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TSA's VIPR Bites Rail, Bus, and Ferry Passengers 658

OverTheGeicoE writes "TSA's VIPR program may be expanding. According to the Washington Times, 'TSA has always intended to expand beyond the confines of airport terminals. Its agents have been conducting more and more surprise groping sessions for women, children and the elderly in locations that have nothing to do with aviation.' In Tennessee earlier this month, bus passengers in Nashville and Knoxville were searched in addition to the truck searches discussed here previously. Earlier this year in Savannah, Georgia, TSA forced a group of train travelers, including young children, to be patted down. (They were getting off the train, not on.) Ferry passengers have also been targeted. According to TSA Administrator John Pistole's testimony before the Senate last June, 'TSA conducted more than 8,000 VIPR operations in the [previous] 12 months, including more than 3,700 operations in mass-transit and passenger-railroad venues.' He wants a 50% budget increase for VIPR for 2012. Imagine what TSA would do with the extra funding."
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TSA's VIPR Bites Rail, Bus, and Ferry Passengers

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  • by Rinikusu ( 28164 ) on Friday October 28, 2011 @03:26PM (#37872502)

    "Take the train you unpatriotic, small-dicked paranoid liberal!"

    Yeah, we all saw this coming. Papers, please.

    • by lgw ( 121541 ) on Friday October 28, 2011 @03:32PM (#37872600) Journal

      I hate to sound like I'm channeling Ronulus Prime, but I really think we'd all be better off if congress just defunded the TSA and closed the agency. At least it would be cheaper.

      • by interval1066 ( 668936 ) on Friday October 28, 2011 @04:10PM (#37873132) Homepage Journal
        "The reaction of every government throughout history to radical or violent external threats, real or perceved, has been to prey upon its own people. Always."
    • > "Take the train you unpatriotic, small-dicked paranoid liberal!"

      Opposition to TSA isn't just a liberal thing.

      • by Baloroth ( 2370816 ) on Friday October 28, 2011 @04:06PM (#37873092)

        Not by a long shot. In fact, I don't know a single person who doesn't despise them, and I am a conservative. Come to think of it, I don't remember ever seeing anyone on the Internet saying anything but negatives about the TSA.

        Why the hell it still exists is a mystery to me.

    • by jandrese ( 485 ) <> on Friday October 28, 2011 @04:25PM (#37873324) Homepage Journal
      You won't be laughing when a terrorist hijacks a train and crashes it into the White House.

      Or smashes a Ferry into Mt. Rushmore.
      • by dgatwood ( 11270 )

        I'm suddenly envisioning a terrorist spending millions of dollars and enduring decades of political hearings to get permission to lay a rail line leading up to the White House, and the government being dumb enough to let them.

        It would be funny if it weren't so damn plausible.

  • by fredrated ( 639554 ) on Friday October 28, 2011 @03:26PM (#37872512) Journal

    We have become consumed by the fear of a mosquito bite, are we going to continue to give up our freedom for what amounts to a non-issue?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Yes. Those otherwise-unemployable troops overseas have to do something for a living when they come home, right? You don't want angry goons with PTSD, who had to watch their buddies be turned into hamburger for oil and big business, having too much idle time on their hands being unable to care for their families. Better to continue to pay 'em to take their primitive aggression out on those pinko peaceniks and marijuana joints.

      The irony is that the DHS labelled that same demographic a potential terrorist
      • by dkleinsc ( 563838 ) on Friday October 28, 2011 @04:50PM (#37873638) Homepage

        It should be noted that that part of thing isn't going to plan: A number of returning US Marines have volunteered to help protect Occupy protesters from the police.

      • by demonlapin ( 527802 ) on Friday October 28, 2011 @05:18PM (#37874036) Homepage Journal
        I'm guessing you know very few former military personnel. Not a lot of cop types in the bunch.

        Personal theory follows, ignore, comment, whatever. This is just a musing on general trends.
        I've known a handful of cops. Their reasons for becoming one are varied, but the one constant is a rules-based view of the world. There are rules, and if you break the rules, you must be punished. The soldiers I've known tend to be more focused on harm: if you broke the rules, but nobody got hurt, then let it slide; conversely, if you followed the letter of the law but ended up fucking people over, they'd as soon kill you as look at you.

        Cops can't really be any other way, because we can't let law enforcement be completely whimsical and subjective. But I know which group of people I'd rather hang out with.
    • It's for the children. And by that I mean it's for the purpose of groping and taking naked pictures of the children.

