisted policy” of having the “invasive, probing hands of a stranger” on her, after scanners twice showed the scars from her mastectomy and she was ordered to undergo “humiliating” body searches.

The second time the Anchorage Democrat was told to do the pat-down in mid-February, returning to Juneau after getting medical treatment in Seattle, she refused. She rented a car, drove three hours into British Columbia, took a plane from Vancouver to the small town of Prince Rupert and then got on a ferry for a two-day trip to Juneau.

Her fellow lawmakers in the Last Frontier, where people have to travel by air quite a bit, passed a bill she co-sponsored pushing the T.S.A. to rethink its methods because “no one should have to sacrifice their dignity in order to travel.”

Cissna, 69, who said the aggressive pat-down also stirred unpleasant memories of a teenage molestation, said she has gotten more than a thousand letters. The Alaska Legislature has asked the U.S. Senate to hold hearings.

“I don’t have a huge war against T.S.A.,” she said on Monday. “I have a huge war against government that isn’t looking carefully enough at the people that it serves.”

She asserted that the system does not seem smartly tailored to focus on dangerous people rather than “good, law-abiding people.” So kids, seniors and those with disabilities, joint replacements and other medical conditions — things they already feel embarrassed about — end up getting harassed.

“Not only breast cancer veterans like myself,” she said, “but people who’ve had colostomies, any kind of alteration to their bodies that makes them look not absolutely 100 percent normal. And it is assaultive.”

Read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/20/opinion/20dowd.html?_r=1

Rep John Mica (TSA Co-Creator) – Now Wants To Abolish TSA

Quote, “Cavity Searches Are Next”

TSA Agent Charged With Sexual Assault

http://www.eagletribune.com/newhampshire/x300769656/Former-TSA-employee-charged-with-sex-assault

Former TSA employee charged with sex-assault
April 2, 2011
By Jillian Jorgensen (jjorgensen@eagletribune.com)

LONDONDERRY — A TSA employee who worked at Manchester Boston Regional Airport has been arrested on five counts of aggravated felonious sexual assault, according to police.

Police arrested Dwayne Valerio, 44, at his 192 Rockingham Road home on Friday, March 18, according to Lt. Robert Michaud. Police released few details on what led to his arrest, citing the alleged victim’s age.

“The victim is a juvenile,” he said.

Valerio is now being held on $50,000 cash or surety bail at the Rockingham County jail in Brentwood, jail officials said.

“The offenses were to have been committed several years ago,” Michaud said. “It was reported at a later time and the pursuant investigation led to the arrest of this gentleman.”

Ann Davis, a TSA spokeswoman, said she could not discuss the individual case beyond a written statement.

“TSA cannot comment on an ongoing police investigation, however, we can assure travelers the charges against the individual are not related in any way to his employment with TSA,” the statement said. “Upon his arrest, TSA took immediate action and the individual is no longer working at the airport.”

The TSA has been the focus of protests and scrutiny in the last year for using new “advanced imaging” machines at some airports during security screenings. Critics have claimed the technology is invasive. Those who opt out are subject to “enhanced” pat-downs.

Colorado Man Files Sexual Assault Charges

http://www.kdvr.com/news/kdvr-colorado-man-claims-he-was-sexually-assaulted-by-tsa-20110415,0,686151.story

By: Heidi Hemmat

7:09 p.m. MDT, April 15, 2011
DENVER — Geoff Biddulph of Berthoud, Colo. is a frequent flyer. He travels at least 30 times a year for business and has been “pat down” by airport security all across the world.

But he says he has never experienced anything like the pat down he got at Denver International Airport on April 5th.

“I felt like I was sexually assaulted,” he said.

‘Like’ FOX31 on Facebook for a chance to win a trip to the American Idol Finale! Click Here to Enter

Biddulph says he was line at the security checkpoint waiting to go through the metal detector when a Transportation Security Administration agent tried to force him to go through the body scanner.

“A TSA agent literally started pushing me towards this other line,” he told us.

Biddulph asked the TSA agent why he was being moved, and that’s when he says the agent called a supervisor, threatened to kick him out of the airport and began an “inappropriate pat down.”

Biddulph says the TSA agent rubbed his groin area, buttocks and stuck his hand down his pants.

“He was only focused on my private parts,” Biddulph said.

Biddulph filed a report with Denver Police and filed a complaint with the TSA.

He received a response from a TSA customer service representative that said, in part, “I regret this incident and the rude behavior you have described is unacceptable. I have forwarded your report to our operations managers. I have asked them to investigate and act as appropriate.”

