Saturday, February 26, 2011

Screening of Passengers at Savannah Amtrak Station

A video of Transportation Security Officers (TSOs) screening passengers at a Savannah, Georgia Amtrak station has been gaining quite a bit of attention and many are wondering why we were screening passengers who had just disembarked from a train.

We were wondering the same thing.

The screening shown in the video was done in conjunction with a VIPR operation. During VIPR operations, any person entering the impacted area has to be screened. In this case, the Amtrak station was the subject of the VIPR operation so people entering the station were being screened for items on the Amtrak prohibited items list as seen in the video.

It should be noted that disembarking passengers did not need to enter the station to claim luggage or get to their car.

Signs such as the one shown here are posted at the entrance to the impacted area. 

TSA SignageHowever, after looking into it further, we learned that this particular VIPR operation should have ended by the time these folks were coming through the station since no more trains were leaving the station. We apologize for any inconvenience we may have caused for those passengers.

So by now, you're probably wondering what a VIPR is? Is it a type of snake that we misspelled? A really cool car... Nope. It's a team that's made up of Federal Air Marshals, Surface Transportation Security Inspectors, Transportation Security Officers, Behavior Detection Officers and Explosive Detection Canine teams. The teams provide a random high-visibility surge into a transit system and work with state and local security, and law enforcement officials to expand the unpredictability of security measures to detect, deter, disrupt or defeat potential criminal and/or terrorist operations.

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team


If you’d like to comment on an unrelated topic you can do so in our Off Topic Comments post. You can also view our blog post archives or search our blog to find a related topic to comment in. If you have a travel related issue or question that needs an immediate answer, you can contact a Customer Support Manager at the airport you traveled, or will be traveling through by using Talk to TSA.



176 comments:

Anonymous said...

The TSA is a group of inept government bureaucrats that spend their time harassing law abiding taxpaying Americans. Obviously the TSA has too many employees sitting idle so they have to find additional ways to harass average Americans.

Anonymous said...

Did you read the original account ?

I'll refresh your memory:
"The only bad thing on our trip was TSA was at the Savannah train station. There were about 14 agents pulling people inside the building and coralling everyone in a roped area AFTER you got OFF THE TRAIN!".

So people did not "need" to enter the station, but your agents apparently forced ("pulled") them to.

We are familiar with your self-serving explanations[sic] of these foolish incidents, but this is even more vacuous than usual. C'mon, who's lying about what really happened ? I know who I believe.

Anonymous said...

Yet another reason TSA should be abolished.

Anonymous said...

What is VIPR?
1. Another unconstitutional attack on the freedom.
2. More security theater.

RB said...

VIPR or just more TSA Snakes in the Grass?

Ari said...

Instead of apologizing for "any inconvenience we may have caused" how about apologizing for "the inconvenience we caused"-- or do you think that some of the unnecessarily-screened passengers getting off the train were *not* inconvenienced by this delay?

Michael said...

So TSA mistakenly dug through passengers bags told them to remove their outer clothing and shoes, and frisked their children?

Wimpie said...

"So by now, you're probably wondering what a VIPR is? Is it a type of snake that we misspelled?"

No it's a whole bunch of federal snakes out to hassle people, without any regard for effectiveness, which you have misspelled!

With 10's of millions of passengers transiting thousands and thousands of stations per day, this is an exercise in futility, and we - the taxpayer - are paying for it.

Screening 1 out of million is a WASTE OF TIME AND MONEY. But vipers are snakes and will bite anything.

JUST SAY NO!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for addressing something that actually needed to be addressed.

However, this was a bit more than an inconvenience to those passengers.

Twitter posts from those forced to undergo this VIPR operation posted items like this:

"#Brian Gamble @Jeff Pierce - Yes. Myself as well as all those people in the video were told by TSA to go inside the train station when we all got OFF the train to "get our luggage". They then grabbed everyone and coralled them and wouldn't let you leave until after the search and scan. Our luggage was never inside. It was left outside unsecured by the train. I am all for security but do it BEFORE we get on the train. This was just a shake down! Gave me a bad taste for TSA. I was appalled."

It is great you, on behalf of the TSA, is apologizing for this incident and admitting it shouldn't have occured.

However, there are even more questions remaining - why was the luggage left unsecured? Why were these passengers told they had to undergo screening and that their luggage was inside?

The post and apology is a start; I really hope, however, that someone is doing a far better investigation into this situation, including verifying whether or not the passengers were lied to or coerced into this screening, and whether this is an effective use of our tax dollars/manpower. Shaking down those who are footing the bill via taxes and transportation fees is not an effective use of TSA/DHS and everyone else included in these little drills. And it's certainly not protective of the citizens' 4th Amendment rights to be secure in their person and possessions.

But this post is a start, at least.

Anonymous said...

TSA, please take note of the Fourth Amendment:

"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

You are in violation.

Ryan Stavely said...

God forbid someone have to go into the station and go through all this crap to use the restroom after alighting from a train.

Anonymous said...

"It should be noted that disembarking passengers did not need to enter the station to claim luggage or get to their car."

-----------------------------------
"Brian Gamble @Jeff Pierce - Yes. Myself as well as all those people in the video were told by TSA to go inside the train station when we all got OFF the train to "get our luggage". They then grabbed everyone and coralled them and wouldnt let you leave until after the search and scan. Our luggage was never inside. It was left outsid...e unsecured by the train. I am all for security but do it BEFORE we get on the train. This was just a shake down! Gave me a bad taste for TSA. I was appalled."

---------------------------------

Bob,
Did TSA instruct the passengers to go into the station?

Kelly said...

Soooo . . . VIPR is the Broadway of Security Theater?

Anonymous said...

Serious question here Bob:

What would happen if your clerks tried to search my 9 year-old son in this fashion and I told them to go pound sand?

Would we be detained? Would the clerks call an LEO? Would we be threatened with an $11k fine?

They would not have the old fall-back response "do you want to fly today?" so I am interested to hear what the reaction would be to a person who refused to be touched by the clerks in this situation.

Anonymous said...

I'm blond, so I'm a little confused here.

You sent a group with a name resembling a poisonous animal to allegedly protect the people by forcing them to remove their shoes, rummaging through their luggage and rubbing them up when they are leaving a train station???

I would run from this operation like my life depended on it! What would you do? Arrest me for leaving a train station without being screened?

Mark said...

What law or regulation controls the establishment and operation of a "direct access point"? Is everyone required to comply with the TSA's request for a search, or can they refuse and still continue their travels? What are the penalties for noncompliance?

Anonymous said...

But if you want to avoid the nude scans, just don't fly!

Yeah, right. Please stop pretending you're not moving in on other forms of transit.

Garl said...

Dear Blogger Bob,

Two requests, if I may:

1. Please do not apologise for the T.S.A.'s work. Presuming your agency's activities are truly "justified," no apology is necessary. If not, no apology is sufficient. At any rate, it rings hollow.

2. Please refrain from any attempts at humour. They have no place on an official site. According to the T.S.A., the acronym "VIPR" stands for "Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response." [Once defined, you may wish to offer more information concerning its basic function.]

Thank you very much.

Anonymous said...

I was one of the passengers on this Amtrak Savannah trip and directly involved in the video that has been posted on You Tube. Just to clarify we were advised by Amtrak personnel to go into the impact area to collect our luggage. There were no signs posted on the doors to the impact area advising us that we would be searched. Please don't act as if this was just simple misunderstanding.... it was completely pointless!

Anonymous said...