    • by tiberus ( 258517 )

      I don't feel any safer, I just feel completely annoyed. Annoyed that just because the Blue Angels are in the air, I can't be processed through security; annoyed that the TSA agent telling me to take my ID out of my wallet ("I forgot, ever forget? Happened to me" ~Ron White) can't say please, or at least not have an attitude, not slouch etc.; annoyed that security gates are too often, although not always, understaffed for the amount of traffic passing through them. Honestly I think I felt safer when you co

  • And? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by revscat ( 35618 ) on Friday October 28, 2011 @03:28PM (#37872540) Journal

    Look, honestly, what are you going to do about it? Complaining doesn't matter. The TSA will be here forever, and, as much as we hate to admit it, there is nothing that can be done about it. There is too much money involved, and contractors have vast amounts of power, much more so than any collection of outraged stories and messages on the internet does.

    Seriously, I hope the TSA is abolished tomorrow, or hell even five years from now. But honestly without fundamental, almost revolutionary changes to the way the US government works this simply will not happen. Money talks, national security lobbyists have TONS of money, and that's pretty much the end of it.

    • Re:And? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 28, 2011 @03:31PM (#37872590)

      easy answer: refuse the search. need as many people as possible bringing this to court as possible.

      • Re:And? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by interval1066 ( 668936 ) on Friday October 28, 2011 @04:14PM (#37873182) Homepage Journal
        I, in spirit, agree with this. If enough people stand up to this kind of bullying, congress will have no choice but to deal with it. As a practicality however the people who will have the greatest effect, the VOTING public, will need to see abuses repeatedly, for quite a while, before they react. And this has nothing to do with people being asleep; this is beucase people are busy. Its kind of hard to stand up to an illegal, immoral, act by your government when you have a meeting to get to. But I beileve enough of this nonsense and it will happen.
    • by khasim ( 1285 ) <> on Friday October 28, 2011 @03:53PM (#37872930)

      Write PAPER letters to your state and national Representatives and Senators (and mayors and governors). Tell them that you want them to OPPOSE this.

      Get your friends to write the same kind of PAPER letters to the same people.

      If the politicians do not fight this on your behalf, then replace them in the next election cycle.

      Get educated. Get motivated. Get involved.
      A cynic who stays at home will never change anything.

      • by dkleinsc ( 563838 ) on Friday October 28, 2011 @04:55PM (#37873712) Homepage

        Write PAPER letters to your state and national Representatives and Senators (and mayors and governors). Tell them that you want them to OPPOSE this.

        That's not going to work, unless your paper letters include large campaign checks. That's the problem: Your elected representatives don't give a damn what you think, because they know that the opposing party's candidate won't attack them for supporting counter-terrorism efforts.

        If you really want to do something, find your local Occupy protest and see what kind of help they need to make it through the winter.

        • If you really want to do something, find your local Occupy protest and see what kind of help they need to make it through the winter.

          Why not do BOTH?

          How much does some stationery, envelopes and stamps cost? In time and in money?

          The thing is that a PAPER letter has a LOT more weight with elected officials because of what it represents. And it represents someone who is willing to GET OFF HIS ASS and get involved. And that kind of person influences his friends. That is something that you cannot buy.

          The same wi

  • Illegal Search (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Matt.Battey ( 1741550 ) on Friday October 28, 2011 @03:28PM (#37872544)

    Every TSA pat-down, especially those outside an air terminal, are illegal searches. There is no probable cause for agents of the government to initiate a search, even in air terminals, hence is a violation of 4th Amendment Rights. Every time Pistole is questioned about this by Congress, he insists that Air Travelers (and all travelers, by VIPR assumptions) are guilty until proven innocent, and that American children are all bomb carrying agents of Terrorism, because terrorists have used children and women in other parts of the world.

    • Re:Illegal Search (Score:5, Interesting)

      by stewbee ( 1019450 ) on Friday October 28, 2011 @03:43PM (#37872762)
      Two weeks ago was the first time that I flew in several 2 years. I fortunately was spared being patted down or going through the whole body scanner. However, this time they did something that I had never seen before, and that was that they randomly checked people's boarding pass as they were getting on the plane. All I could think to myself was 'WTF?'. Was not the circus that I just went through enough for me to get on the plane? I was pissed off.

      The TSA just needs to go away. I am a firm believer that it has outlived its usefulness and now is just a money sink for federal taxes. Not to mention the fact that their entire existence is just Washington wiping their ass's with the Constitution and Bill of Rights.