Still, Biddulph believes TSA needs to take a closer look at their pat down procedures.

“We have the right to reasonable search and seizures. This is not reasonable. It’s not reasonable to have somebody shoving his hands down your pants,” he said.

TSA spokesperson Carrie Harmon tells FOX 31 News they have received 898 complaints about pat downs from November 2010 to March of 2011.

She points out over 251 million people passed through the nation’s airports during that span of time.

TSA Stealing Money From Tourists Wallets

http://www.hawaiireporter.com/tsa-screen-busted-for-stealing-passengers%E2%80%99-money-traveling-public-not-surprised/123

TSA Screener Busted For Stealing Passengers

BY CHARLES MEMMINGER – Being a big fan of irony, I was amused to learn of the arrest of a Transportation Safety Administration screener caught stealing money right out of the wallets of Japanese tourists while they were being screened at the Kona airport. You’d think that the national agency whose main duty it is to screen people getting on airplanes to make sure they aren’t carrying bombs would be able to screen its own screeners to make sure they aren’t thieves.

Though TSA officials initially let the thief slip through their nets and secure a position of high security in their organization, I suppose they should get credit for setting up a sting operation and busting the sticky-fingered screener when they learned that she had set up a sweet little operation stealing money from international travelers leaving the Kona airport for home. Still, you have to wonder about an organization that not only hired the crook but allowed her to rise through the ranks to become, according to news accounts, “a lead transportation security officer.”

The female officer’s modus operandi – i.e. method of operation – was not what you would call “sophisticated.” While a passenger was going through the metal detector or getting up close and personal with another TSA screener during a routine grope, the officer would merely paw through the person’s bags, find a wallet and lighten it of only enough cash so as not to be immediately noticeable to the victim.

An undercover TSA agent posing as a Japanese tourist had 13 marked $100 bills in a “Hello Kitty” backpack. (The “Hello Kitty back pack was another nice ironic touch to the operation: “Hello Kitty! Good bye freedom!”) When the backpack emerged on the other side of the scanning machine the agents found that two C-notes were missing. They were found wadded up in the screener’s back pants pocket along with loot suspected to have been taken from other real, non-undercover passengers.

Now, you would expect that the thief’s highly trained fellow security officers, who are able to detect a guilty person simply by gazing into their shifty eyes or noticing rogue drops of sweat drizzling down their forehead, would have noticed their colleague’s brazen wallet diving in broad daylight right in front of them.

But they may have had other things on their minds, like, well … that the TSA reportedly is investigating 27 other officers for failing to screen checked-in baggage for explosives. It makes you wonder what the screeners are doing when they aren’t stealing from passengers and not screening luggage for explosives. Riding on the moving walkways? Taking turns taking snapshots of each other in the radar machine?

The screener apparently resigned from her job after getting caught, which as a damn nice thing for her to do under the circumstances. She could have filed a union grievance alleging entrapment and sued the TSA for ruining her life. (Note: The head of the TSA this year granted, sua sponte, – i.e. “on his own” – TSA employees the right to join federal public employee unions, which most passengers see as just another way for TSA employees to insulate themselves from being fired or punished for misdeeds. I don’t know whether Hawaii TSA workers have yet to avail themselves of that privilege.)

Curiously, the busted screener is not under investigation for theft, but for embezzlement. That’s strange because embezzlement usually applies to “the fraudulent appropriation of property by a person to whom it has been entrusted,” like a bank teller who steals money from a cash drawer.

As far as I know, we do not entrust the money we carry on our persons when going through airport screening to the screener. As long as we aren’t carrying more that the legal amount of cash allowed by law, the money is ours and has nothing to do with the TSA. But who knows, as the power of the TSA grows, maybe airports will become the “no rights” zones they seem to be evolving into.

It is because of the oppressive screening environment and the way screeners violate passengers’ personal privacy by invasive searches – while apparently not bothering to look for bombs in bags – that the incident at the Kona airport has caused a gleeful reaction from the teeming traveling masses. As someone fluent in Latin might put it: Accipere quam facere praestat injuriam, which I believe means “Dudes, put your own house in order and don’t touch my junk.”

TSA security looks at people who complain about … TSA security

http://www.cnn.com/2011/TRAVEL/04/15/tsa.screeners.complain/

[Please visit the above link to watch the CNN video segment - WORTH WATCHING!]