1. Is the VIPR methodology based on the flawed SPOT program?

2. So the organization that "we" entrust to protect the traveling public doesn't even know if people are entering the station or exiting the station? Does competence have any place in the TSA? Amazing.

Anonymous said...

Roaming bands of government employees can deny rights and protection of law to citizens with impunity. Are they following the "Because I Said So" law?

They should all be terminated from federal employment.

Would that be denying them due process? Is due process only for federal employees?

Anonymous said...

Viper offensive term: an offensive term for somebody who is considered to be malicious, treacherous...

Aptly named.

Anonymous said...

So, Bob, you admit that the VIPR sting (or is it 'bite'?) should have ended already since "no more trains were leaving the station". This means the VIPR Op is meant to stop people from bringing stuff they shouldn't onto the train. Okay.

1) As you said, there were no more trains leaving, so why was the Op continuing? Can't the TSA tell time?!?! I mean, you're supposed to keep us safe from terrorists, but a whole team of you can't read a train schedule correctly???

2) If the idea is to stop people from getting ON the train with forbidden items, why were people getting OFF the train targeted??

3) If it is possible, as you claim, for arriving pax to get their luggage and get to their car without entering the station where the Op was, then wouldn't it be equally possible for a departing pax to get from their car to the train without entering the building, and thus without getting searched??

4) Why are Federal AIR Marshals working at a TRAIN station??

5) Doesn't this just show that "If you don't like the TSA, take the train instead" is so much malarkey? You're at the train stations now. Soon, you'll be at the bus stations. And then the subways. And finally on the street corners, asking us for our Papieren, Bitte.

moribund said...

Resistance, refusal, and lawsuits. Resistance, refusal and lawsuits. Repeat as needed.

Anonymous said...

What I find interesting is the post-train trip search: it is actually unenforceable. The TSA needs your approval to search you and you can just say no. East Ohio Federal Court Judge Marbley stated in US v. Fofana that “Therefore, an airport security search is reasonable if: (1) the search is “no more extensive or intensive than necessary, in light of current technology, to detect the presence of weapons or explosives;” (2) the search “is confined in good faith to that purpose;” and (3) a potential passenger may avoid the search by choosing not to fly.” And furthermore, “In other words, the need for heightened security does not render every conceivable checkpoint search procedure constitutionally reasonable.” And “Warrantless and suspicionless airport screening searches are administrative searches and, therefore, exempt from the warrant requirement and constitutionally permissible if they are reasonable .2 See., e.g., United States v. Dalpiaz, 494 F.2d 374, 375 (6th Cir. 1974); Aukai, 497 F.3d at 958; United States v. Hartwell, 436 F.3d 174, 178 (3d Cir. 2006). This is so because they are conducted as part of a general regulatory scheme to prevent passengers from carrying weapons or explosives onto airplanes.” Note the word “ONTO”. Replace the word airplane with train and presto-chango, these post-trip searches are not administrative in nature and therefore require a warrant. JUST SAY NO.

Anonymous said...

If, as you say, TSA goofed by continuing the operation after trains were no longer leaving or if TSA did not intend for departing passengers to be screened but did so anyway, then this is another example of TSA's bureacratic incompetence.

Anonymous said...

We all know what VIPERS are, they are deadly, poisonous snakes who's only purpose is to KILL. In this case, the VIPR is so far, only designed to KILL the Bill of Rights, specifically the 4th Amendment.

When will you spokesbloggers admit that the agency that you are working for is Un-American and a danger to our most precious freedoms?

In my opinion, if you and your cohorts are successful in brainwashing the next generation into believing that they should allow the government to search them, anytime, anywhere for any reason, you are committing TREASON against the Bill of Rights.

Anonymous said...

Hey Baghdad Bob,

Do I need to fear posting on your blog?

What do you folks *actually* do with the IP addresses of your readers and commenters?

What would a FOIA turn up?

How often are TSA blog commenters disappeared, or renditioned?

Ridiculous as I sound, well, that's my view of the TSA today.

Anonymous said...

"We apologize for any inconvenience we may have caused for those passengers."

This is typical business-speak that means anything ~but~ an apology.

I you really regret what happened, say it like you mean it. Own up to it. Fix it so that it doesn't happen again.

Until then you are all just snakes in need of a head chopping.

Anonymous said...

Read the comments, TSA. After the courts find your actions without constitutional backing, and in fact criminal, you will get no sympathy from the public you harassed.

Anonymous said...

I think you are sorry you got caught. It's not like some rogue agent decided to this on a whim. This was obviously planned, approved and scheduled.

Anonymous said...

Bob,

If the former passengers had notice of the searches and didn't have to enter the "secure" area for any reason other than to voluntarily get searched, how could this VIPR thing possibly increase security?

Anonymous said...

From the Amtrak site in the post:

"The following kinds of items are prohibited as both checked and carry-on baggage:
...
Fragile and/or valuable items (including but not limited to electronic equipment)."

Did VIPR collect all the passengers cameras, computers, cell phones? Or did they not collect prohibited items?

Alex Sterling said...

"The teams provide a random high-visibility surge into a transit system and work with state and local security, and law enforcement officials to expand the unpredictability of security measures to detect, deter, disrupt or defeat potential criminal and/or terrorist operations."

Why does it need to be "high-visibility"? If the intention is to actually make something secure, rather than just making a spectacle, wouldn't it be more effective if it were low-visibility? If something is high-visibility, wouldn't that be more likely to tip off any evil-doers?

Anonymous said...

International embarrassment. Osama is smiling tonight in victory Bob.

Anonymous said...

What a joke. I am working on formal letters to my Congresswoman and Senators that condemn and excoriate the TSA's conduct. I reject the TSA's apology in this blog post, and will do everything I can to hasten the dissolution of this organization that is nothing less than an embarrassment to the integrity of the United States. I am ashamed that the TSA is a part of my America.

Anonymous said...

Oh, I see... it was just a VIPR team. Please, Bob, rest assured: I'm not at all creeped out that the federal government fields a "security" force whose only apparent purpose is to be "visible."

You guys really have absolutely no idea of what you are doing, do you?

avxo said...

Can you please provide us with references to statutes authorizing the TSA to perform such functions and to engage in this type of activity outside of airports?

Spokker said...

The problem is that this makes it seem like pat downs and bag checks are appropriate before getting on a train.

We were told that when high speed rail comes, we could avoid the pat downs at the airport and take the train instead. But if pat downs are already happening on Amtrak, how can we expect airport-style security not to come to high speed rail?

Take a look at how they do it in Germany. They've gotten threats but they have yet to pat down riders before they get on a train. They do not even want to see your bag. There's an ID requirement, but riders report that they were never asked for ID anyway. Someone I know reports leaving a dufflebag on a German train platform accidentally. They didn't close down the whole station, they simply took it to lost and found.

What are they doing that we could learn from? A security presence is desire, as well as intelligence working in the background, but to touch us before or after we travel is unforgivable.

It will only hurt train ridership.

Anonymous said...

Bob

Post the names addresses and badge numbers of the officers who ordered this farce, then we will make thier place of residence a controlled area, after posting gibberish notices on the front door. At that point we will simply search him every time he goes in or out. It's for everyones safety. after al if we don't comletely do away with all constitutional rights the terrorists will win.

Anonymous said...

Fire the TSA!

Anonymous said...

Once again we have TSA agents demonstrating that they have absolutely no idea how to do their job and that they have absolutely no regard for their responsibility to abide by constitutional constraints placed upon civil servants.

Once again we have the TSA engaging in dishonest propaganda in an attempt to substitute a disingenuous apology for actually operating in an effective and correct manner.

