Demeanor has proved to be the Achilles’ heel of several terror plots, and it is not something that militant groups have spent a great deal of time teaching their operatives. Because of this, it is frequently easier to spot demeanor mistakes than it is to find well-hidden explosives.
Such demeanor mistakes can also be accentuated, or even induced, by contact with security personnel in the form of interviews, or even by unexpected changes in security protocols that alter the security environment a potential attacker is anticipating and has planned for.
There has been much discussion of profiling, but the difficulty of creating a reliable and accurate physical profile of a Terrorist, and the adaptability and ingenuity of the terrorist planners, means that any attempt at profiling based only on race, ethnicity or religion is doomed to fail.
In fact, profiling can prove counterproductive to good security by blinding people to real threats.Untrained personnel will dismiss potential malefactors who do not fit the specific profile they have been provided. In an environment where the potential threat is hard to identify, it is doubly important to profile individuals based on their behavior rather than their ethnicity or nationality — what it is referred to as focusing on the “HOW” instead of the “WHO.”