Learning how one can act like a terrorist
Clearing your throat? Looking nervous? Recently shaved your beard? Wearing inappropriate clothing to the airport?
Just step over this way, sir.
On the one hand, looking for people displaying "suspicious behavior" seems common sense. On the other hand ...
... a lot of the behaviors are pretty common at an airport, especially with people who don't like to fly, who find the TSA checkpoints intimidating or irksome or frightening, who are late for their flight, or who are just having a bad day.
... there's no evidence that the SPOT program, or others like it, actually spot actually dangerous people. Because the numbers of actually dangerous people are so freaking small.
This explanation for the program seems much more plausible:'One former Behavior Detection Officer manager, who asked not to be identified, said that SPOT indicators are used by law enforcement to justify pulling aside anyone officers find suspicious, rather than acting as an actual checklist for specific indicators. “The SPOT sheet was designed in such a way that virtually every passenger will exhibit multiple ‘behaviors’ that can be assigned a SPOT sheet value,” the former manager said.'
In other words, it's the "loitering" or "being rude to a police officer" or "you were weaving a bit" or "your tail light is out" justification for either a gut hunch that someone's a suspicious individual, or else to apply more subjective and less justifiable reasons for further investigation or harassment (e.g., swarthy skin).
(h/t +Steve S