There is no greater example of waste and tyranny, from the federal government, than the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). The Washington Times reported on Oct. 26, 2011, that the TSA has failed to catch a single terrorist suspect. Despite having a success rate of zero percent, the TSA is expanding it’s failed policies beyond airports.
Last October, the TSA was simultaneously present in Tennessee at 5 weigh stations and 2 Greyhound bus stations for a Visible Intermodal Prevention Response (VIPR pronounced viper) operation. According to Jennifer Donnals, Communications Director of the Tennessee Dept. of Safety and Homeland Security, only the cargo was randomly inspected at the weight stations and the TSA didn’t actively participate in the inspections but, “The TSA was present for the educational phase of this operation.” She further stated that the TSA did conduct “security checks on individuals boarding Greyhound buses,” but alarmingly justified it by saying the TSA “ha(s) the authority to conduct such inspections, as they do at airports.”
The stated purpose was crime detection and prevention, but the Los Angeles Times reported in December that the TSA admits that it has no proof that it’s roving VIPR teams are successful. Donnals’ response states that Tennessee is not the first state to conduct a joint federal-state VIPR operation, but the October operation was the largest to date.
On multiple occasions, I have instructed my State legislators to stop the federal government from fusing with State and local law enforcement. Senator Doug Overbey never responded to any communication. Representative Bob Ramsey responded by forwarding me Donnals’ response, which is the same response I received when I contacted the Dept. directly.
I composed a list of questions based on the response of the Dept. of Safety and Homeland Security, and sent them to my State legislators. Primarily I wanted to know what they were going to do to stop the unreasonable searches and also inquired why State law allows random inspections, what is deficient in our State law enforcement which warrants fusing with the TSA and if there’s any proven benefit to these roving random search operations. The list of questions can be viewed here.
Additionally, I asked Rep. Ramsey to sponsor legislation to stop the TSA from teaming with the Dept. of Safety and Homeland Security. His response was, “I can only hope that TDOT can help.” Sadly, I am left to wonder if Rep. Ramsey even realizes that TDOT is a separate agency from the Dept. of Safety and Homeland Security, which is the agency that coordinated with the TSA to conduct the random inspections.
The 4th amendment to the US Constitution is clear, but agents in all levels of government don’t care. The TSA conducted 9,300 roving random checkpoints in 2011, with 25 VIPR teams. Now this failed agency is asking Congress for an additional $24 million to add another dozen roving teams to grope you at bus stations. You will no longer be able to avoid the TSA by choosing not to fly.
There are two solutions. The first is to put your state and local elected officials feet to the fire by instructing them to stop taking federal grant money, to stop fusing with the TSA and to stop violating the 4th amendment. The other is to vote for Ron Paul for President in the March 6, 2012 Republican Presidential primary because he has proposed abolishing the TSA.