Oh, what the heck. Thank you TSA for stopping mothers from sneaking guns off of trains in the crotches of their little sons. Now if you could just figure out a way to stop actual grown-ups taking actual guns onto planes you could actually hold your heads up.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous wrote:

...5) Doesn't this just show that "If you don't like the TSA, take the train instead" is so much malarkey? You're at the train stations now. Soon, you'll be at the bus stations. And then the subways. And finally on the street corners, asking us for our Papieren, Bitte.


TSA has already made its show of force at bus stations. Just search for TSA Tampa Greyhound. TSA is already at LOCAL bus stations and LOCAL bus stops! I saw this for myself at Broad and High here in Columbus, Ohio and it has been in the media elsewhere for a couple years, now. TSA conducts these freakin' operations at Metro stations (DC, Boston come to mind) and they even have the local police FOLLOW those who refuse the search and decline to ride!

The TSA is everywhere. Frankly, I'm waiting for a WBI machine to appear outside my front door and a TSA employee screaming at me as I try to leave, as I'm sure this organization will call my walking to work "transportation".

JM in San Diego said...

Nobody who works for the TSA (or expends any energy defending it) is worthy of my consideration. I condemn every one of them for their intrusive searches.

Ayn R. Key said...

So ... in other words ... you admit the TSA did it?

Anonymous said...

I still don't see the point of screening people after they leave the train? Is the TSA trying to create a secure area that has nothing to do with transit. Sounds like a bit of security theater here...

Anonymous said...

Ha ha land of the free. Whatever !

Anonymous said...

I am with Moribund on this. Every single person needs to refuse, refuse refuse. These unconstitutional attempts to erode our essential liberties will not go away if they are uncontested.

Does anyone really want to raise children in a country where the government thinks they have to right to grope your child anytime they decide to go somewhere?

This is the TSA clearly demonstrating their desire to spread to ALL forms of travel.

RB said...

TSA says they are sorry for any inconvenience they might have caused but not one word on correcting the problem or any mention of discipline for the TSA employees who abused these travelers.

Not one word!

Anonymous said...

America has become what it has always feared. I sure won't be vacationing in the U.S.S.A One is more free and safer in the old Eastern block countries. Oh the irony.......

Anonymous said...

This is really just intimidation. The TSA is totally out of control. You should be deeply and horribly ashamed.

Anonymous said...

Aside from your back-handed apology, Bob, I'm very interested to hear what steps have been taken to ensure that this will never happen again. Do tell.

Anonymous said...

Why are you not responding to the comments that are bringing up serious allegations? Are you afraid? Or hiding something?

SSSS for some reason said...

I'm confused, which I admit is my normal state, but I thought the mission of the TSA was to stop *Terrorists* from doing harm to the US and its peoples.

Exactly when did you become part of Law Enforcement and add *Criminal Activities Prevention* to your list of responsibilities?

Or have you somehow determined that people carrying "Oversized and/or overweight items" from the train may be heading to the airport next?

And yes, Oversized and/or overweight items is one of the prohibited/controlled items Amtrak lists on their website.

Anonymous said...

The anon who mentioned writing to their congressperson has the right idea. After you've had your venting on the blog, make sure you write your national and state representatives and senators!

Let them know the public isn't willing to give into fear.

Anonymous said...

What a colossal waste of time, money and public good will.

The backlash is only beginning against this agency.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said:
"Bob,
Did TSA instruct the passengers to go into the station?"

This could very well be kidnapping or at least unlawful detention.

Danger Boy said...

We, the People, are tired of the mission creep, TSA. I adore my freedoms and yours. I served time in the military. Please, for the love of all who have ever paid blood or sweat for this great nation, stop trampling on our 4th Amendment rights.

Anonymous said...

Bob said:
"We apologize for any inconvenience we may have caused for those passengers."

Really? How about apologizing for unlawfully detaining them and unlawfully searching them? I hope a very large civil lawsuit results.

Anonymous said...

Spokker said:
"What are they doing that we could learn from? A security presence is desire, as well as intelligence working in the background, but to touch us before or after we travel is unforgivable.

It will only hurt train ridership."

Yes, but it will undoubtedly fulfill it's primary purpose: Increasing employment at the TSA.

Anonymous said...

The TSA says "We apologize for any inconvenience we may have caused for those passengers."
No...the apology IS NOT ACCEPTED.
Though I was not one of the "those passengers," I cannot accept the shallow "apology."
We the people do not accept any kind of invasion of our privacy, groping, violations of our rights, et. al. by CRIMINALS in any way shape or form.
The only thing that will be accepted is FULL DISBANDING of your GANG agency.

If you are offended, please accept my apology.

Anonymous said...

And we're paying someone to run this operation? Probably making a six figure income no doubt. Why? Isn't common sense a prerequisite? If not, it should be......

Anonymous said...

"high-visibility surge" you mean like a fishing expidition? You're just fishing around really aren't you?

Imagine a world with 'surges' all over the place, checkpoints everywhere and hardly any crime as a result. Would you want to live in that world? With the smell of fear everywhere?

I tell you what surges like this do - they worry people. And that's about all they do.

Seeing VIPR at work is scary. It's like some sort of sci-fi movie of a police state.

But what is scarier still is that the guys running it seem completely oblivious of this fact.

Anonymous said...

I'm wondering who is a greater threat to our freedoms, al-Qaeda or TSA? Al-Qaeda may kill a number of us, but they can't take away our freedom. DHS and the TSA are doing a pretty good job of that, though.

Tundra Kat said...

Amtrak already has US Marshals boarding the train at different points and checking passengers' tickets.

The VIPR scam was just to field test how to roll out airport security harassment in train stations.

avxo said...

From where, exactly, does the TSA derive statutory authority to run such operations? Also, from where does it derive statutory authority to operate outside of the checkpoint?

gblatham said...

B.B.:

I agree with one of the recent anonymous posters, who asked for an explanation why there hasn't been a response from your agency concerning the very real, justifiable and disturbing questions which have been raised.

The more I learn of this event, the more disappointed, disheartened, discouraged and disgusted I become. [Those are MY four "D"s, by the way. Like 'em?]

Anonymous said...

I have one question. Why is it that people fail to realize that the agency is called the Transportation Security Administration. Hence why they could be at an amtrak and be fully in their line of work.

Now im not a real big fan of what they are doing, but please use your brains and realise that if you see them in train stations, out on roads, at bus terminals, etc.. they are actually working in there own area. they are not just located in teh airports.

Anonymous said...

So let me try to understand the warped reasoning behind the use of "VIPR" teams. Let's assume for the moment that there is a legitimate danger of a suicide bomber attacking commuter railroads. What I don't understand is how the use of VIPR teams in any sense mitigates this risk. Do you think that one of your VIPR teams will randomly stumble upon someone who is planning an attack? If so, wouldn't that person then just detonate themselves at the checkpoint? Is this a significantly better outcome than the same person detonating themselves on a train? Maybe. In either case it is a moot point, as the odds of one of these teams randomly stumbling on such an attacker are miniscule.

Or perhaps you think that these "highly visible" operations will act as a deterrent to those who might be planning an attack. Is the idea that a would-be bomber sees the VIPR team and thinks "Aha! Train stations are so well secured by this random, occasional sweep that it is inadvisable to attack them"? Again, what have you accomplished besides changing the location of an attack?

Or perhaps you think that by using VIPR teams you will somehow convince the hypothetical terrorism to give up his plans to attack civilians? That would be great, except for one little problem: it makes no sense. ZERO.

But thanks-- good to know that you guys have a sign that magically frees you from the Fourth Amendment.

Anonymous said...

I have one question. Why is it that people fail to realize that the agency is called the Transportation Security Administration.

------------------------------------

Walking is also a form of transportation.

I guess next thing we know they could be at your house and inspect you when you are transporting yourself out your front door.

Boycotting Amtrack now too said...

It's good to know that the TSA is now bringing the same high-quality security services we see at our airports to train and bus stations across the country. My fiancee and I had been planning to travel on Amtrack for our honeymoon. We will now make other plans.

Anonymous said...

Is the same system carried out in any of the following countries?
Burma.
Russia.
China.
Iran.
South Africa.
Australia.
New Zealand.
Libya.
Thailand.
Malaysia.
UK.
Ireland.
Which European countries?
Just want to know the countries that I can visit, wihout being subjected to fascist campaigns.
Thank you.

RB said...

http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/legislation/2011/HB0628.html

11-0798

03/04

HOUSE BILL 628-FN

AN ACT making the touching or viewing with a technological device of a person’s breasts or genitals by a government security agent without probable cause a sexual assault.

SPONSORS: Rep. Lambert, Hills 27; Rep. Manuse, Rock 5; Rep. L. Jones, Straf 1; Rep. Itse, Rock 9; Rep. Sapareto, Rock 5

COMMITTEE: Children and Family Law

ANALYSIS

This bill makes the touching or viewing with a technological device of a person’s breasts or genitals by a government security agent without probable cause a sexual assault. This bill classifies persons convicted of the offense as tier III offenders under the criminal offenders registry.

.................
TSA, we have had enough!

Anonymous said...

After seeing the video of this incident on YouTube...there is no other word to describe the TSA but disgraceful. Every law abiding American should demand immediate change from our elected officials.

Wendy said...

"The teams provide a random high-visibility surge into a transit system and work with state and local security, and law enforcement officials to expand the unpredictability of security measures to detect, deter, disrupt or defeat potential criminal and/or terrorist operations."

Ummm, memo to TSA: you are precluded by case law to engage in using suspicionless searches for the purpose of detecting criminal operations. (You and everybody else). Ruled unconstitutional in Federal court. Anything you find in such a search may be subject to suppression in a court of law (that means unadmissable). You have known this since 2009 (when you lost a case). So please tell me exactly WHAT about this do you not get???

Anonymous said...

Hundreds of Thousands of brave Americans have died, so that we would never be subject to unconstitutional searches and arbitrary detention.
The TSA and DHS are an affront to their ultimate sacrifice for freedom.

The TSA is a national disgrace!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said:
"I have one question. Why is it that people fail to realize that the agency is called the Transportation Security Administration. "

Oh, ok. Now I that I understand the name, I'm happy to surrender my civil liberties. Thanks for explaining that; I had the name wrong and thought they actually were obliged to observe the Constitution.

My bad!

Carson said...

This is stupid, the records should be released on how many REAL terror threats have been swayed on the passenger trains in AMERICA. I understand that people get searched but getting off the train talk about the cart before the ox. The supervisor in this area should be charged with wasting tax payer money and many other small crimes...probably a former Mall cop who wants to feel important.. what a waste meanwhile the real terroroist were getting on the trains.....gotta get the quota in though

Paul said...

Why isn't Congress holding TSAs collective feet to the fire? Once again they do not follow their own written procedures. If they had a clue what they were doing they wouldn't be offering yet another apology and the rest of us wouldn't be airing our frustration in this forum. C'mon, TSA, learn how to LEAD or simply LEAVE!

Paul said...

When will Congess hold TSA's collective feet to the fire? Once again we are harrassed by a group of people who can't even follow their own written procedures. We've seen it too many times at the airports, and now the train stations. If they had a real clue what to look for and who to screen I wouldn't mind. Good grief, who's running that little kingdom anyway?

Anonymous said...

They got caught this one time, but I wonder how many times a week abuses like this one happen without being reported/recorded.

Anonymous said...

This blog and other information from TSA has indicated that this has been going on since 2004. Funny, I used to do my share of travelling since 9-11 and I remember seeing increased security like searching vehicles trunks etc. The problems I remember are searching old ladies in wheelchairs and personnel issues. I don't remember hearing about intrusive pat downs, full body scans and the like. And, I never saw or heard of someone being searched when getting off a train or an airplane unless they had to pass through Customs. I find it hard to believe that the same stuff went on in 2004 without notice and people have only started noticing or complaining in the last year or so.

Anonymous said...

I will send a letter to my congressman and I will boycott all forms of commercial travel where TSA has any association.

Anonymous said...

You know the kicker of all this - everytime I read one of these news articles it always qoutes the TSA as saying " We apologize for any inconvenience we may have caused for those passengers ".

How lame is that. Call it what it is TSA, you employ too many sexual deviantes who apparently need a jolly rush because I am not reading a bunch of articles concerning police officers, doctors or anyone else for that matter who perform "pat downs" the way TSA does.

Apologies lose their meaning when these news stories happen on a daily basis.

What a sad society our once proud country is turning into.

Anonymous said...

The obvious problem with this scenario is that the group that was searched consisted of firemen and policemen. These must be low risk "suspects" in the war on terror. The main problem with TSA is that it does not know whom to search and therefore searches veterans and public officials and honored citizens, treating all Americans like suspects. The Fourth Amendment was wisely intended to prevent "unreasonable" searches and seizures. TSA searching low risk target is totally unreasonable. Please get a clue before the law abiding public demands the termination of TSA entirely.

Mitchell said...

Is the next step pulling people out of their cars crossing public bridges and tunnels? This is getting WAY out of hand.

Anonymous said...

TSA is killing airplane travel and it will now nail the coffin of Amtrak. Maybe if you

1. Secured the borders
2. Hired people with a college education
3. Treated people with respect
4. Stopped lying to people

Maybe then this who search thing would work - until then TSA will continue to be a punchline.

AmericanSecurityTheater said...

So is there any form of transportation left in the US that I can use in the U.S. that does not require me to consent to intrusive pat-downs at random?

Trains were a viable alternative to the unreasonable security theater present at the airport. This fact even received a nod from the president in the most recent State of the Union address.

We were told with the scanners/pat downs: "Don't Like It? Don't Fly" what are we to give up if we don't like VIPR?

What modes of transportation does VIPR have/not-have authority to raid in this matter?

Anonymous said...

The TSA is living proof that the Terrosists won. It took them 20 men and a couple grand to turn the US into Paranoialand, where each year the TSA harasses, molests and robs hundreds of thousands of honest and hard working American's.

Good Job there "Bob". Bet your proud of the band of crooks in the sharp blue uniforms. The rest of the US...we hold you in contempt.

Just remember, all you power tripping little goons, you're not real cops. The real cops think your jokes too.

They at least catch criminals.

Lets look at this intelligently...something the TSA would never, ever do.

The train had arrived.
The passengers had disembarked.
The luggage was unloaded.
Both former passengers and luggage was outside.

What security is there in post-screening?

If the goal had been to hijack the train....it was too late.
If the goal had been to blow up the train....it was too late.
If the goal....well, the smart people get it.

The TSA? Nope. You "people" are pathetic.

Anonymous said...

What a disgusting example of just how these preventative measures degrade and undermine the very rights that make America so special. We are just fodder for their bureaucratic security theater, and if it's going to these extremes already- where does it stop?

The TSA officials are not professional, they are not highly trained, and they have no right to touch my body or my things simply because I am a consumer and a traveler.

