OT: The TSA Is Coming To a Highway Near You

The TSA Is Coming To a Highway Near You
http://www.forbes.com/sites/realspin/2012/02/29/the-tsa-is-coming-to-a-highway-near-you /
By Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN)
One of the great honors of my service to Tennessee is having the opportunity to represent Ft. Campbell which is home to the storied 101st Airborne, the 5th Special Forces Group and the Army’s 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment which piloted Navy SEAL Team Six during the raid on Osama Bin Laden.
Each soldier who calls Ft. Campbell home has gone through some of the most intensive training on the planet which pushed their minds and bodies to their physical limits. In the end, those who make the cut have earned the right to be part of our United States military, are honored to wear its uniform, and are serving on the frontlines in the fight against global terrorism.
Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for our nation’s Transportation Security Officers (TSO’s) who Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano contends are our nation’s last line of defense in fighting domestic terrorism. Unlike “hell week” which faces potential Navy SEALs, becoming a TSO requires a basic level of classroom and on the job training. In many cases this rigorous training is less severe than the requirements of becoming a security guard in most states.
Believe it or not, only 7 years ago, TSO’s went by a more deserving title, “airport security screeners.” At the time, their title and on the job appearance consisted of a white shirt and black pants. This was fitting because airport security screening is exactly what’s required of the position. However, this is no longer the case.
In the dead of night, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) administratively reclassified airport security screeners as Transportation Security Officers. The TSA then moved to administratively upgrade TSO’s uniforms to resemble those of a federal law enforcement officer. They further completed the makeover with metal law enforcement badges. Not surprisingly, government bureaucrats at the TSA left out one crucial component during the artificial makeover – actual federal law enforcement training as is required of Federal Air Marshalls.
While TSO’s may have the appearance of a federal law enforcement officer they have neither the authority nor the power. If a passenger brings a loaded gun or an explosive device into an airport screening area there is nothing a TSO can do until the local police step in to save the day.
If TSO’s are truly our nation’s last line of defense in stopping an act of terrorism, then the TSA should immediately end the practice of placing hiring notices for available TSO positions on pizza boxes and at discount gas stations as theyhave done in our nation’s capital. Surely, this is not where our federal government is going to find our brightest and sharpest Americans committed to keeping our traveling public safe. I would contend that we can surely strive for a higher standard and may want to look first to our veterans returning home from the battlefield.
Interestingly enough, as TSA officials like to routinely point out, their agency’s acronym stands for Transportation Security Administration, not the Airport Security Administration. This fact has extended the TSA’s reach has far beyond the confines of our nation’s airports. Many of my constituents discovered this first hand this past fall as those familiar blue uniforms and badges appeared on Tennessee highways. In October Tennessee became the first state to conduct a statewide Department of Homeland Security Visible Intermodal Prevention andResponse (VIPR) team operation which randomly inspected Tennessee truck drivers and cars.
VIPR teams which count TSO’s among their ranks, conduct searches and screenings at train stations, subways, ferry terminals and every other mass transit location around the country. In fact, as the Los Angeles Times has detailed, VIPR teams conducted 9,300 unannounced checkpoints and other search operations in the last year alone. The very thought of federal employees with zero law enforcement training roaming across our nation’s transportation infrastructure with the hope of randomly thwarting a domestic terrorist attack makes about as much sense as EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson’s Environmental Justice tour.
In order to help rein in the TSA I introduced H.R. 3608, the Stop TSA’s Reach in Policy Act aka the STRIP Act. This bill will simply overturn the TSA’s administrative decision by prohibiting any TSA employee who has not received federal law enforcement training from using the title “officer,” wearing a police like uniform or a metal police badge. At its most basic level the STRIP Act is about truth in advertising.
As TSO’s continue to expand their presence beyond our nation’s airports and onto our highways, every American citizen has the right to know that they are not dealing with actual federal law enforcement officers. Had one Virginia woman known this days before Thanksgiving she may have been able to escape being forcibly raped by a TSO who approached her in a parking lot in full uniform while flashing his badge.
Will the STRIP Act solve every problem facing the TSA? Absolutely not. The STRIP Act seeks to expand upon the work of my colleagues by chipping away at an unnoticed yet powerful overreach of our federal government. If Congress cannot swiftly overturn something as simple as this administrative decision there will be little hope that we can take steps to truly rein in the TSA on larger issues of concern.
Furthermore, if Congress fails to act do not be surprised if the TSA gives TSO’s another administrative makeover in the future. Only this time it won’t be a new uniform. It will be the power to make arrests as some TSO’s are already publicly calling for.
Congressman Blackburn is a Republican serving Tennessee’s 7th district.
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With the rest of the World tired of Uncle Sam's high handed bullshit and increasingly less likely to tolerate it, expect to see Mother America begin to devour her own. This is especially true with the prison-industrial complex (PIC) being a major growth industry. It will be interesting to see which comes first, American Revolution II or the total extinction of the human race, neither as far in the future as you might like to believe. :|
nb
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Home Guy wrote:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/realspin/2012/02/29/the-tsa-is-coming-to-a-highway-near-you /
If you encounter a TSA "agent," remember they are not law enforcement officers, they cannot make an arrest, they cannot search you or your belongings without your permission. The only enforcement mechanism they have is the ability to deny access to the transportation medium, that is, they can throw you off the train.
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While that is technically true, it goes a bit farther than that. They are also in contact with local law enforcement and can request that you be detained (or arrested) by that agent. And any confrontation between you and the TSA agent can give the LE agent sufficient probable cause to detain and investigate further.
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http://reason.com/blog/2012/01/11/tsa-workers-cant-arrest-you-but-they-can
TSA Workers Can't Arrest You, But They Can Have You Tased Katherine Mangu-Ward | January 11, 2012
<<The TSA agent would not allow the man back into the secure area, and directed him to get a pass at the ticketing counter. The man returned to the security checkpoint with the pass, but reportedly refused to submit his bag for screening, Ramos said.The man began arguing with TSA officials, and nearby deputies intervened, Ramos said. The argument turned into a physical altercation, and deputies used Tasers several times on the man before he stopped fighting, Ramos said.>>
-- Bobby G.
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Who wrote that idiot headline. The man got violent. He got himself tased.
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wrote:

