Eye the Friendly Skies

Welcome to the Stinque Panel Discussion on Issues Concerning Stinque Panelists. Our first guest this morning is the Transportation Security Administration, here to tell us about an exciting career opportunity:

The Behavior Detection Officer (BDO) program utilizes non-intrusive behavior observation and analysis techniques to identify potentially high-risk passengers. BDOs are designed to detect individuals exhibiting behaviors that indicate they may be a threat to aviation and/or transportation security. The program is a derivative of other successful behavioral analysis programs that have been employed by law enforcement and security personnel both in the U.S. and around the world.

TSA’s BDO-trained security officers are screening travelers for involuntary physical and physiological reactions that people exhibit in response to a fear of being discovered. TSA recognizes that an individual exhibiting some of these behaviors does not automatically mean a person has terrorist or criminal intent. BDOs do, however, help our security officers focus appropriate resources on determining if an individual presents a higher risk or if his/her behavior has a non-threatening origin. Individuals exhibiting specific observable behaviors may be referred for additional screening at the checkpoint to include a handwanding, limited pat down and physical inspection of one’s carry-on baggage. Referrals are based on specific observed behaviors only, not on one’s appearance, race, ethnicity or religion.

Specific observable behaviors? Could you give us an example? Say, from January 2008?

TSA’s behavior detection and document checking officers have been busy this month. Just last week, a TSA behavior detection officer in Florida observed an individual in the public area of the airport, prior to the checkpoint, displaying suspicious behavior and contacted the airport police.

The police interviewed the individual, who was not traveling. During the interview, the individual threatened the officers and became combative.

Further investigation by law enforcement revealed that the individual has a felony probationary status and previous criminal history including loitering, robbery with a weapon, disorderly conduct, resisting an officer and battery. The police removed the individual from airport property.

Sounds like a successful intervention! Was the suspicious individual combative before he was interviewed? Did the suspicious individual’s felony probationary status preclude him from being in an airport?

Oh, we’re sorry, our producer is telling us we need to move on to our next guest, or he’ll rickroll our earwig. CBS News, apparently you have a bone to pick with TSA. Could you tell us what you said last May, before your last viewer deserted you?

A new government report released Thursday reveals that federal officers with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) who are tasked with the job of spotting terrorists at airports have little training.

As CBS News Chief Investigative Correspondent Armen Keteyian first reported on Wednesday the TSA’s behavior detection officers have never spotted a terrorist. Furthermore, the Government Accountability Office discovered that at least 16 known terrorists travelled through 8 different U.S. airports 23 times where the program had been implemented.

The GAO report says the TSA implemented its behavior detection program, which now costs taxpayers about $200 million annually, without first determining if there was any scientific valid basis for using it…

According to the GAO, the TSA’s behavior detection officers typically work in teams of two and “training includes 4 days of classroom courses, followed by 3 days of on-the-job training.”

Well, there’s American efficiency for you! Just ask our next guest, Kathy Parker. She was getting ready to fly last month from Philly to Charlotte, North Carolina, when the strangest thing happened!

A female Transportation Security Administration officer wanded her and patted her down, she says. Then she was walked over to where other TSA officers were searching her bags…

In a side pocket she had tucked a deposit slip and seven checks made out to her and her husband, worth about $8,000.

Her thought: “Oh, my God, this is none of his business.”

Two Philadelphia police officers joined at least four TSA officers who had gathered around her. After conferring with the TSA screeners, one of the Philadelphia officers told her he was there because her checks were numbered sequentially, which she says they were not.

“It’s an indication you’ve embezzled these checks,” she says the police officer told her. He also told her she appeared nervous. She hadn’t before that moment, she says…

When she got home, her husband of 20 years, John Parker, a self-employed plastics broker, said the police had called and told him that they’d suspected “a divorce situation” and that Kathy Parker was trying to empty their bank account. He set them straight.

“I was so humiliated,” she said.

Funny story, Kathy! But all’s well that ends well, right? And don’t you feel safer knowing that those entry-level TSA psyops agents are protecting your marriage as well as American aviation? Nice TSA spokeslady, we’ll let you have the last word:

TSA spokeswoman Ann Davis said the reason Parker was selected for in-depth screening was that her actions at the airport had aroused the suspicion of a behavior detection officer, and that she continued to act “as if she feared discovery.”

“We need to ascertain whether fear of discovery is due to the fact a person is concealing a threatening item, be it a dangerous weapon or some kind of explosive,” Davis said. “If the search is complete, and shows individuals not to be a threat to the aircraft or fellow passengers, they are free to go.”

But why call police? Davis said, “Because her behavior escalated.”

Mission Creeps [Digby]

I am so fucked.

PS. Armen Keteyian. Sounds like a Muslim name to me.

Who watches the watchmen when the watchman is an idiot?

Personally, I can see why BDOs have such an awesome record based on my own (brief) experiences with the law.

Last year was the first time I had ever been pulled over for a breathalyzer. Twice.