      An attack like 9/11 will not occur again, plain and simple. The people on the airplane will do what they can to keep some random jack asses from doing anything stupid that would keep them from landing safely since the passengers now know that death is a possibility for them if they allow the hijacker/terrorist to have control of the airplane or execute their plans.
    • Every TSA pat-down, especially those outside an air terminal, are illegal searches.

      Yes. Unfortunately, and I need to search this, but I think whenever this is mentioned to the court they come back with some argument about the interests of the public are larger then any individual and his/her Bill of Rights guarantee. Which is an, in my opinion, subtle, and astonishing, erosion of those guarantees. How any American can look at that statement and not weep for the country is beyond me.

  • by decipher_saint ( 72686 ) on Friday October 28, 2011 @03:30PM (#37872568)

    "Now they got the whole country sectioned off, you can't make a move without a form."
    ~Harry Tuttle, Brazil

  • by Gorkamecha ( 948294 ) on Friday October 28, 2011 @03:32PM (#37872610)
    How is this possibly of any use to anyone. Hey, TSA! I have this rock that keeps me safe from terrorist. To date, it's be 100% effective at protecting me and everyone else I interact with from terrorism. It's also had zero false positives! I'll be happy to sell you my rock at the bargain price of 250 Million dollars. For another 50 million, my rock will also protect you from vampires, space aliens and Bears (The football team, not the animal.)
  • by raydobbs ( 99133 ) on Friday October 28, 2011 @03:34PM (#37872630) Homepage Journal

    As long as we, the people, are not heard in regards to our wishes - this kind of thing will continue. I, for one, have stopped flying because of the security theater; and I will not be forced to drive or walk to avoid being sexually assaulted in my own country - and PAY for the privileged of being mistreated.

  • by Genda ( 560240 ) <> on Friday October 28, 2011 @03:35PM (#37872648) Journal

    The first nuke, that get's detonated on U.S. soil is far more likely to get here by UPS or FedX than missile, the TSA should start groping delivery guys in shorts and leave the rest of us the hell alone.

    FedX, when it absolutely, positively has to blow up there over night.

  • Ron Paul 2012! (Score:4, Informative)

    by mnewcomb ( 1042270 ) on Friday October 28, 2011 @03:35PM (#37872656)

    He is the only candidate that is against this sh*t...

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by rotide ( 1015173 )
      I hate to admit it, but his crazy ideas start looking a little less crazy every day. I do respect him for sticking to his ideals but he takes a sledge hammer to things that really need a little more precision.
      • Re:Ron Paul 2012! (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Jah-Wren Ryel ( 80510 ) on Friday October 28, 2011 @05:04PM (#37873868)

        I hate to admit it, but his crazy ideas start looking a little less crazy every day. I do respect him for sticking to his ideals but he takes a sledge hammer to things that really need a little more precision.

        My impression is that he is well aware that he will not be elected president or even vice-president. Given that reality, when he runs for president what he is really doing is using the race as a way to inform the public about libertarianism in the hope that some of it will make its way into the general american consensus. If he were to take less of an absolutist position all it would do is dilute the end result even further.

        As support for this belief consider his position on the Federal Reserve - that it should be abolished. He's now the chair of the Federal Reserve Oversight Committee and yet he hasn't killed the Federal Reserve because he realizes that doing so would be impractical, if not impossible, at this point in time. However he has been trying to reel it in, proposing bills to publicly audit it and make it more accountable - which sounds like the kind of precision versus sledge-hammer approach you are advocating.

        • This time Ron Paul is in it to win it. Last time sure, Ron Paul was standing on his ideals and trying to bring the conversation to things that matter. This time he isn't running for re-election in congress. He's all in.

          As to abolishing the Fed, the congressional oversight can't even get a full audit. Not even in private documents not to be shared with the public. Hard to have oversight when you don't even have the facts. He isn't for just killing the Fed, he has stated it should be first be curtailed back,

  • I wish they would... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by the_fat_kid ( 1094399 ) on Friday October 28, 2011 @03:38PM (#37872706)

    ..try to search me before I get off the train.
    If I refuse? are they going to prevent me from getting off the train?
    isn't that kidnapping? I mean they can search me before I get on with the threat that if I'm not searched, I can't board, but can they really keep me from getting off at a domestic stop?
    If they touch me with out my permission isn't that assault?
    I know that my response to it will be classified as assault.
    It's bad enough that they have made air travel unbearable, do we need to let them mess up this too?
    I'm sure that it will help create jobs by discouraging americans from traveling at all.