You do remember the Amidou Diallo, shot at 41 times while reaching for his wallet. In J-school I learned that things might not always be as cut and dry as they seem, especially in incidents like this. We don't know a lot about what really happened. "Reportedly refused" sound a little like CYA words to me. Perhaps they tried to restrain him from leaving. It wouldn't be the first time cops used excessive force and blamed it on the victim. We just had an incident here where cops claimed that a student's injuries were sustained "resisting arrest" and by being "kicked by a police horse." It turned out that the incident was filmed and the kid in no way resisted and simply got the living crap beat out of him by amped up cops.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_cases_of_police_brutality_in_the_United_States
<<March 3, 2010: Also following the University of Maryland Men's basketball game against Duke, while standing alone attempting to take photographs for the University of Maryland student newspaper, student David Markman, 21, was beaten by members of the Prince George's County Police Prince George's County Police Department#John J. McKenna and Benjamin Donat incident then charged with disorderly conduct by police. David later located video shot on a cell phone and on the internet of himself shot by an independent witness which was revealed in court to prosecutors and police resulting in the charges against Markman being dropped>>
Lots of other interesting cases of police screw-ups. It happens.
http://voices.washingtonpost.com/crime-scene/ruben-castaneda/video-of-confrontation-after-u.html
<<The Prince George's County prosecutors have dropped charges against two University of Maryland students they claimed struck mounted Park Police officers and their horses after a basketball game in March. A video shot by another student, meanwhile, shows police beating one of those students without apparent provocation.>>
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amadou_Diallo_shooting
<<The officers claimed that they loudly identified themselves as NYPD officers and that Diallo ran up the outside steps toward his apartment house doorway at their approach, ignoring their orders to stop and "show his hands". The porch lightbulb was out and Diallo was backlit by the inside vestibule light, showing only a silhouette. Diallo then reached into his jacket and withdrew his wallet. Seeing the suspect holding a small square object, Carroll yelled "Gun!" to alert his colleagues. Believing Diallo had aimed a gun at them at close range, the officers opened fire on Diallo. During the shooting, lead officer McMellon tripped backward off the front stairs, causing the other officers to believe he had been shot. The four officers fired forty-one shots, hitting Diallo nineteen times>>
Maybe the guy who ended up getting tased was an SOB who deserved it. Maybe he was trying to leave and the TSA guys, who are admittedly not very well trained, put their hands on him first to restrain him (which is probably illegal since they have no arrest powers). Maybe he was having a hypoglycemic attack. Lots of people whom the police encounter and think are intoxicated are actually diabetics in a medical crisis. We've have a number of those cases here in Maryland, too.
The point I was making is still valid. Fu& with the TSA people at your own peril. They may not have arrest powers, but they certainly can get you arrested by someone nearby who does. Or tased.
I've always wondered what would happen if someone fired a cap pistol during a tense police/citizen altercation and yelled out 'GUN!"
-- Bobby G.
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On 3/2/2012 12:42 AM, Robert Green wrote:

They'd get one free ride to the mortuary.
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We don't know a lot

old habits die hard) made a baseless charge against the cops, either. By your own theory of not knowing what really happened, the headline is premature at best.

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Robert Neville wrote:

That's true.
Suppose the TSA, after peeking in your briefcase, wants to know the source of the $4,000 you're carrying. You decline to answer. They get all anal and, by-damn, demand to know. You still decline. They call law enforcement (in this case the FBI). The FBI tells the TSA they better back off, shut their mouth, and let the cash-carrier alone, or the TSA agents are in a world of hurt.
After an extended delay, the traveller is sent on his way.
The above was an actual case.
Now let's take a hypothetical. You are travelling with a locked briefcase. TSA wants you to open it. You refuse. TSA calls the cops. The cops ask you to open it. You again refuse.
The only legal sanction available to combined might of the TSA and the cops is to kick you off the train. Remember, exercising a legal right is NOT probable, or even sufficient, cause for an arrest. Inasmuch as the briefcase is locked, there is no "reasonable suspicion" that a crime is being committed to allow a "Terry Stop," that is, no weapons can be immediately available to you, putting the officer's life or anyone else's in danger.
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wrote:

"Remember, exercising a legal right is NOT probable, or even sufficient, cause for an arrest."
A pseudo-LEO like a TSA screener needs no reason to make a false arrest. I recall a case in NYC where officers claimed they had the right to break into an apartment because they heard what they believed were sounds of a struggle (pigeons had entered through an open window and were making cooing sounds). That probable cause did NOT stand a court challenge.
While I may be confident of my rights, I'm not as confident that a TSA screener knows the limits of his authority. One of the first stories I worked on 30 years ago was an overzealous security guard at MonkeyWards who had just shot an alleged shoplifter in the back with a gun he was not authorized to carry.
The TV show "Community" did a funny episode where the campus security guard asks his boss to promote him to "Security Detective" to which he replies "we're just guards, if we see something suspicious we call the real police."
I am certain you've run into the type before - the security guard that's going to "crack the big case." I am sure some of them are working for the TSA, waiting to catch the world's greatest terrorist and becoming famous for doing so. BTW, the guard that shot the man in the back (he wasn't even shoplifting - just running away from the guard because he thought he was crazy - and he was right!) didn't undestand why he was NOT being considered a hero or why MW decided to settle the case for six figures and then fire him.
The could be what YOU look like after resisting TSA commands, lawful or otherwise:
http://www.google.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcSlkc2jqH6jgOfvW2YSeALRaqxhSlvA-DysHRqBIEY8itSyGKweS5KSiJU -
-- Bobby G.
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This is must view video by Professor James Duane from Regent Law School.
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-4097602514885833865&hl=en #
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