First time, no problems. The female cop thought I was a liar (but did not state it till after) and then when I blew a 0.0 (this after a mere two beers in three hours BTW) she let me go no problems. I had no issues with her assuming I was one after all she does meet quite a few and she was doing her job. I got a pass from the cops that showed I blew 0.0 so that if I ran into another checkpoint that I would go through without any issues. Part of me wanted to give the pass to my mom to get a rise out of her (just because) till I pointed out the 0.0 but I did not.

2nd time was more of an issue. I was pulled over on suspicion of alcohol at 4pm on a Sunday and I had my last pint of beer 10pm the previous night so one would think that unless I brush my teeth with alcohol that Mr cop wouldn’t smell anything.

This did not start well as he made the comment of “Oh I think you had something more than a beer, SIR.” Wow. Asshole much? I just shrugged and internally seethed.

I ended up blowing into the breathalyzer. 0.0. The cop’s eyes showed surprise because he thought he had me. He said do it again. I did. 0.0. He then got another one. 0.0. The smug look on his face disappeared and he got annoyed. I gave him a big smug grin after the 3rd time. I’m sure the dick could have searched my car for something, but the only thing he would have found was parking receipts and at that point I wasn’t above wasting his time (and mine) just to piss him off even more.

He spat out a comment to the effect of “you’re lucky this time asshole.” I made him even madder when I joked, “this is the last time I eat hot dogs with sauerkraut for lunch.”

I left the cop glaring as I happily drove off.

As an Asian, it is in my DNA to be respectful of authority figures and most of the time I am. I draw the line at guys who demand “respect my authritah!”

The thing I find with most people is when they’re challenged on their ethics they freak out and get super defensive about it which is what happened to the lady in the post. Sets off cops radar. Something about doth protest too much and all that.

I’ve found that being calm and passive about it usually disarms the challenger. Besides, I don’t really care what the cop thinks of me as long as he’s not pulling out his cuffs, taser or gun.

My daughter flew to Israel recently via El Al and one of the questions from their fabled security screening was what’s on the seder plate.

@Dodgerblue: Interesting. Are they trying to detect animosity to Jews amongst non-Jews? I mean that as a serious question. What other possible purpose could that serve?

p.s. Up early, are we?

@mellbell: We’re Jewish. They were pissed off that she didn’t speak Hebrew.

Yes, up early, c/o my loyal dog. Must be some terrorist squirrels out and about.

@ManchuCandidate: In the past I’ve found that if I’m very very rude to the cops they back down. I think it’s the accent. I might be needing to rethink this strategy, however.

@Dodgerblue: Triscuits?

@Dodgerblue: I know. I was thinking that perhaps they ask that question of everyone who passes through, because it’s such a banal question (I could half-answer it, even) that it might be meaningful if someone were to become agitated by it.

@Dodgerblue: So are you not allowed to board the flight if you space on the bitter herbs?

@Benedick Arnuldsson Manpants: Brits can always get away with being rude to American lackeys because of their accent.

@SanFranLefty: I was hoping that she had included the orange, which we include as a response to some idiot rabbi’s remark that women will be ordained as rabbis when there is an orange on the seder plate. But she decided not to jerk their chain. Her seatmate on the flight was some local named Chaim who also criticized her for not speaking Hebrew. What is it with these people?

i am always so impressed with the security at ben gurion. while you’re standing in line they randomly pick out a person and actually interrogate you. of course i am ALWAYS randomly selected in every airport on earth. they rocket fire questions at you..it’s rather impressive and intimidating, though i never got any jewish quizzes.
the best, as you all recall, was when i was flying out of miami to T&C with my shih tzu whose eyes were sewn shut from just having had them removed due to advanced glaucoma. they took me in a room and asked me if there was heroin in his eyes. one look from me, that’s all it took. they let me leave before i removed their balls and stuffed their scrotums with hatred.
i’ve been patted, frisked, felt up…all that’s left is a full body cavity search. i’m sooo scary.

reminds me: i had surgery 30 hours before my last trip out of israel. i LOVED hadassah hospital, best hospital i’ve ever been in, and i’m a proffessional hypochondriac. my nurse was fantastic, she was exactly like carla from scrubs. she spoke to me in perfect english for two days. then when i said i had to leave to catch a plane, she went nuts, but of course i left Against Medical Advice. so time to settle the bill. i pull out my magic get-out-of-the-hospital-free card and she is shocked. shocked! she says you’re an israeli citizen? um..yes. from that moment on, she refused to speak one word of english to me except to tell me i’m a disgrace for not speaking hebrew. they’re a little crazy over there…

@Tommmcatt Thinks Masturbation Can Also Involve The Mainstream Media:
oh Catt..been looking for you to tell you i saw the movie Where the Wild Things Are. i LOVED it! they ran a doc about sendak before the movie..what a peice of work he is! 80 crotchety years old who doesn’t much like children. his books are the result of his arrested development from his own childhood. his books are all the result of his trauma from the lindbergh kidnapping.
what a fascinating man! and a jew! with the ghey!