We need to each stand up to in these situations and let them know that enough is enough. Do we stop when they molest our babies in their carriers to check to make sure moms aren't smuggling guns? This is traumatizing to children, and will hurt their psyches more in the long run than we can ever know.

wangdw said...

Who do people fear more nowadays? The terrorists or the TSA?

Anonymous said...

Blogger wangdw said...

Who do people fear more nowadays? The terrorists or the TSA?



The TSA. Hands Down.

Anonymous said...

Wendy said:
"Ummm, memo to TSA: you are precluded by case law to engage in using suspicionless searches for the purpose of detecting criminal operations. (You and everybody else). Ruled unconstitutional in Federal court. Anything you find in such a search may be subject to suppression in a court of law (that means unadmissable). You have known this since 2009 (when you lost a case). So please tell me exactly WHAT about this do you not get???"

Bob - Can you please respond to Wendy?

The purpose stated in the posting is obviously incorrect. Is this the result of inattentive blogging or did this come from the VIPR leadership?

When evidence of child pornography found at a TSA checkpoint was suppressed in court, you'd think that might make an impression concerning the admissibility of the evidence you allege the VIPR teams are after.

This deserves a response.

Anonymous said...

"The teams provide a random high-visibility surge into a transit system and work with state and local security, and law enforcement officials to expand the unpredictability of security measures to detect, deter, disrupt or defeat potential criminal and/or terrorist operations."

The teams provide a random high-visibility surge into a transit system and work with state and local security, and law enforcement officials to violate people's rights by searching them, while having no legal authority to do so.

This is how it should read, Mr. Bob.

Anonymous said...

@avox

law:
Public Law 110-53 (2007)
cost:
FY2012 budget for VIPR teams: 109 million requested

Tim

Anonymous said...

So this team including TSA was conducting an unauthorized operation (the authorization had already expired)?

Doesn't that make it illegal search + seizure, even beyond the usual discussion of DHS' mandate? Violations of both the 4th amendment, but also various other statutes.

Indeed, for the sworn peace officers (eg, air marshals), this would also be a violation of their sworn oaths.

So, why does anybody involved from DHS and TSA still have their jobs?

Michael said...

I want my country back. Abolish TSA.

Anonymous said...

Have you looked at the Amtrak prohibited list that you link to? Tell me you weren't searching travelers for "•Fragile and/or valuable items (including but not limited to electronic equipment)."

You are not making us safer. Poorly drafted regulations combined with an authoritarian mindset is a bad combination. I will vote for any party that makes this an issue. The Dems lost me when they decided to allow this kind of abuse to happen on their watch. TSA needs to be stopped.

Anonymous said...

Why haven't you answered my question, Bob? What would have happened if one of these poor people refused to be touched by your clerks?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
Blogger wangdw said...

Who do people fear more nowadays? The terrorists or the TSA?



The TSA. Hands Down.





Totally agreed.

Anonymous said...

This aggression will not stand man....

Ranger11 said...

VIPR is conducted under the direction of Federal Law Enforcement Officers. FAMs, Federal LEO's and local Law Enforcement. The TSA presence in the form of TSO's are only there to assist the LEO's and do searches at the direction of the LEO in charge of the VIPR at that particular location. The money was allocated at the direction of congress for these events. If you have issue with the VIPR activity at your local train, bus, ferry terminal, I suggest that you speak to your local representative. VIPR is mandated by congress with funds they gave to TSA specifically for VIPR to hire,train and carry out these operations.
This is only a factual statement and in no way supports or defends any issue of groups position on this or any other issue.

Anonymous said...

The chief of the Amtrak Police Department first thought this story was a hoax, some kind of bad joke. But when he looked into it, he found it was true. The TSA had taken actions that the chief said were illegal and clearly contrary to Amtrak policy.

As a result, Amtrak has now banned TSA's VIPR teams from any activities on Amtrak property. In fact, TSA's VIPR teams have been banned from Amtrak property entirely, until they can be trained to observe the law, constitutional rights and Amtrak company policy, and an agreement can be reached between Amtrak and the TSA on these points.

Moreover, the chief says that statements on this very blog that Amtrak had approved of the Savannah operation are flatly wrong.

Further information will appear in the next (April) issue of TRAINS magazine; and I doubt that will be the last time this incident will be discussed.

gblatham said...

Well!

According to columnist Don Phillips of TRAINS Magazine, Amtrak Police Chief John O'Connor has now ordered T.S.A. VIPR Teams "off Amtrak property until they can be trained to strictly adhere to company policy AND CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS." [Emphasis mine]

Furthermore, O'Connor said Amtrak had NOT "approved of the [T.S.A.'s] operation [in Savannah]." He called the T.S.A.'s attempts at explaining their actions "inaccurate and insensitive." Chief O'Connor also indicated that the T.S.A. "must agree to firm restrictions before he will consider allowing them back on Amtrak property."

The plot thickens!

So...what say now, Blogger Bob?!

1amdismayed said...

In late February, the Transportation Security Administration took over the Amtrak station in Savannah, Georgia, and thoroughly searched every person who entered. None of the passengers got into trouble, but the TSA certainly did – big time.

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.

...

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 ten passengers. There is no wanding of passengers and no sterile area. O’Connor said the TSA violated every one of these rules. From TRAIN magazine

Anonymous said...

Now now, we really have to be careful about the people who get dangerous things on trains and then bring them off to... hijack... uhm... The parking lot. Yes.

How much longer will the TSA disease grow unchecked?

Anonymous said...

I don't think the TSA really gets that there are actually laws that they themselves have to follow, and not just the laws they make up that everyone else has to follow.

Anonymous said...

Bob,
Does the TSA eventually have plans to create checkpoints like you see at airports in train stations? What steps have been taken to prevent this "inconvenience to passengers" from happening again? Why not use explosive sniffing dogs to check travelers instead of the expensive body scanners and enhanced pat downs? What is done with information such as the IP addresses of people who respond on this blog? If we disagree with the TSA in our comment will we end up on the no fly list? Are there plans for a no ride list for train travel?

Anonymous said...

gblatham said:
"According to columnist Don Phillips of TRAINS Magazine, Amtrak Police Chief John O'Connor has now ordered T.S.A. VIPR Teams "off Amtrak property until they can be trained to strictly adhere to company policy AND CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS." [Emphasis mine]"

Now we need some airport authority chiefs who have a similar respect for the Constitution to order the TSA off airport property.

For now, TSA, stay off AMTRAK property!

Anonymous said...

Ranger11 said:
"VIPR is conducted under the direction of Federal Law Enforcement Officers. FAMs, Federal LEO's and local Law Enforcement. The TSA presence in the form of TSO's are only there to assist the LEO's and do searches at the direction of the LEO in charge of the VIPR at that particular location. The money was allocated at the direction of congress for these events. If you have issue with the VIPR activity at your local train, bus, ferry terminal, I suggest that you speak to your local representative. VIPR is mandated by congress with funds they gave to TSA specifically for VIPR to hire,train and carry out these operations. "

Sorry, Ranger, but this is almost entirely false. VIPR is a TSA creation. LEO can not decide to conduct searches such as these.

RB said...

Ranger11 said...
VIPR is conducted under the direction of Federal Law Enforcement Officers. FAMs, Federal LEO's and local Law Enforcement. The TSA presence in the form of TSO's are only there to assist the LEO's and do searches at the direction of the LEO in charge of the VIPR at that particular location. The money was allocated at the direction of congress for these events. If you have issue with the VIPR activity at your local train, bus, ferry terminal, I suggest that you speak to your local representative. VIPR is mandated by congress with funds they gave to TSA specifically for VIPR to hire,train and carry out these operations.
This is only a factual statement and in no way supports or defends any issue of groups position on this or any other issue.

