Recently by Justin Raimondo: The Crusader
Well, that’s tough — because it’s about to get worse.
Since 2006, the TSA has been developing a $1 billion program called “Screening Passengers by Observation Techniques” [.pdf] (SPOT) whose proponents — notably, one Rafi Ron, an Israeli airline security “expert” — claim it enables screeners to detect dangerous passengers via nonverbal signals, including facial expressions. The program is undergoing a test run, starting today [Tuesday] at Boston’s Logan airport. So before you wrinkle your nose at that Epsilon-Minus Semi Moron rifling through your suitcase, please be aware that the “micro-expressions” you exhibit can and will be held against you.
As the TSA gropers assaulted Americans at airports, the outraged response of the public was taken up by some conservatives, who promptly declared that we need to organize our air safety campaign along Israeli lines — and now they’ve gotten their wish. Which just goes to underscore the old aphorism about being careful what you wish for.
Because what the Israelis do is pry and probe into every aspect of every airline passengers’ life: questions about their politics as well as their itinerary, about personal issues — you name it. Indeed, every passenger aboard the El Al state-owned Israeli airline is subjected to an extensive interrogation, but it’s hard to see how the relatively small-scale Israeli operation is going to be implemented in the US, which deals with multi-millions of airline passengers every day. The Boston Herald, however, gives us a preview:
“Under the SPOT program, as passengers hand over their boarding passes and identification, specially trained agents will ask three to four questions — from ‘Where have you been?” to “Do you have a business card?” and “Where are you traveling?” — while looking for “micro expressions,” such as lack of eye contact, that might hint at nefarious intent.
“Suspicious individuals will be pulled aside for more questioning, full-body scans and pat-downs. If the encounter escalates, agents will call in state police.”
If you fail to look that plug-ugly TSA moron in the face, and meet his beady-eyed gaze head on, you can look forward to a full-scale assault, which — don’t forget — could “escalate” if you bat an eyelid, in which case the Fullerton Police Department will be called in to do to you what they did to Kelly Thomas.
Justin Raimondo [send him mail] is editorial director of Antiwar.com and is the author of An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard and Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement.