How to spot a terrorist, according to US airport security

Excessive yawning, strong body odour and arrogance are among the suspicious signs that US airport staff are trained to associate with potential terrorists, a leaked document has revealed. A confidential security checklist used by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), the organisation in charge of airport screening in the US, was published by The Intercept. Other warning signs, according to the document, include protruding or throbbing neck arteries, whistling, excessive laughter, and “verbally expressing contempt for the screening process”.

Its Screening of Passengers by Observation Techniques (SPOT) guidance, used by staff to root out potential terrorists, lists a total of 17 “stress factors”, each of which are worth one point, 15 “fear factors”, worth two points, and six “deception factors”, worth three. If a traveller scores four or more points, they should be referred for selective screening, according to the instructions.

Amongst the 17 stress factors are:
– Arrives later for flight
– Avoids eye contact with security personnel
– Exaggerated yawning as the individual approached the screening process
– Excessive fidgeting, clock watching, head-turning, shuffling feet, leg shaking
– Excessive perspiration inconsistent with the environment
– Face pale from recent shaving of beard
– Facial flushing while undergoing screening
– Faster eye blink rate when individual requested to submit to screening procedures

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