March 3, 2011 11:28 AM

.............
Were these funds intended to be used to screen people who were getting off the trains Ranger11?

Anonymous said...

Blogger Bob,
I had a couple of comments that didn't get posted on your blog and I don't see anywhere where I violated your comment policy-that I know of. I wanted to ask if the TSA plans to do airport scanning at train and metro stations? Since in a lot of hotbeds of terrorist activity in foreign countries has involved train bombings. I also wanted to ask why people leaving the station deboarding a train would be a risk since if they intended to do mayhem, they most likely would set off any explosives enroute to Savannah, GA. I also wanted to know if the TSA has taken steps to prevent this "inconvenience" to these passengers. I'm sorry if I offended you in any way or violated community guidlines in my posts. I do think the threat of terrism is real and even though I don't fully agree with the techniques used by the TSA such as questioning why bomb sniffing dogs aren't used instead of the x-ray machines and if this blog records IP addresses of posters and if so can posting comments here put you on the no-fly list. I also asked if there will eventually be a no-ride list if they start screening rail passengers. Again I apologize if I offended you or violated the comment posting guidlines and didn't intend to do so. If you can post this comment and answers the questions that you are able to answer I would greatly appreciate it.

Anonymous said...

Law that covers VIPR:
According to the GAO, Public Law 110-53 (2007) authorizes Visible Intermodal Prevention And Response (VIPR) Teams. I am guessing Sec. 1303. Authorization of visible intermodal prevention and response teams. I am not a lawyer, so further inquiries should be with your legal team, DHS legal, TSA legal, or GAO legal.

According to the FY2012 budget on DHS.gov, 109 million is planned for VIPR. Rangers comment is accurate.

Tim

Anonymous said...

VIPR is nothing more then eye candy. I used to see this kind of thing in NYC when I commuted to the city. It was sickening....

avxo said...

Anonymous wrote: "According to the GAO, Public Law 110-53 (2007) authorizes Visible Intermodal Prevention And Response (VIPR) Teams. I am guessing Sec. 1303. Authorization of visible intermodal prevention and response teams."

Thanks for researching and posting the results.

Anonymous said...

Bob wrote: "It should be noted that disembarking passengers did not need to enter the station to claim luggage or get to their car."

-----------------------------------
"Brian Gamble @Jeff Pierce - Yes. Myself as well as all those people in the video were told by TSA to go inside the train station when we all got OFF the train to "get our luggage". They then grabbed everyone and coralled them and wouldnt let you leave until after the search and scan. Our luggage was never inside. It was left outsid...e unsecured by the train. I am all for security but do it BEFORE we get on the train. This was just a shake down! Gave me a bad taste for TSA. I was appalled."

Please reconcile these two conflicting statements, Bob.

RB said...

"Brian Gamble @Jeff Pierce - Yes. Myself as well as all those people in the video were told by TSA to go inside the train station when we all got OFF the train to "get our luggage". They then grabbed everyone and coralled them and wouldnt let you leave until after the search and scan. Our luggage was never inside. It was left outsid...e unsecured by the train. I am all for security but do it BEFORE we get on the train. This was just a shake down! Gave me a bad taste for TSA. I was appalled."

Please reconcile these two conflicting statements, Bob.

March 5, 2011 11:33 PM

..................
Oh, that's easy, ones a lie!

Anonymous said...

To be fair to bob, it's not his job to tell the truth or to inform the public. It's to make the TSA look as good as possible to the internet public. This is admittedly a pretty herculean task, and we can't really blame anyone here for having to stretch the truth to the breaking point.

Anonymous said...

Bob - Either you're a liar, or the Amtrak Police Chief is a liar. I know whom I believe...



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.”
...


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 blog.tsa.gov “inaccurate and insensitive.”

Anonymous said...

I would rather the TSA violate my rights and go overboard in an attempt to make us all safe than to have innocent people killed. I have nothing to hide. Do all of you who are so worried about being searched and having your precious time taken up have something to hide? Would you give up a few minutes of your time and some of your "rights" to save lives? I would.

Anonymous said...

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 blog.tsa.gov “inaccurate and insensitive.” As of the time this story was filed, the same posting remained on the blog.

A TSA spokesman said he could not elaborate on the blog posting.

You lie...

Understudy said...

Well it looks like the TSA is not welcome at Amtrack anymore.

http://cs.trains.com/TRCCS/forums/p/188504/2059127.aspx

Anonymous said...

You're job is bad, and you should feel bad!

Anonymous said...

Please get out of Georgia. We don't need you and don't want you.

RB said...

http://cs.trains.com/TRCCS/forums/p/188504/2059127.aspx


TRAINS exclusive: Amtrak police chief bars Transportation Security Administration from some security operations
By Don Phillips
Published: March 3, 2011


from the article:

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 blog.tsa.gov “inaccurate and insensitive.” As of the time this story was filed, the same posting remained on the blog.

So was TSA truthful in the blog posting?

Or just making up more bull?

Anonymous said...

Makes you wonder what the TSA (or VIPR for that matter) will do if / when they find a REAL bomb (or some other potential large-scale threat during a screening.

Are they going to yell "DUCK!", "TAKE COVER!", "RUN FOR YOUR LIVES!", or something similar?

Nope. My money says they'll make an absolutely goofy move and people will die. Security theater at it's worst.

Anonymous said...

The TSA is sad, hard to belive other americans will violATE people willingly for a paycheck. the woman in charge needs to be fired.. and that is from a taxpayer who doesnt agree with all americans are terrorist.

Anonymous said...

I for one am sickend that my tax dollars go to violate my rights.. just like the fake war on terror the TSA has made itself clear they hate our freedoms.

Anonymous said...

Americans have given up the rights that made America great.

Anonymous said...

I don't know what bothers me more, TSA's behavior or the fact that it tries to put a positive spin on it with a jovial, casual blog. Are you trying to act dystopian, or does it just come naturally?

David Frum said...

Notice how when caught red handed, they lie then remain silent?

Quite pathetic really.

Anonymous said...

And what about this response?
http://cs.trains.com/TRCCS/forums/p/188504/2059127.aspx

The head of Amtrak says TSA agents are barred from entering their property until further notice. He also said pretty much everything you posted is inaccurate, but everyone who comes here knows that already.

I ride Amtrak. If someone (please, God, NOT THE TSA! ANYONE BUT THEM!) decides to screen me to get on, fine. I can decide whether I want to ride or not.

Good luck trying to screen me when I'm trying to leave. That's kidnapping and assault, and, believe me, I would love to drag the TSA into court to start defending your unjust, illegal, and un-American activities.

Anonymous said...

I would rather the TSA violate my rights and go overboard in an attempt to make us all safe than to have innocent people killed. I have nothing to hide. Do all of you who are so worried about being searched and having your precious time taken up have something to hide? Would you give up a few minutes of your time and some of your "rights" to save lives? I would.
-----------------------------------------

1. "Do all of you who are so worried about being searched and having your precious time taken up have something to hide?"

Yes, I have something to hide. For one, I always travel with my genitals. I would like them to remain hidden. Second, there is a good possibility that I will be flying with something that is in no sense illegal and presents no danger whatsoever to the aircraft but that I nonetheless do not want a stranger examining. Is that so hard to understand?

2. Would you give up a few minutes of your time and some of your "rights" to save lives? I would.

Why is "rights" in quotation marks? Does this imply that you don't believe that the rights in question have any meaning? To answer your question: no, I wouldn't give up a few minutes of my time nor my rights "to save lives." And if I were to enter into such a Faustian bargain I would want some assurance that the security procedures had any meaningful impact on my (or others') safety.

