Boston TSA Agents Have Their Eyes on You


Boston's TSA screeners will be watching travelers a bit more closely starting next week.

Under a new pilot program kicking off in a little more than a week at Boston Logan International Airport, TSA employees will pose a variety of questions to passengers and determine whether or not they pose a threat based on their verbal and physical reactions to the queries.

Screening Passengers by Observation Techniques is a method commonly used in Israel, where it has been fairly successful, but some doubt TSA agents, not exactly renowned for their sensitivity, are the keenest observers of subtlety.

"The question is obviously, what is the quality of the verbal interaction that is going to be implemented?" Rafi Ron, a former Logan consultant, told the Boston Herald. "If it will have a poor quality, then obviously it will be another way to waste taxpayer money and increase the hassle to passengers. If not, then this will be great."

The program will require passengers to answer several questions as they hand over their boarding passes – basic stuff along the lines of, "Where are you headed?"

The aim is to analyze so-called micro-expressions – small, involuntary emotional reactions to stimuli. People who seem tense or untrustworthy or respond by shouting "death to America!" will be given full body scans.

If this sounds a lot like the show "Lie to Me," there is a good reason. The premise is essentially the same. The key difference is that the role of detectors will not be played by the squarely, yet lovable Tim Roth, but by the TSA agents, the people behind such hits as patting down a baby, dousing a man in his own urine and, who could forget, forcing an elderly woman to remove her adult diaper.

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