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Federal officials exaggerated and misstated facts surrounding an aviation terrorism scare at Orlando International Airport, as they attempted to defend and expand an expensive anti-terrorism program that has yet to find a confirmed terrorist, a Local 6 investigation has found.
The Transportation Security Administration has repeatedly cited the 2008 arrest of a man carrying "all of the components for an explosive device" at OIA as an example of the effectiveness of its $250-million-a-year behavior detection program.
The agency claims its behavior detection officers (BDOs) were able to intercept Kevin Christopher Brown on April 1, 2008 through careful examination of his involuntary behavior – subtle cues of deception exhibited by possible terrorists that BDOs are specially trained to recognize.
But a Local 6 investigation raises doubts about both claims, which TSA has repeated to the public and Congress as it tries to justify its employment of more than 3,000 BDOs in a nearly five-year-old program that has never nabbed a real terrorist.
Most glaringly, it turns out there were "no initiators, explosives or exploding devices" in Brown’s luggage, according to an August 8, 2008 FBI laboratory report.
Yet the TSA in 2010 continued to claim its behavior detection officers in Orlando "spotted an individual who was discovered to have explosive components."