But I'll say this: you seem like someone who has a really fantastic grasp of constitutional governance and the meaning of our rights...

Earl Pitts said...

@Anon: "I would rather the TSA violate my rights and go overboard in an attempt to make us all safe than to have innocent people killed. I have nothing to hide. Do all of you who are so worried about being searched and having your precious time taken up have something to hide? Would you give up a few minutes of your time and some of your "rights" to save lives? I would."

Anon, try this:

"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." -- Benjamin Franklin

The government doesn't exist to keep us safe. The government exists to protect the rights of the people, not infringe on it. Many times, protecting people and liberties are synonymous. In this case, they are not.

If my choice is the infinitesimal risk that I might die in a plane crash due to terrorism (which given TSA's abysmal performance, is STILL very possible) or go back to what we had 9/10/01 and we still have our rights, I'd opt for the latter.

Safety means little if you aren't free. There are many places in the world where there is little crime or terrorism. Like North Korea, for example. They're also not free either.

It's a false argument to say that if you don't agree with this, you must have something to hide. I don't have anything to hide. That doesn't mean that things about my life or person are any of the government's business either.

You'd do well to read Prof. Daniel Solove's Essay "'I've Got Nothing to Hide' and Other Misunderstandings of Privacy". Just click on One Click Download, then Download Anonymously and you can read it, free of charge.

Earl

Eric Nay said...

TSA behavior is both outrageous & obscene. This must end!

SSSS for some reason said...

"Anonymous said...
Do all of you who are so worried about being searched and having your precious time taken up have something to hide? Would you give up a few minutes of your time and some of your "rights" to save lives? I would."
---------
No, I have nothing to hide. My having, or not having, something to hide is irrelevant to the question. The Government, and the TSA specifically, have no right to look without a reason.

Would I give up my rights to save a life? No, I would not. Not even to save my own life.

Let me flip the question back around....

You are convicted of a crime and are sentenced to be executed. Would you give up your right to a Jury of your peers simply because *you* know you are innocent?

You go ahead and comply with whatever the government asks, that is your right and I respect it.

You, in turn, have to respect my right to stand up and fight for my own Constitutional Rights granted me by virtue of being an American Citizen.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
I would rather the TSA violate my rights and go overboard in an attempt to make us all safe than to have innocent people killed. I have nothing to hide. Do all of you who are so worried about being searched and having your precious time taken up have something to hide? Would you give up a few minutes of your time and some of your "rights" to save lives? I would.


Anon, would you be okay with having government officials entering and searching your home unannounced, whenever they feel like it, and without your consent? I mean, afterall, as a neighbor I have a right to be safe in my community from drug dealers and other dangerous people. With your comment, it seems you would be okay with the government doing these very types of actions that lead to our forefathers breaking away from England and forming our own nation simply because you don't mind your precious time being taken and you "have nothing to hide." I have news for you.....You are one of those who the TSA has succeeded in making you believe their policies are justified for your own safety. Take off the blinders and sort through the facts.

Anonymous said...

Some misguided soul said:
"Do all of you who are so worried about being searched and having your precious time taken up have something to hide? Would you give up a few minutes of your time and some of your "rights" to save lives? I would."

I have plenty to hide. Nothing illegal, mind you, but what the government is entitled to know I will hide. Any questions?

Anonymous said...

Bob wrote: "It should be noted that disembarking passengers did not need to enter the station to claim luggage or get to their car."
-----------------------------------
"Brian Gamble @Jeff Pierce - Yes. Myself as well as all those people in the video were told by TSA to go inside the train station when we all got OFF the train to "get our luggage". They then grabbed everyone and coralled them and wouldnt let you leave until after the search and scan. Our luggage was never inside. It was left outsid...e unsecured by the train. I am all for security but do it BEFORE we get on the train. This was just a shake down! Gave me a bad taste for TSA. I was appalled."
-----------------------------------
Someone's approving the comments - and yet none of the moderators have answered as to why the TSA is lying about what really happened in Savannah.

I can't say I'm surprised.

Anonymous said...

Um, isn't the appropriate response from a citizen, "where is your warrant to search me?" There is NO probable cause here to perform a search on people leaving a train station. These people should have simply left and now they should sue for wrongful custody.

Anonymous said...

For the people who have wondered why the TSA would do this in the first place, here is your answer:

"I would rather the TSA violate my rights and go overboard in an attempt to make us all safe than to have innocent people killed. I have nothing to hide. Do all of you who are so worried about being searched and having your precious time taken up have something to hide? Would you give up a few minutes of your time and some of your "rights" to save lives? I would."

All of these pieces of National Security Theater have one aim: to inure us all to the concept of Them doing whatever They want (for our own good and because They know best) and the rest of us accepting it as a matter of course.

Eventually the ideal will be for all of us to accept this as the patriotic norm, and distrust and suspect anyone who dares to balk at being searched anywhere, any time, for any (or no) reason.

The more breaches of our rights (note the lack of quote marks) we tolerate, and the more compliant we become with unreasonable searches and seizures like this, the less trouble we'll be as They systematically strip away our power as citizens.

The scenario is nicely summed up in Pink Floyd's "Sheep":

You'd better watch out!
There may be dogs about
...
Meek and obedient you follow the leader
Down well trodden corridors into the valley of steel.
...
Have you heard the news?
The dogs are dead!
You better stay home
And do as you're told.
Get out of the road if you want to grow old.

RB said...

When will TSA post a correction of this TSA article.

TSA did heard people who were off loading from the train into the terminal without choice.

More TSA lies.

Anonymous said...

RB wrote: When will TSA post a correction of this TSA article.

They've had three weeks. I don't think we'll ever see any apologies from the TSA for their deliberate lies.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the TSA was needed at the train station to gather more "goodies"

TSA Agent Charged With Helping Drug Trafficker Through Security

http://news.travel.aol.com/2011/03/02/tsa-agent-charged-with-helping-drug-trafficker-through-security/

RB said...

With three weeks plus gone by it seems that TSA and the TSA Blog Team does not have the integrity to post a correction to this article or even admit that what was stated may have been premature.

This is an example of why TSA cannot be trusted to be truthful.

Remember, TSA Lies. Always!

Anonymous said...

Not to prolong this discussion, but Ranger11's comment is certainly wrong. He stated:

"VIPR is conducted under the direction of Federal Law Enforcement Officers, FAMs,Federal LEO's and local Law Enforcement.The TSA presence in the form of TSO's are only there to assist the LEO's and do searches at the direction of the LEO in charge of the VIPR at that particular location."

This is not true. VIPRs are strictly a TSA operation. From the statute itself:

"The Secretary, acting through the Administrator of the Transportation Security Administration, may develop Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response (referred to in this section as ‘‘VIPR’’) teams to augment the security of any mode of transportation at any location within the United States"

Two points. First, Ranger11 is wrong. A VIPR operation is created and controlled by the TSA, not Law Enforcement.

Second, while the TSA has royally screwed up here, some of the outrage should be directed to the 110th Congress, which enacted this law, allowing the TSA to conduct a VIPR operation "to augment the security of any mode of transportation at any location within the United States."

Any mode of transportation at any location.

First it was airplanes, then it was trucks on highways, now it is passengers leaving a train.

Are passenger cars next? Followed by pedestrians?

The problem here is not only the TSA, but Congress, which gave that unlimited authority to the TSA.

RB said...

Bob, you and TSA has certainly had time to spin what happened at Savannah.

