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T.S.A. Expands Duties Beyond Airport Security

Jango

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As hundreds of commuters emerged from Amtrak and commuter trains at Union Station on a recent morning, an armed squad of men and women dressed in bulletproof vests made their way through the crowds.

The squad was not with the Washington police department or Amtrak’s police force, but was one of the Transportation Security Administration’s Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response squads —VIPR teams for short —assigned to perform random security sweeps to prevent terrorist attacks at transportation hubs across the United States.

“The T.S.A., huh,” said Donald Neubauer of Greenville, Ohio, as he walked past the squad. “I thought they were just at the airports.”

With little fanfare, the agency best known for airport screenings has vastly expanded its reach to sporting events, music festivals, rodeos, highway weigh stations and train terminals. Not everyone is happy.

T.S.A. and local law enforcement officials say the teams are a critical component of the nation’s counterterrorism efforts,but some members of Congress, auditors at the Department of Homeland Security and civil liberties groups are sounding alarms. The teams are also raising hackles among passengers who call them unnecessary and intrusive.

“Our mandate is to provide security and counterterrorism operations for all high-risk transportation targets, not just airports and aviation,” said John S. Pistole, the administrator of the agency. “The VIPR teams are a big part of that.”

Some in Congress, however, say the T.S.A. has not demonstrated that the teams are effective. Auditors at the Department of Homeland Security are asking questions about whether the teams are properly trained and deployed based on actual security threats.

Civil liberties groups say that the VIPR teams have little to do with the agency’s original mission to provide security screenings at airports and that in some cases their actions amount to warrantless searches in violation of constitutional protections.

“The problem with T.S.A. stopping and searching people in public places outside the airport is that there are no real legal standards, or probable cause,” said Khaliah Barnes, administrative law counsel at the Electronic Privacy Information Center in Washington. “It’s something that is easily abused because the reason that they are conducting the stops is shrouded in secrecy.”

T.S.A. officials respond that the random searches are “special needs” or “administrative searches” that are exempt from probable cause because they further the government’s need to prevent terrorist attacks.

T.S.A. Expands Duties Beyond Airport Security - NYTimes.com

Yet another governmental agency using the terrorism threat to circumvent the U.S. Constitution and harass American citizens without probable cause.

I sure hope the "I'm okay with it" meme crowd is against these practices.
 

MaggieD

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T.S.A. Expands Duties Beyond Airport Security - NYTimes.com

Yet another governmental agency using the terrorism threat to circumvent the U.S. Constitution and harass American citizens without probable cause.

I sure hope the "I'm okay with it" meme crowd is against these practices.

If you're not doing anything wrong, why do you care about something that has the potential to save your life? I've never understood the mindset, frankly. If they'd have been in the right place at the right time, the Boston bombing could have been prevented. We live in a complicated world. Strangers are trying to annihilate us. I wish they'd walk around with portable metal detectors. Might get some illegal guns off the streets.
 

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Ikari

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If you're not doing anything wrong, why do you care about something that has the potential to save your life? I've never understood the mindset, frankly. If they'd have been in the right place at the right time, the Boston bombing could have been prevented. We live in a complicated world. Strangers are trying to annihilate us. I wish they'd walk around with portable metal detectors. Might get some illegal guns off the streets.

Terrorist #1 is our own government. Look at what we've excused and let government usurp. Our own rights, yes, but the infinity war, the big brother data basing and watching, more aggressive policing, more people in jail, etc. It's disturbing to say the least that the government pays no mind to the natural constraints placed upon it and that others will trumpet the loss of freedom. This is 1984 but if you think that it's good and that this level of government keeps us safe, I'll be left to wonder what is going to keep us safe from the government.
 

TheNextEra

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If you're not doing anything wrong, why do you care about something that has the potential to save your life? I've never understood the mindset, frankly. If they'd have been in the right place at the right time, the Boston bombing could have been prevented. We live in a complicated world. Strangers are trying to annihilate us. I wish they'd walk around with portable metal detectors. Might get some illegal guns off the streets.

So I assume you are for the NSA spying as well right? I mean, if you aren't doing anything wrong you shouldn't care about something that can "potentially" save your life right? What's next? Support for strip searches and cavity checks before boarding a plane, train, or even local bus or government office? It could save your life.
 

