TSA behavioral screening program waste of money, some in Congress say



ORLANDO, Fla. - The Transportation Security Administration's billion-dollar program that flags risky travelers by their behavior isn't worth the money, according to a just released government report.

Investigators came to Orlando to review this program and they didn't like what they found.

Some members of Congress want to put an end to the program.

The report was done by the government accountability office, the watchdog for Congress and they want to limit funding for the program

Some members of Congress say it's a waste of taxpayer money.

TSA started using the behavioral screening program in 2007.

The idea is to train TSA officers to detect suspicious behavior, adding an extra layer of security on top of screening.

Federal investigators traveled to Orlando International Airport to interview Transportation Security Administration behavior detection officers.

Taxpayers have spent nearly a billion dollars training these officers to identify suspicious looking people and so they can talk to them and determine whether they pose a threat but investigators say there's no proof the training works.

"The program should be based on sound empirical evidence and not hope and faith alone," said Stephen Lord with the Government Accountability Office.

The head of TSA ducked a question of why taxpayers should keep paying for the program.

While testifying on Capitol Hill, TSA administrator John Pistole defended the program and asked congress to fund it for another three years.

If the program is eliminated as some in Congress want, he says travelers won't be happy.

"There'd be fewer passengers going through expedited screening, there'd be increased pat downs, there would be longer lines, and there'd be more frustration by the traveling public," Pistole said.

The program has been criticized for racial profiling.

The TSA director said that's not tolerated and insists it provides a crucial layer of security.

Members of the House Homeland Security Subcommittee will discuss that further next week.