  • The Drumhead (Score:4, Insightful)

    by tekrat ( 242117 ) on Friday October 28, 2011 @03:39PM (#37872732) Homepage Journal

    You know, there are some words I've known since I was a schoolboy: "With the first link, the chain is forged. The first speech censured, the first thought forbidden, the first freedom denied, chains us all irrevocably." Those words were uttered by Judge Aaron Satie, as wisdom and warning. The first time any man's freedom is trodden on, we're all damaged.

  • That's it. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Saint Aardvark ( 159009 ) on Friday October 28, 2011 @03:40PM (#37872740) Homepage Journal

    I'm a Canadian sysadmin. I love -- LOVE -- the LISA conference ( []). It's wonderful, informative, and fun; I've made great friends there, learned an incredible amount and generally enjoyed myself enormously.

    Last year was the third time I went. The conference was in San Jose. I took a bus and a train -- which took over 24 hours -- from Vancouver to San Jose, rather than fly and go through a naked body scanner. I figured if I'm going to talk the talk, I should walk the walk.

    I'd already decided to skip this year's conference; it's in Boston, which is a long way to go by train or bus. I didn't want to be away from my family for that long. But I had been thinking about going next year, when it's going to be in San Diego.

    I'm not going now. Not if this crap keeps up. I'll watch the video on my workstation, I'll listen to the MP3s on the bus, and I'll stay here in Canada. We have problems of our own -- but random searches and "papers, please" for the crime of taking the goddamned train are not one of them.

    I'll miss y'all.

    • That's nothing: I took the train from Cleveland to San Diego (2.5 days) for much the same reason. I had the time and the money to stand up for civil liberties, so I decided to walk the walk.

      The next step, of course, is to set up similar random checkpoints on highways to try to prevent people from getting around the searches by driving themselves. And then to set up checkpoints on smaller roads because the terrorists could use them to get around the highway checkpoints. Yes, I realize it's a slippery slope a

  • Avoiding the USA (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 28, 2011 @03:45PM (#37872800)

    Is it any wonder why many people simply avoid the USA? I know I avoid it whenever I travel. I go so far as to pay extra to stayover within Canada rather than Newark when I travel to the Caribbean. I lay over in Toronto not Newark because I know I'll have way fewer issues. I know there is a TSA in Canada but as my flight will not enter into the USA, it's so much simpler to deal with rather than on a flight that terminates in the USA. Whole different set of rules it seems.

    Keep up this Neo-Nazi crazy shit guys! You're only killing your tourism industry.

    • by wsxyz ( 543068 )

      You're only killing your tourism industry.

      Hey, some people pay good money for that kind of holiday.

  • by kwiqsilver ( 585008 ) on Friday October 28, 2011 @04:01PM (#37873038)
    I drive on the freeways armed, as I'm sure many people in TN do. I ride the WA state ferries armed. (I did notice the ferries mentioned in TFA were both interstate transit). But what would they do if I set off their metal detectors? Or if they find guns on a traveler in TN? It's perfectly legal to carry guns in most of the USA.
    Also, for trains and ferries, they could refuse to let someone who ignores them board, but what if you refuse a search on the freeway? I used to drive through the border patrol checkpoints in AZ and CA (but not on the border) dozens of times per year. They'd ask if I was a citizen, I'd ask if they had a warrant to compel that information. They'd tell me to answer the question. I'd ask if I was being detained. And after a minute of back and forth, they'd tell me to go. They had no authority to compel me to answer, and they knew it. The TSA should be in the same situation. Without a warrant, they shouldn't be able to do anything but request to question or search a person or vehicle.
    I guess one benefit of all of this is that being so blatant about their invasive searches will push popular opinion over the tipping point, and Ron Paul won't be alone calling for the TSA's dissolution in Congress.
  • by phoenix182 ( 1157517 ) on Friday October 28, 2011 @04:51PM (#37873650)
    This will ONLY stop when a large number of people begin physically assaulting TSA agents and seriously injuring them. ONLY pain is instructive with these types of people. When the agents are fearful for their lives they will refuse to do what is asked. In a short time, it will stop. There has NEVER been a voluntary surrendering of power/control, and there never will be. Only force counters force.

God made the integers; all else is the work of Man. -- Kronecker