Monday, March 07, 2011

Remember Touching Special Areas searching people at the train station?

Amtrak Police Chief John O’Connor said he first thought a blog posting about the incident was a joke. When he discovered that the TSA’s VIPR team did at least some of what the blog said, he was livid. He ordered the VIPR teams off Amtrak property, at least until a firm agreement can be drawn up to prevent the TSA from taking actions that the chief said were illegal and clearly contrary to Amtrak policy.

“When I saw it, I didn’t believe it was real,” O’Connor said. When it developed that the posting on an anti-TSA blog was not a joke, “I hit the ceiling.”
Well, isn't that nice. Does TSA actually care?

O’Connor said the TSA VIPR teams have no right to do more than what Amtrak police do occasionally, which has produced few if any protests and which O’Connor said is clearly within the law and the Constitution. More than a thousand times, Amtrak teams (sometimes including VIPR) have performed security screenings at Amtrak stations. These screenings are only occasional and random, and inspect the bags of only about one in 10 passengers. There is no wanding of passengers and no sterile area. O’Connor said the TSA violated every one of these rules.
And he's surprised?
A posting in late February to the Transportation Security Administration’s blog, which serves as a public relations tool of the TSA, tried to explain why TSA agents took over the Amtrak station in Savannah. But O’Connor said the “facts” as posted on the TSA blog were incorrect. He said the blog indicated that Amtrak had approved of the operation, but it had not. He called the TSA’s posting on “inaccurate and insensitive.” As of the time this story was filed, the same posting remained on the blog.
What? TSA lied? Again, is he surprised?

All this is bad enough. It gets even better:
The group involved is TSA’s VIPR operation, which deals with surface transportation. VIPR is short for “visible intermodal protection and response.” It turns out that VIPR has been far more active than imagined. Teams have searched bus passengers all over the country, have done similar things at train stations, and have even blocked traffic on bridges to search trucks and cars. That even included the busy Chesapeake Bay Bridge near Washington.
Napolitano's power-grab is really spreading; seems she wasn't just talking about searching people all over, she was getting it rolling. Can you imagine the idiocy of blocking a frigging bridge so you can search vehicles?
A: Unless you have some reason to think it's actually no-shit necessary to find something really bad, it's stupid.
B: If you think bad guys have, say, a bomb on a truck, you've just given them a bridge full of stalled vehicles to take down
And when does the head of TSA inform us that driving across a bridge or taking a bus is a privilege for which we give up our rights?

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