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Holiday Travel Safety: "Tune Into Your Surroundings Instead Of Your Ipod, "Says Veteran Cop And Anti-Terrorism Expert
"Tune into your surroundings instead of your iPod, to stay safe during the Thanksgiving-Christmas travel rush," warns antiterrorism expert Todd McGhee, who pioneered new security measures at Logan Airport, post 9/11.



"Airport security is getting better at spotting potential terrorists, but the public must also be aware of what to watch for and how to respond to terrorist and other threats," says McGhee, who after a 24-year career as a Massachusetts State Trooper, co-founded Protecting the Homeland Innovations, LLC (PHI), located in Braintree, MA, to provide antiterrorist training to security professionals.

"Pay attention to the ebb and flow of human activity in airports, rail stations and bus terminals when you travel. By doing so you will be become sensitive to the norm and more aware of behaviors that are out of step with the crowd — behaviors that don't make sense and could mean trouble," says McGhee.

Since 2003, McGhee's Protecting the Homeland Innovations has been providing antiterrorism training to TSA, AMTRAK, NYPD and others. PHI (www.phitraining.com) also develops public awareness campaigns for the transportation industry. "'If you see something, say something,' isn't specific enough. Travelers need to know what to look for and how to respond," emphasizes McGhee. "Forget ethnicity or religion as clues. It's all about behavior — beware of the individual who hangs back when everyone rushes to make their flight, brings luggage into the baggage claim area, photographs items that are not tourist attractions, appears to be taking orders via cell phone or is generally out of it, almost trancelike."

McGhee adds, "Outside the boarding gates, airports are as public as city streets where anybody up to no good can hang out. Situational awareness helps to keep us safe from belligerent drunks, sexual predators, scammers and other troublemakers as well as terrorists."

"If a stranger starts a conversation and hesitates to answer simple questions like, 'Are you visiting your family?' it's a sign of trouble," says McGhee, adding, "We teach security people to look for subconscious responses people just cannot hide. It's a like a tell in a poker player."

"If you sense a threat go with your instincts. Move away and alert the nearest security professional or a gate agent. Do not try to detain the individual yourself. Your safety comes first," says McGhee.
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