When will you correct your original post?

Why did TSA force people who were exiting the train to go inside the station?

Does TSA screening anyone after leaving the conveyence advance the security of that transportation mode?

Anonymous said...

RB wrote: This is an example of why TSA cannot be trusted to be truthful.

According to Bob's original comments, the TSA cannot even be trusted to read a clock.

Anonymous said...

Bob wrote: "It should be noted that disembarking passengers did not need to enter the station to claim luggage or get to their car."
-----------------------------------
"Brian Gamble @Jeff Pierce - Yes. Myself as well as all those people in the video were told by TSA to go inside the train station when we all got OFF the train to "get our luggage". They then grabbed everyone and coralled them and wouldnt let you leave until after the search and scan. Our luggage was never inside. It was left outsid...e unsecured by the train. I am all for security but do it BEFORE we get on the train. This was just a shake down! Gave me a bad taste for TSA. I was appalled."
-----------------------------------

Did you lie, Bob? Or were you lied to?

Anonymous said...

The TSA is resounding success in its goal to destroy the airline industry. Certainly the TSA has aimed its resources in destroying train travel...and in the future, hotels, buses...and just about any thing.

Look at this:

"The need for reform was made especially clear by recent research revealing that travelers are avoiding two to three trips per year due to unnecessary hassles associated with the security screening process. These avoided trips come at a cost of $85 billion and 900,000 jobs to the American economy."

A quote from
http://www.ustravel.org/news/press-releases/roadmap-new-air-travel-security-system-unveiled-travel-industry-security-experts

This same article from the U.S. Travel Association also states:

According to a 2010 survey conducted by Consensus Research, American travelers would take an additional two to three flights per year if the hassles in security screening system were eliminated. These additional flights would add nearly $85 billion in consumer spending and 900,000 jobs to the American economy.

There you have it. The TSA is out to destroy the entire travel industry.

Very good...congratulations

Anonymous said...

Bob, how long do you think it'll take for the general public to forget about this incident and stop asking you what really happened?

Anonymous said...

"Bob, how long do you think it'll take for the general public to forget about this incident and stop asking you what really happened?"

Bob probably thinks that we are forgetting this incident because the number of comments to this blog has sharply decreased.
Not to worry though. The people out there remember this. I do and I speak with people all the time about the train incident and the atrocities at the airports.
So Bob, we DO remember. There may be some silence on THIS blog but elsewhere the rumblings are great.

Remember this, Bob...and everyone. Should there be a "terror" event on a train soon, as the masses are being prepared through the movie "Source Code," it will be a false flag incident. Same as 9/11 and others.

We may be a little quiet but we are NOT STUPID.

RB said...

Anonymous said...
Bob, how long do you think it'll take for the general public to forget about this incident and stop asking you what really happened?

March 24, 2011 1:44 PM
.................
Bob knows we won't forget he just won't man up and admit his mistakes.

Typical for TSA employees.

Anonymous said...

RB wrote: Bob knows we won't forget he just won't man up and admit his mistakes.

Or he's not allowed to correct the mistakes of his theoretical superiors.

In any case, Bob, there is a disconnect between your statements and those of the victims of the VIPR operation in Savannah.

Did you lie, or were you lied to? If you were lied to, who lied to you?

Anonymous said...

Bob, when are you going to address the discrepancy between your statement and the statements of the eyewitnesses/victims about being forced into the station for screening on disembarking?

Anonymous said...

I can't believe this is happening in the United States of America. What is happening to us?

Anonymous said...

I saw this on a blog and it expresses my sentiments exactly:

Most people: “We don’t live in a police state.”

TSA: “Yes you do.”

VIPR? An armed version of the TSA which has recently returned to the streets of America, ready to perform random armed sweeps of ANY building, ANY person, at ANY time.

Do you remember WW2? No? There were people who did this before. They were called NAZIS.

Hello? History? How ya doin’?

Anonymous said...

If you work with local police departments, then why did Amtrak's police chief only find out about this when he saw the video? And you failed to mention that Amtrak's Chief O'Connor has tossed VIPR teams off Amtrak property until they learn how to obey the law.

Anonymous said...

just one more "puppy" post, and you'll push this one off the front page!

Anonymous said...

Why would the TSA VIPR team separate arriving AMTRAK passengers from their unguarded luggage in Savannah, Georgia?

This is more than inconvenient. If arriving passengers do not retrieve their luggage quickly, the luggage will be gone.....

Anonymous said...

Is it really TSA policy to lie to people to force them into a search, just like it appears to be TSA policy to lie to CNN about the "pat-downs?"

Anonymous said...

So now that Osama, the goal of our "war on turror" is dead, your hero Obama is going to shut down the TSA and end the war, just like all you good liberals want. Right? ,,, right? ...(crickets)

Anonymous said...

Your own explanation of VIPR makes clear that it is deliberately meant to terrorize the public with Gestapo tactics.

Amazingly, you do not even address the fact that the head of Amtrak rightly ordered you out of the station for your harassment of passengers, and correctly forbade you from further entry without a written agreement of exactly what you can and cannot do. If you violate that, I hope you end up behind bars.

Anonymous said...

Tyranny.

Anonymous said...

Word is they recently searched all passengers and luggage at a Lynx bus station here in Orlando under the guise of a "security training exercise".

Pretty soon searches will take place at every street corner. Good by fourth amendment.

Anonymous said...

TSA VIPR program clearly violates 4th amendment. The court challenges that TSA has been "flying on" are specific to airline travel.

Anonymous said...

When my antivirus software became so intrusive that it was acting like a virus itself, I purged it from my system.

When the TSA becomes so intrusive that it terrorizes ordinary Americans more than the terrorists do, I think it's time to purge the organization from this country.

Anonymous said...

But the most important thing everyone is forgetting is that the TSA does NOT care about any of you at all. They have an executive order to find, detain and prosecute any and ALL potential violators that they encounter. I'm beginning to think that if the government can find a way to prosecute anyone they deem as "undesirable", preferably on a felony charge, than they can widdle down the effective voting base to one that more suits their interest. Hmmmm?

Anonymous said...

1775: "Give me liberty or give me death."

2011: "Take away my liberties so I can pretend to feel safe."

Why do y'all keep addressing Bob as though he's going to come back here and answer you? Don't you understand he's just here to parrot the TSA doublespeak propaganda and isn't paying attention to you? You're never going to get anything but sound bites designed to paint TSA in the best possible light.

Rick said...

Putting up a sign at the entrance to the Amtrac station does not neutralize the 4th Amendment. No does the justification for "security" in the absense of an actual threat justify the use of federal forces within the states and not under the control of the state.

Anonymous said...

Get out of our train stations, our roadways, and our airports - you are ineffective, incompetent, and usually disgusting to see in action.

Anonymous said...

VIPR teams are not constitutional and I WILL NOT COMPLY

Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

You have two bad links here:

First, the link to the "Amtrak Prohibited Items List" should point here: http://www.amtrak.com/servlet/ContentServer?c=Page&pagename=am%2FLayout&cid=1251621565025

Second, the link immediately above this box (in which I'm typing this comment) that's labeled "Comment Policy" points to a list of TSA social media accounts. There is nothing related to a "comment policy" on that page whatsoever.

Anonymous said...

As can be expected from government bureaucrats, the link to items prohibited on Amtrak contains absolutely no such list...

choc Tube said...

Putting up a sign at the entrance to the Amtrac station does not neutralize the 4th Amendment. No does the justification for "security" in the absense of an actual threat justify the use of federal forces within the states and not under the control of the state.