@baked: He’s a Jew? Makes up for Barry Manilow.

@Dodgerblue: There would be a lot fewer people flying the friendly skies if they made that sort of religious knowledge screening standard.

p.s. I got 6 for 6 on the practice test, so I better get priority boarding status!


I didn’t know he had teh Gay! Interesting.

Did you know he wrote his book “In The Night Kitchen” as “pornography” for children? Look it up, it’s true.

@flippin eck: I once dated a very religious guy (currently an Episcopalian priest-in-training) who thought that there were twelve Stations of the Cross. I corrected him, of course.

@Tommmcatt Thinks Masturbation Can Also Involve The Mainstream Media:
yes! he recently lost his partner of 50 years!
In the Night Kitchen stirred a bruhaha when the the slightest line of a suggestion of a penis was shown on a baby. morans.

@flippin eck:
makes perfect sense to me..i became an atheist only after intensive study of all religions.

@mellbell: Uh, how many are there? I’ll be in Jerusalem next month.

where are you staying? don’t tell me the King David…they blew it up twice already. i went there for the famous sunday brunch and was scared witless. ran 2 blocks when we left.
it was the ONLY time i felt fearful over there

@flippin eck: I got 6 of 6 too, and I haven’t ever been a member of any religion!

@flippin eck: 6 for 6 by the pagan who goes to Mass more than most Catholics and who can go toe to toe with Catt on Stinque Bible Trivia Days.

so the rat is is back. and is he ever high holied out.
i’m just high, and better off.

“so you asked god to forgive your sin? fagettaboutit. you broke one of THE TEN, idiot. you’re going straight to hell”
“jews don’t go to hell”
“they’re making an exception in your case, welcome to HELL asshole”

welcome home dear!!!

@baked: Where do bad Jews go? (And don’t say, “If it’s a girl, everywhere.”)

@baked: Heh, heh. Should be “Bad Jews with shitty lawyers.”

So, no repercussions in the afterlife? No going to see the probation officer after harp lessons?

We really don’t have a specific place for bad people, either. As far as I know, everyone makes it to the Perfect World.

re makes up for barry manilow
makes up for 2 other BM’s i can think of.
bernie madoff and my biological mother.

speaking of…
just this very morning i picked up the paint and brushes to make Sergio’s headstone. nine months later i am still crying over that dog. everyday.
and i will recite the ancient hebrew prayer for the dead for him when i place the stone.

Yit’gadal v’yit’kadash shmei rabba…..etc. amen

(Sergio was jewish)

I have converted to Odinism.

I worship the bush outside the window.

He’s called Lief.

@baked: Nothing can make up for Kenny G. Nothing.

@Benedick Arnuldsson Manpants:
me too mum!!! i wander around the garden awestruck and mumble,
proof of god proof of god. why do silly humans need to look further than the majesty of the natural world? puzzling.
wait…lief isn’t burning is he?

@baked, benedict: It was this time of year on a frosty morning about 28 years ago when I saw the hand of God at work in a backlit aspen sapling no more than two feet high.

I caught a glimpse of it highlighted by the rising sun against a still-dark slope as I rode in the open back of a pickup truck with a work crew from my Pueblo made of up some hardcore unemployed and me the college drop out on our way to build steel post and barbed wire fences up in the mountains on the boundary between tribal lands and an adjoining ranch and National Forest lands. That fall, that job and that day marked a rebirth for me in so many ways.

i completely understand. that’s why the Perfect Place is right here.
thank you Hand, that brought all of us together.
and now i go paint and sob.
it’s the Stinquers who ease my aching heart. hallelujah, reds.

@baked: Twice? Did Netanyahu fart in the cafeteria?

yes..TWICE. just like the WTC. where, scoff if you must, bushco farted demolition in the cafeteria.

@Dodgerblue: Have not, although I seen plenty of big ‘uns.

@baked: So you’re not counting the Irgun?

no, only because paul newman was one of them. see: exodus as told by leon uris.

fun fact: the mysterious rat has a few different names, one of them :
_____ haggenah

OOPS…that should probably be deleted!

@flippin eck: Pew has a longer version (about half the number of questions as the full survey), but I’m having trouble getting it to load (too much traffic?).

oh me too…but he wasn’t played by paul newman.
they should make that into a movie. i guess the jews that *cough*own all media *cough* won’t permit it.

puppy calls! see y’all later

ps…rat told me there IS a movie! i only knew the book. i just looked it up..played by anthony hopkins!
rat has the puppy beast, so i can now go sob into some rustoleum.
carry on.

@baked: A movie-movie? Or the TV miniseries?

movie-movie! http://movies.yahoo.com/movie/1800108914/info

i must go cry now…..over Serg and not having netflix!

@baked: Aha! That is the TV miniseries, repackaged for video!

@Tommmcatt Thinks Masturbation Can Also Involve The Mainstream Media: Yep. When my Mom made them, they were always burned. Took after my grandmother.

So, on this Mad Men thing – Mrs RML says that Mitt Romney sounds like Duck Phillips.

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