The Transportation Security Administration is confirming a program called "Quiet Skies" which allows air marshals to keep track of ordinary citizens even after they land.
The goal is to broaden the TSA's scope on who should be tracked at airports, possible deterring potential terror acts in the future. Agents are collecting info such as "excessive fidgeting or sweating, a lump in their Adam's apple or have a cold penetrating stare."
“We’re seeing examples of the TSA following around people who are in no way significantly suspect,” says retired Marine pilot Steve Ganyard is a contributor to ABC News. “The criteria they are applying does not point to people who are potential terrorists.”
“Behavioral pattern recognition is a legitimate counter terrorism tool, but it needs to be done by people who are highly trained,” he says. “In this case it seems like the TSA is just handing out checklists for their agents to look at particular personal traits.”
The TSA insists it is not a surveillance program.
“The most effective way to track terrorists or suspected terrorists are when you have tips from other agencies, when you use the interagency process to pool your intelligence,” says Ganyard. “In this case it seems like the TSA is almost freelancing.”