Enter the world of ‘behavior officers’

We’ve gotten a little glimpse of how much getting through security lines at the nation’s airports are going to change with the posting of “behavior officers.”

The ACLU’s “Free Future” blog carries the details of one of its attorney’s departure from an airport in Burlington, Vermont recently…


Instead, the agent responded to my answer with a barrage of questions about where in Vermont we had stayed, how long we had traveled, and why we had traveled there. I could feel a suspicious expression involuntarily creep across my face. The New Englander inside me was screaming “you don’t know this person from a hole in the wall and you certainly don’t want to divulge to him the details of your family vacation!” And yet it seemed that the more discomfort I expressed, the more persistent the agent’s questioning became, following us down the line, grilling me unrelentingly about our vacation plans and baggage status.

The New York Times reported this month that its interviews with some TSA agents revealed some of the workings behind the program…


… passengers who fit certain profiles — Hispanics traveling to Miami, for instance, or blacks wearing baseball caps backward — are much more likely to be stopped, searched and questioned for “suspicious” behavior.

“They just pull aside anyone who they don’t like the way they look — if they are black and have expensive clothes or jewelry, or if they are Hispanic,” said one white officer, who along with four others spoke with The New York Times on the condition of anonymity.

One-hundred-and-sixty-one airports now use behavior officers.

I’m interested in hearing about your flying experiences. Have you encountered similar situations?

(h/t: Tech Dirt)

  • boB from WA

    Gee, will this lead to “contempt of cop” charges?

  • BJ

    How about ‘it’s none of your business?’

  • Tyler

    It’s amazing what we put up with to be packed onto flying buses.

  • essjayok

    “They just pull aside anyone who they don’t like the way they look”

    Awesome.

    Let’s just enforce and institutionalize more racism and discrimination!

    Yay! I feel so much safer!!!

  • ce

    It’s astonishing to me what we have willingly given up, on a daily basis, for the illusion of safety. Who emerged victorious after 9/11, exactly?

  • http://www.greatdiv.com Charlie Quimby

    “Have you encountered similar situations?”

    Only when passing through customs.

    On the other hand, I’ve been able to board a commercial flight without an ID, so maybe it’s my old whiteman magic at work.