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The TSA taught Disney World employees to spot terrorists through yawning and throat-clearing

(AP Photo/The Orange County Register, H. Lorren Au Jr., FILE)

(AP Photo/The Orange County Register, H. Lorren Au Jr., FILE)

Disney World, where dreams come true and TSA-trained employees are watching your every yawn and fidget and marking you down as a possible terrorist.

The Intercept reports that the TSA trained security teams at SeaWorld, Disney World and Busch Gardens in their absurd “Screening of Passengers by Observation Techniques” (SPOT) program, which rates things like “exaggerated yawning” and “facial flushing” as possible marks of terrorism.

The Intercept reported extensively on SPOT last month, after obtaining the checklist TSA agents use to rate someone a terror threat. Things like appearing confused and disoriented, blinking too much, having a jumpy Adam’s apple, or wearing “improper” attire for your location (looking at you, Cinderella impersonator) all have different point scales. If someone racks up enough points, law enforcement may be alterted.

Other supposed signs of terrorism include owning “unusual items” like a GPS or prepaid cell phones. (In other words, the things your elderly relatives probably definitely take to Disney World.)

SPOT has already cost over $1 billion since 2007 and is of dubious usefulness, with one Government Accountability Office review finding it no better than random selection of passengers to screen.

From The Intercept:

On July 22, 2009, TSA trained about 400 members of local law enforcement from central Florida — including SeaWorld’s director and assistant director of security, and representatives from Disney World and Busch Gardens — in the same checklist used by the SPOT program.

“They have plainclothes people at SeaWorld and Disney doing the same behavior detection, looking for the same indicators we look for at the airport,” a source told The Intercept.

SeaWorld and the Greater Orlando Airport Authority (GOAA), which manages Orlando International Airport, have long had close relations because many of the people flying into the airport are heading to the parks, which are also potential targets of terrorist attacks.

“So GOAA, Disney, SeaWorld, Busch Gardens all work together in the most advanced security measures,” the source said.

None of the theme parks in question have commented on this yet–perhaps too busy chasing down some suspicious-looking child who was a rapid eye-blinker.


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