TSA security looks at people who complain about … TSA security

Washington (CNN) — Don’t like the way airport screeners are doing their job? You might not want to complain too much while standing in line.

Arrogant complaining about airport security is one indicator Transportation Security Administration officers consider when looking for possible criminals and terrorists, CNN has learned exclusively. And, when combined with other behavioral indicators, it could result in a traveler facing additional scrutiny.

CNN has obtained a list of roughly 70 “behavioral indicators” that TSA behavior detection officers use to identify potentially “high risk” passengers at the nation’s airports.

Many of the indicators, as characterized in open government reports, are behaviors and appearances that may be indicative of stress, fear or deception. None of them, as the TSA has long said, refer to or suggest race, religion or ethnicity.

But one addresses passengers’ attitudes towards security, and how they express those attitudes.

It reads: “Very arrogant and expresses contempt against airport passenger procedures.”

TSA officials declined to comment on the list of indicators, but said that no single indicator, taken by itself, is ever used to identify travelers as potentially high-risk passengers. Travelers must exhibit several indicators before behavior detection officers steer them to more thorough screening.

But a civil liberties organization said the list should not include behavior relating to the expression of opinions, even arrogant expressions of opinion.

“Expressing your contempt about airport procedures — that’s a First Amendment-protected right,” said Michael German, a former FBI agent who now works as legal counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union. “We all have the right to express our views, and particularly in a situation where the government is demanding the ability to search you.”

“It’s circular reasoning where, you know, I’m going to ask someone to surrender their rights; if they refuse, that’s evidence that I need to take their rights away from them. And it’s simply inappropriate,” he said.

The TSA says its security programs are informed by real-world situations and intelligence. Indeed, the immigration agent who refused to let the alleged “20th hijacker” into the United States in 2001 later testified that the man’s arrogant behavior contributed to his suspicions.

Agent Jose Melendez-Perez told the 9/11 commission that Mohammed al-Qahtani “became visibly upset” and arrogantly pointed his finger in the agent’s face when asked why he did not have an airline ticket for a return flight.

But some experts say terrorists are much more likely to avoid confrontations with authorities, saying an al Qaeda training manual instructs members to blend in.

“I think the idea that they would try to draw attention to themselves by being arrogant at airport security, it fails the common sense test,” said CNN National Security Analyst Peter Bergen. “And it also fails what we know about their behaviors in the past.”

The 9/11 commission’s report says that “none of the checkpoint supervisors (on September 11th) recalled the (successful) hijackers or reported anything suspicious regarding their screening.”

But, it says, an airline ticket agent that checked in hijacker Mohammed Atta says Atta “reacted negatively when informed in Portland (Maine) that he would have to check in again in Boston.” Atta “clenched his jaw and said … with some irritation, ‘They told me one step check-in,’” he recalled. The ticket agent recommended the United States hire “behavior profilers … the way they do overseas,” the report says.

Rafi Ron, former director of security at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion International Airport, said an arrogant complaint about security is a legitimate factor to consider. But officials also should be suspicious of effusive praise, he said.

“The other end of the spectrum is almost as bad, although it is maybe less offensive,” he said.

The TSA is expanding the behavior detection program, formally known as SPOT, for Screening Passengers by Observation Technique.

Currently, some 3,000 uniformed behavior detection officers are deployed at about 175 airports. President Obama is calling for an additional 175 such officers in his 2012 budget proposal, and the TSA is expected to spend a total of $1.2 billion on the program over the next five years.

In recent years, the TSA has also expanded the scope of the program. Originally intended to look only for suspected terrorists, the program now also seeks to ferret out possible criminals in airports.

Many details of the program are publicly available. According to a Government Accountability Office report, uniformed behavior detection officers typically work in two-person teams at airport checkpoint lines, looking for behaviors that are on the SPOT checklist, each of which is assigned a numerical value.

The officers sometimes initiate casual conversations with passengers, particularly if a passenger is exhibiting behaviors on the SPOT checklist.

In most instances, the Accountability Office said, the conversation resolves the suspicion.

But if both behavior detection officers agree that observed indicators exceed a predetermined numerical threshold, the person is referred to additional screening, which can involve more questioning and physical searches of a person or property.

If the person’s behavior escalates, accumulating more points based on the SPOT checklist, the officers can refer the person to local law enforcement for investigation. After the law enforcement investigation, the TSA officials determine whether to allow the passenger to board the flight.