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So I assume you are for the NSA spying as well right? I mean, if you aren't doing anything wrong you shouldn't care about something that can "potentially" save your life right? What's next? Support for strip searches and cavity checks before boarding a plane, train, or even local bus or government office? It could save your life.

I wonder how many aggression apologists would be OK with random searches of their house and property. I mean, if you're not doing anything wrong it should be OK, right?
 

MaggieD

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I wonder how many aggression apologists would be OK with random searches of their house and property. I mean, if you're not doing anything wrong it should be OK, right?

(That's strange that the system picked up a different quote than you posted...you must've edited it.)

At any rate, the government can search my home any time it presents me with a good reason to do so -- a missing child . . . looking for illegal guns . . . looking for illegal drugs . . . I couldn't care less. If I were doing something illegal, then I'd demand a warrant.

Edit: That's weird. There must be a lag between when users see edits 'cause we're on the same page now. Hmmm.
 

Ikari

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(That's strange that the system picked up a different quote than you posted...you must've edited it.)

At any rate, the government can search my home any time it presents me with a good reason to do so -- a missing child . . . looking for illegal guns . . . looking for illegal drugs . . . I couldn't care less. If I were doing something illegal, then I'd demand a warrant.

Why does it need a good reason? Why can't they just check? You're not doing anything wrong, are you?
 

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Why does it need a good reason? Why can't they just check? You're not doing anything wrong, are you?

I believe I already answered that.
 

tererun

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T.S.A. Expands Duties Beyond Airport Security - NYTimes.com

Yet another governmental agency using the terrorism threat to circumvent the U.S. Constitution and harass American citizens without probable cause.

I sure hope the "I'm okay with it" meme crowd is against these practices.

I remember taking a bus from daytona to miami. Got on the bus with no security at all. The Bus stops in orlando and we all have to get off for a cleaning, and I go for a smoke. I got searched on the way back in by the the security people there who were with the TSA. It made no sense considering had i had a bomb it would have been in the bus the whole time. I could have been transporting a bomb and gotten searched by the TSA and they would have never found it because my luggage was never checked. That is not security.

I hope the TSA does not get involved in Amtrak. Taking the train is a great way to travel. Still, it is not out of the ordinary to see what looks like military people at larger train stations. I am not sure if they are TSA or something else, but it would seem Penn Station in NYC has constant military presence and has for years now. I have a feeling much more of this is about the war on drugs rather than the war on terror.
 

Serenity

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There was a thread recently over in the *BN* Forums that detailed incidents of known terrorists being given new identities and their past eradicated as part of the WPP. The Justice Department do not share the new identity names of these known terrorists with the agencies who make up the terrorist watchlists. Madness.

http://www.debatepolitics.com/break...wn-terrorists-witness-protection-program.html

Meanwhile, ordinary law abiding American citizens continue to be harrassed without probable cause.

There's something very wrong with that don't you think?
 

MaggieD

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When we are forced to live in a police state the terrorist have won, much like shutting down all our mid east embassies with a little internet chatter.

Hell, I remember flying into Miami 25 years ago and thinking I lived in a police state. They had armed 'soldiers' with AK-something's slung on their shoulders. They barely spoke English. It was the same thing we saw when we traveled to Mexico -- except there we saw them in the streets.
 

Mr. Invisible

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If you're not doing anything wrong, why do you care about something that has the potential to save your life? I've never understood the mindset, frankly. If they'd have been in the right place at the right time, the Boston bombing could have been prevented. We live in a complicated world. Strangers are trying to annihilate us. I wish they'd walk around with portable metal detectors. Might get some illegal guns off the streets.

If I am not doing anything wrong, then why is the government f'ing with me? Why are they doing these (allgedly) random searches to stop terrorism when most of the time it is the government itself behind the terrorist attacks?

The Corbett Report | The FBI Fosters, Funds and Equips American Terrorists
 

TheNextEra

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I believe I already answered that.

Yes, you answered that you wouldn't mind. However, what if it was being used for political purposes under the guise of "safety"? I mean if they listened into your calls or checked you house because they said it was for your "safety" and then later used it against you or someone you were talking to for political purposes you wouldn't be able to undo what was done.

