The Transportation Security Administration has spent nearly $1 billion on a program that lacks a way to scientifically measure its success, according to new report by the Government Accountability Office.
The Screening of Passengers by Observation Techniques (SPOT) program has been around since 2007, but there is no definitive evidence it actually works, the report states. Personnel are trained to detect “fear, stress or deceptive behavior” that might be indicative of a threat, according to NBC News.
“Available evidence does not support whether behavioral indicators … can be used to identify persons who may pose a risk to aviation security,” the GAO report notes.
Rep. Mike McCaul, Texas Republican and chairman of House Homeland Security Committee, told NBC News that the report was “concerning,” given the expensive implementation of the program.
“While I believe that there is value in utilizing behavioral detection and analysis in the aviation environment, we can only support programs that are proven effective,” Mr. McCaul said.