Thursday 16 August 2012

Effective airport security without profiling

A security expert who helped create new security protocols at Logan right after 9/11, says, “Before jumping to conclusions [about what happened at Logan] we need to ask” a few questions

“When TSA officers at Logan International were accused of racial profiling recently, civil rights defenders saw the complaints as a ‘gotcha’ moment, while others excused profiling entirely,” says antiterrorism expert Todd McGhee, co-founder of Protecting the Homeland Innovations, LLC (PHI) in Braintree, Massachusetts.

McGhee says he is troubled over Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) profiling charges. The 24-year veteran Massachusetts State Trooper, who helped create new security protocols at Logan right after 9/11, says, “Before jumping to conclusions we need to ask three questions:

Are the complaints legitimate or are disgruntled employees upset with administrators or co-workers?

Is the problem a matter of maintaining a proper training regiment as with x-ray and backscatter equipment operation?

Are screening officers pressured to generate statistics showing they’re producing the right number of secondary screenings?”

Adds McGhee, “The original TSA program has built-in safeguards to mitigate against bias screening. We cannot emphasize enough, profiling is not effective, illegal and cannot be tolerated.”

McGhee disagrees with those who claim TSA is being pressed into identifying other types of criminals, such as drug traffickers, and losing focus on its antiterrorism mission. “The ability to spot any potential troublemaker — including the one-in-a-million passenger with a bomb under his coat — enhances safety. It’s basic policing, where the beat cop develops a sense for behaviors that are out of step with the environment.”

“In addition to behavioral observations, TSA officers engage passengers in active dialogue. PHI teaches security professionals to ask friendly questions and watch for hesitancy, inconsistencies or lack of eye contact — tells in poker.”

In the current issue of Security Products, Ronnie Rittenberry, print managing editor explains, “At PHI, McGhee and his trainers instruct students in the Patriot Training System, a proprietary curriculum based in part on inculcating a list of behavioral indicators summed up by the acronym GAMMA: Groupings, Articles, Mood, Movement and Attire – (a parka in August, for example).”

Credit:Homeland Security News Wire.


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