The Department of Homeland Security says the program is successful, telling Congress last week that, in a recent test comparing behavior detection officers to random screening procedures, the officers were 50 times more likely to refer people they checked to local law enforcement, and about 4.5 times as likely to identify people with prohibited items or fraudulent documents.

Taken together, such officers are nine times more likely to identify “high risk” passengers than random screening, the department said.

“SPOT identifies high-risk travelers at a significantly higher rate then random screening,” Larry Willis of the department’s Science and Technology Directorate testified.

But one member of the study’s Technical Advisory Committee said the study did not establish the program’s scientific validity.

“The advisory committee has not been asked to evaluate the overall SPOT program, nor has it been asked to evaluate the validity of indicators used in the program,” Philip Rubin testified to Congress last week.

Advisory committee members were not shown the list of behavioral indicators, he said.

“My concern is that if I’m a member of the public and I hear (Willis’) testimony, it sounds like the SPOT program has been validated,” Rubin told CNN.

He said that while large numbers of people were screened, very little criminal activity was detected, and the numbers may not be statistically significant. “The hit rate is so low on this, it could turn out to be a random glitch,” he said.

The Government Accountability Office also criticized the study, saying TSA’s records are incomplete and the study is not designed to answer the big question people have about the program: Does it work?

The study “is not designed to fully validate whether behavior detection can be used to reliably identify individuals in an airport environment who pose a security risk,” the agency said.

Members of Congress also expressed concern about the number of “false positives” — people flagged for additional screening that resulted in nothing being found. For every person correctly identified as a “high risk” traveler by (the behavior detection officers), 86 were misidentified, Willis said. At random screening, for every person correctly identified, 794 were misidentified.

The TSA does not track the number of arrests, convictions or exonerations of people that are referred to law enforcement, he said.

The ACLU’s German, who has not seen the behavioral indicators list, said he fears the indicators “are being used simply as a proxy for racial profiling or other inappropriate police activities.” The number of people arrested at airport checkpoints for immigration violations suggests the behavior detection officers are profiling, he said.

Thirty-nine percent of the 1,083 people arrested during the first four and a half years of the program were arrested because they were illegal aliens, according to the Government Accountability Office.

Experts agree that the fact that there is an extremely small number of terrorists makes it hard to evaluate the effectiveness of behavioral observation programs. The Accountability Office said it looked at 23 occasions in which 16 individuals — people later charged with terrorism-related activities — passed through high-threat airports. None is known to have been identified. But it is not known if the behavior detection officers were working at the time, the agency said.

Stephen Lord of the Accountability Office is recommending the TSA study airport videos of those instances.

“We believe such recordings could help identify behaviors that may be common among terrorists, or could demonstrate that terrorists do not generally display any identifying behaviors,” Lord said.

Pilot Refuses TSA Scan – Tired of the Groping

http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2010/10/20/pilot-refuses-full-body-scan-says-tsa-doesnt-make-travel-safer/

Pilot Refuses Full-Body Scan, Says TSA Doesn’t Make Travel Safer

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (CBS/AP) — A Tennessee pilot who says he’s tired of being manhandled by security agents is waiting to see if he will lose his job because he refused a full body scan.

ExpressJet Airlines first officer Michael Roberts was chosen for the X-ray scan Friday at Memphis International Airport. The Houston-based pilot says he also refused a pat-down and went home.

The 35-year-old Roberts told The Commercial Appeal newspaper he wants to go to work and not be “harassed or molested without cause.”

Transportation Security Administration spokesman Jon Allen says a person was turned away after refusing to follow federal security procedures but declined to say if it was Roberts, citing privacy considerations.

Roberts says he has safety concerns, but called TSA a “make-work” program that doesn’t make travel safer.

“I just kind of had to ask myself ‘Where do I stand?’ I’m just not comfortable being physically manhandled by a federal security agent every time I go to work,” he told the Commercial Appeal.

Earlier this week, CBSNewYork reported that full-body scanners have not yet been installed at New York City area airports, despite plans that were in place to have them installed at Newark Liberty International, John F. Kennedy International, and LaGuardia airports by September.

The Transportation Security Administration told The Star-Ledger of Newark the installation is complex and the scanners would arrive “in the coming weeks.”

Passengers who prefer not to be scanned can choose to be patted down and pass through a metal detector.

LISTEN: WCBS 880′s Levon Putney with Rep. Bill Pascrell

TSA spokesman Ann Davis says passengers are no less safe. She says the scanners are designed to be faster and less physically intrusive than metal detectors and pat-downs.

The TSA has installed 259 scanners at 59 airports nationwide.