Thankfully I don’t have to abide by any restrictive guidelines or be careful to step on toes or saying the inappropriate thing. This is MY piece of cyberspace and I do with it, what I want. Now the topic at hand that black hole of a department called the TSA, which literally translates to “Thousands Standing Around” because that is essentially what this “security” (and I use that word loosely) does.

While the U.S. Government will lead you to believe that air travel is safer since 9-11 and the inception of the DHS, of which the TSA are their official mall cops. When I was at the airlines they were contracted to man the security checkpoints and were called, “airport security screeners.” I am sure many of you went through a magnetometer in the “old days” when you didn’t have strip down to your skivvies or worry about being man handed by some TSO if you set off the alarm or being something questionable through the checkpoint.

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” (source).

As I have been saying for years, this is nothing by window dressing! Their alleged law enforcement powers are still nil! What happens when there is an issue at a security checkpoint these days. When the TSA supervisor cannot resolve the issue, local law enforcement are called in, while the TSOs go on about their duties of securing air travel for our nation. I feel soooo safe! *sarcasm*

It would only be fitting that a new piece of legislation, H.R. 308: Stop TSA’s Reach In Policy Act or STRIP (who comes up with these acronyms) will, “prohibit certain employees of the Transportation Security Administration from using the title of “officer” and from wearing uniforms and carrying badges resembling those of law enforcement officers” (source). Seriously? We are going to have legislative bodies discuss this, wasting and time money, which they are very good at. But come on there must be a better way to accomplish correcting what is wrong with the TSA.

Unfortunately the DHS continues to expand their scope of powers with their VIPR or Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response teams away from our nation’s airports. These teams conduct unannounced checkpoints. Almost sounds like Nazi Germany. Papers? I need papers? TSOs are among the ranks of VIPR teams as well, still with no more power than a mall cop.

So remember if you are approached y a TSO, wearing their fancy blue uniforming, the gleaming gold badge, you don’t have to show them a damn thing. They have no powers and have not undergone any official “officer” training to use such a title. Unfortunate the government will continue to deny the truth about 9-11 and these random checkpoints are becoming more common in the United States.


I Won’t Submit!

It really comes as no surprise. These days it seems increasingly difficult to go anywhere without the possibility of being searched by the TSA. Their duties, which include the groping and molestation of of thousands a year is usually confined to airport security checkpoints, their presence “seem to involve giving airport-style pat-downs and screenings of unsuspecting passengers at bus terminals, ferries, and even subways(source).

These “random” screenings are part of the TSA’s VIPR (Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response) program. “The VIPR program first started doing searches in 2007, and has grown since then. Currently, the TSA only has 25 VIPR teams doing these impromptu searches: in 2012, it wants to get 12 more.” These unlawful searches are being conducted to help avoid incidents like the 2004 Madrid train bombings.

In 2009 the VIPR program made an appearance during the July 4th weekend in the Bay Area on BART. “According to a Transportation Security Administration spokesman, the VIPR team’s mission is to share Washington, D.C.’s anti-terrorist security tactics with local transit police and train them in federal procedures, plus sometimes also serving as extra staff for special events. In theory, this sounds like a good idea” (source). The weekend was spent playing “tour guide” to the visiting agents.

While VIPR is being rolled out nationwide, which now includes ICE and Border Patrol, YOU are being targeted illegally. I am curious since I ride the train 3 days a week what will happen if I am stopped for a “random seach.” First I ride as an employee of BART. Much like the airlines, I am sure that does not make me exempt. Second I carry a few knives with me. One a Swiss Army pocket knife and second a Gerber serrated, folding knife. Should I expect both of these items to be confiscated from me? If this were an airline checkpoint, you can damn well bet they illegally take my belongings.

What else would be interesting to note is what their response would be, if I refused and decided to leave the station. I am sure my “behavior indicators” (which I have commented on before) would tell them I am hiding something and deemed a target. This would possibly give them “just cause” to detain and search me.

There have been stories posted, most notably Michael Roberts, an ExpressJet Airlines Pilot who refused and attempted to leave the checkpoint before submitting to a security screening. You can read what transpired. We’ll have to wait and see what happens if (more likely) when random screening is implemented. This is definitely the start of the story with no end in sight and probably only going to get worse.