Sorry, but I am not for the government taking away liberties or stepping on rights just because they say it will make us "safer". We have already seen the political abuses for things that the government has done, why wouldn't you care?

Obama has proven to be just another politician and while I don't think he is a dictator, the more control we give to the government creates the enviornment that a dictator can eventually come about.
 

MaggieD

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There was a thread recently over in the *BN* Forums that detailed incidents of known terrorists being given new identities and their past eradicated as part of the WPP. The Justice Department do not share the new identity names of these known terrorists with the agencies who make up the terrorist watchlists. Madness.

http://www.debatepolitics.com/break...wn-terrorists-witness-protection-program.html

Meanwhile, ordinary law abiding American citizens continue to be harrassed without probable cause.

There's something very wrong with that don't you think?

I chalk it up to the world we live in today. And the world we live in today isn't a kind and gentle one. We won't let our security agencies profile by race or country of origin; so this is what that buys. If I were taking my little niece and nephew to a football game, I'd be glad to see security checking backpacks. Happy to go through metal detectors. Our world is NUTZ.
 

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I can see how looking at events like this would draw the ire of the civil libertarians, and those who see a fascist police state at every turn, however, what we are really seeing is the secretive nature of this "most transparent government in history" as coined by the current administration, to the laughter of those who know better.
 

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When we are forced to live in a police state the terrorist have won, much like shutting down all our mid east embassies with a little internet chatter.

Now wait a minute. The right was complaining about Benghazi in saying that we "ignored" the warnings, so now that the U.S. hasn't ignored the warnings you think the terrorists have won?

What would happen if Obama let the embacies stay open and there was another attack that Americans die from? The right would have a field day. We can't beef up EVERY SINGLE one of them, so yes I think closing them was an acceptable solution. Would you rather Americans died?
 

TheNextEra

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I can see how looking at events like this would draw the ire of the civil libertarians, and those who see a fascist police state at every turn, however, what we are really seeing is the secretive nature of this "most transparent government in history" as coined by the current administration, to the laughter of those who know better.

I don't agree with what the TSA is doing, but I hardly think it is "secrative" if they are walking around in uniforms with bulletproof vests on.
 

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I don't agree with what the TSA is doing, but I hardly think it is "secrative" if they are walking around in uniforms with bulletproof vests on.

You misunderstand....intentionally or not is the question.
 

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I don't agree with what the TSA is doing, but I hardly think it is "secrative" if they are walking around in uniforms with bulletproof vests on.

Put them on horseback and we can call them cowboys. It is beyond ridiculous and it does feel like a police state. I lived in a police state for some time. Freedom is better.
 

TheNextEra

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Put them on horseback and we can call them cowboys. It is beyond ridiculous and it does feel like a police state. I lived in a police state for some time. Freedom is better.

I don't disagree with you, but I don't agree its secrative either. I also don't think the majority of peopole care, which is a shame since they keep electing the same representatives that don't do anything about it.
 

fmw

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I don't disagree with you, but I don't agree its secrative either. I also don't think the majority of peopole care, which is a shame since they keep electing the same representatives that don't do anything about it.

Police states aren't necessarily secretive. Anybody that lives in one knows they live in one.
 

TheNextEra

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Police states aren't necessarily secretive. Anybody that lives in one knows they live in one.

Again I don't disagree, was simply stating a rebutal to the comment that it was secrative. This whole thing stinks and just puts us further and further closer to a dictatorship. I'm not worried about Obama either, I'm worried what will follow him and how they will use this new found power that the government has seized.
 

Ikari

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I believe I already answered that.

No you didn't. You just said if they have a good reason, but if you were doing something illegal you'd want them to have a warrant (it's a sick mind that equates exercising one's rights with committing crimes), however, you never stated what you'd do if they didn't have either warrant or reason. If they have no reason, you wouldn't demand a warrant would you? That would mean you were doing something illegal by your own admission. So obviously, you'd let them in whenever they want for whatever reason you want, seeing as you aren't doing anything illegal.

And if that's how you want to run it, you're free to run it all day long. Just don't force me to abdicate MY rights because you don't care if the government sets up cameras in your home.
 
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