The Transportation Security Administration had quite a year of free publicity in 2011, including headline-grabbing news of agents groping grandmas, fondling supermodels, joking about passengers’ “junk” while virtually disrobing them and pilfering possessions from luggage.People who are used to taking trains know they can arrive just a few minutes before the train gets there and easily get aboard and make their trip. The TSA has probably done more to promote train travel than anything else they've accomplished, but should one of these teams show up at a train station, they're guaranteed to make a whole host of people miss their trains while continuing their record of never having stopped or even detected a terrorist threat. This is completely unnecessary and I wish a candidate not named Ron Paul would vow to end this mess.
In 2012, the agency is planning to expand its operations at train stations, subway stations, ferry docks and other transportation hubs.
Special TSA teams conducted 9,300 surprise inspections at non-airport facilities in 2011 alone. The Department of Homeland Security is pressing Congress to pay $24 million more for 12 additional roving units next year.
The Los Angeles Times reports that these teams — called “viper” units, with 25 currently operational — drop in at transportation facilities and conduct random inspections.
Not everyone is convinced that the teams are necessary, with critics referring to the operations as “security theatre.”
“It’s a great way to make the public think you are doing something,” Fred H. Cate, a professor at the Indiana University Maurer School of Law, told the Times. “It’s a little like saying, ‘If we start throwing things up in the air, will they hit terrorists?’”
In 2011, a variety of libertarian, progressive and tea party advocates vented about the intrusive nature of TSA procedures, also referring to them as “political theatre.”...
TSA officials told the Times that the mobile “viper” units have not foiled any known terror plot.
Tuesday, December 27, 2011
Is this really necessary?