New Focus of Airport Safety: Your Smile

Officers watch passengers' facial expressions in new security program
By Heather McPherson,  Newser User
Posted Aug 17, 2007 2:12 PM CDT
New Focus of Airport Safety: Your Smile
Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff speaks during a news conference at Washington's Reagan National Airport, Thursday, Aug. 9, 2007, to announce new international flight screening procedures. (AP Photo/Dennis Cook)   (Associated Press)

Put on a brave face the next time you're at the airport; your expression might be under scrutiny. New security programs at more than a dozen airports are using undercover personnel who watch passengers' faces for indications of criminality. When trying to deceive others, a criminal still exhibits flashes of fear or scorn that officers are being trained to detect.

So-called "behavior detection officers" work as a pair: one of them will approach a suspect while the other watches his or her body language and facial expressions. Homeland Security has high hopes for the program, which is based on a longstanding Israeli operation. (More airport security stories.)

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