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SPOT, the TSA's Attack Dog on Free Speech

Written By: Michael Tennant  |  Posted: Tuesday, April 26th, 2011

            Suppose you're standing in an airport security line, wasting precious minutes of your busy day waiting for your turn to remove your shoes and be electronically strip-searched or physically groped by Transportation Security Administration screeners. You notice how absurd and revolting the TSA's procedures are. Perhaps you catch a TSA agent touching a six-year-old girl in ways that would get her school teacher arrested if the teacher performed the same actions.

            What do you do? Do you stare at the TSA's agents with an expression of disgust? Do you begin commenting about the unconstitutionality and criminality of the TSA's procedures?
            If so, you could end up being targeted for additional screening, investigated by local law enforcement, and prevented from boarding your flight. You see, a person who is "very arrogant and expresses contempt against airport passenger procedures" may be considered "high risk" by the TSA under its Screening Passengers by Observation Technique (SPOT) program.
            CNN reports that it has obtained a list of about 70 "behavioral indicators" that are used by TSA behavior detection officers to determine which passengers exhibit "behaviors and appearances that may be indicative or stress, fear or deception," which in turn require them to be more thoroughly screened. One of these indicators is having an "arrogant" attitude and griping about the TSA's screening process. Of course, as remarked:

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