Specially-Trained TSA Agents Aimed at Increasing Safety at Airports - NBC Bay Area
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Specially-Trained TSA Agents Aimed at Increasing Safety at Airports

Behavior detection officers go through federal law enforcement training and were formed after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

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    The Transportation Security Administration's efforts to increase safety at airports include agents specially trained to detect a person who might be up to no good. Damian Trujillo reports. (Published Friday, March 18, 2016)

    The Transportation Security Administration's efforts to increase safety at airports include agents specially trained to detect a person who might be up to no good.

    Officials said the agents, called behavior detection officers, could be wearing plaint clothes or the blue uniform of TSA agents. NBC Bay Area spent time with one of the specially-trained agents at Mineta San Jose International Airport.

    The agent, who NBC Bay Area is not identifying for security reasons, was seen briefly questioning several people at SJC

    "They're basically looking for behaviors of passengers," TSA spokesman Nico Melendez said. "People who are seeking to deceive, who don't want to get caught or who have a fear of being caught."

    Behavior detection officers go through federal law enforcement training in Georgia to work on the specialized unit. The team was developed after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

    Officials said agents nationwide have detected kidnappers and drug runners.

    "Be the Walmart greeter, but there's other things you have to keep an eye on in other area," the agent said.

    TSA said the agents are not profiling when they question people at airports.

    "It's actually the antidote to profiling because it doesn't target an individual person," Melendez said. "It targets behavior."

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