According to a Government Accountability Office report, the Transportation Security Agency has blown through nearly $900 million on an ineffective behavioral training program designed to teach TSA agents how to spot potential terrorists based on their mannerisms. Fewer than 1% of passengers spotted by TSA agents have been arrested and accused of terrorist activity.
A federal review of the program has offered no evidence that the costly program has enhanced the United States’ ability to stop terrorism before it starts, leading to the GAO’s recommendation that the government cut the program entirely. The GAO accused the government of rolling out an expensive program without a reasonable expectation of its effectiveness, typical of many government initiatives.
The program supposedly trains TSA officers to spot suspicious behavior in a crowd of people, distinguishing between normal activity exhibited by passengers simply stressed out by travel and from a nervous person intent on committing a terrorist act.
The program has cost taxpayers $878 million since its inception in 2007.