The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has long used “pat downs” to check potential air travelers for weapons. In August 2011 at Boston’s Logan Interational Airport, the TSA began its first “chat-downs”—questioning air passengers about their travel plans. The “chat-down” procedure was modeled after the screenings given before flights to Israel.
The TSA expanded the “chat-downs” in October 2011 to Detroit’s Metro International Airport, but some Democrat and Republican Congressmen became critical of the TSA’s methods.
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The Raw Story
Democrat questions TSA over Israeli-style ‘chat downs’
By Eric W. Dolan
Monday, August 15, 2011
Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) on Monday called for the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to halt the implementation of a new behavioral screening program that is modeled after Israel’s airport security screening methods.
Thompson is skeptical that the results of the pilot program can determine how the agency should proceed with the “chat downs.”
Next In Line For The TSA? A Thorough ‘Chat-Down’
by Tovia Smith
August 16, 2011
Boston’s Logan International Airport will become the first in the nation this week to require every single traveler to go through a quick interview with security officials trying to spot suspicious behavior.
Unlike the usual security pat-down, the profiling process is what you might call a “chat-down.”
A blue-uniformed Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officer begins with a friendly “Hi, how are you?” and then spends a minute or two peppering passengers with basic questions like where they’re going, for what and for how long.
New York (NY) Daily News
TSA pat-downs now come with additional ‘chat-downs’ at Boston Logan International Airport
BY DAILY NEWS STAFF
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER
Friday, August 19, 2011
Some travelers in the US are going to have to learn to get friendly with security staff, after the introduction of a new ‘chat-down’ scheme to improve security.
The new process, introduced this week, will see every flyer at Boston Logan International Airport questioned by officials before departure.
September 08, 2011, 5:45 PM EDT
Airport Security: The TSA Tries ‘Chat-Downs’
Under a TSA pilot program, passengers are questioned in line
By Julie Bykowicz
The man in the blue uniform wanted to know where Felipe Mejia was going and why. He held Mejia’s gaze, as well as his boarding pass. “I said, ‘Who are you to ask me these questions?’ ” recalls the medical company executive, who was waiting at Boston Logan International Airport on his way to Charleston, S.C. “‘It’s none of your business. I don’t think you have a right to ask me these things.’ ”
The man who questioned Mejia in late August was a Transportation Security Administration officer taking part in a pilot program aimed at identifying suspicious characters as they inch through airport security lines.
Representative Bennie G. Thompson, a Mississippi Democrat on the House Homeland Security Committee, tried unsuccessfully to talk Pistole out of starting what he disapprovingly calls “chat-downs.”
TSA expands testing of ‘chat-down’ program
By Keith Laing - 10/17/11 03:35 PM ET
The Transportation Security Administration added a second airport to its behavior-detection interview program, dubbed “chat downs” by critics.
TSA tested the program this summer at Boston’s Logan Airport, interviewing travelers as a means of assessing suspicious behavior by their reactions to certain questions.
The agency confirmed to The Hill Monday it was extending the program to Detroit’s Metro International Airport.
Lawmaker Blasts ‘Chat Down’ Airport Security Program
on October 26, 2011
A key Republican lawmaker is calling for quick fixes to a trial airport security program intended to catch terrorists by picking up on suspicious behavior.
U.S. Rep. John Mica, chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, said he will ask the Transportation Security Administration to revamp the program, which is known by its critics as “chat down.”
Mica told the Boston Herald that, while visiting Boston’s Logan International Airport earlier this month to check the security program, “What I saw was a mundane, intense bureaucratic exercise.”
New York City • Transportation • (2) Comments • Wednesday, October 26, 2011 • Permalink
I have done a lot of traveling between studying abroad for a few years, living in multiple countries, and traveling for business. I have noticed in recent years that people have begun to get pulled aside and asked about their travel plans just as what is mentioned here. These “chat downs” as they are called seem to not slow down the boarding process too much (thankfully) but I’m not sure how effective they will be. If they are truly random then I would doubt they would prove useful in stopping suspicious people, but I guess time will tell.
TSA really hasn’t done anything...I mean when was the last time TSA caught a terrorist? It’s been more than a decade...and they haven’t caught anyone. Actual terorrists that got caught, were caught by FBI.