At Washington’s Union Station, CBS News watched two men with backpacks as they watched everyone else. They are undercover behavior detection officers, trained to pick out bad guys by looking for expressions of fear, anxiety or deception.
Since 2007, the Transportation Security Administration has spent $900 million training and deploying 3,000 behavior detection officers. Those so-called BDOs are now stationed at major transit hubs, primarily at 176 of the nation’s busiest airports.
But a new report from the Government Accountability Office questions whether BDOs are effective, concluding: “Available evidence does not support whether behavioral indicators … can be used to identify persons who may pose a risk to aviation security.”