New federal security program implemented at Columbus, Ohio, airport

Specially trained screeners to engage in behavior-detection


On its blog, "Evolution of Security," the agency proclaimed, "It's a further testament that the behavior-detection program works."

So far, at Port Columbus, the program hasn't yielded any would-be terrorists.

According to reports filed by the Columbus Regional Airport Authority police, one person deemed suspicious did turn out to be the subject of an outstanding arrest warrant, and a few people have had expired driver's licenses and visas.

Another individual was found to be carrying about $2,360 in cash, which, while intriguing, is hardly illegal.

Critics say the SPOT program is a waste of time and effort and, more troubling, a dangerous invasion of privacy.

"We shouldn't expect people who are sweating to be suspicious on a flight," said Timothy Sparapani, senior legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union. "We shouldn't expect people who are agitated about flying to deserve greater scrutiny."

Sparapani said he thinks the SPOT program is "code for racial or ethic profiling."

Brown, the man arrested in Orlando, is a Jamaican national with dark skin and a full beard and mustache.

"We actually feel it's an antidote to racial profiling," TSA analyst Carl Maccario said of the program.

"Racial profiling is ineffective. If you're going to racially profile, the real terrorist is going to walk right by you."

Federal officials are so pleased with the SPOT program that they have outlined aggressive expansion plans.

By September, the TSA hopes to have 2,400 behavior-detection officers deployed at 160 airports across the country. The number of special screeners could grow to 4,000 by mid-2009.

Here in Columbus, Boldt said, she has no doubt that her trained eyes can help spot the face of terrorism.

"I believe in this program."