Friday, October 21, 2011

Tennessee Becomes First State with TSA Agent Checkpoints on Highways and at Bus Stations

When the TSA hits the airports, I distinctly remember Alex Jones saying that we would soon see the TSA at or around the sporting events, ports and highways. That was around 2008 or 2009. Well, it is now 2011 and yes, the TSA is setting up agents at checkpoints on Tennessee highways. And while my home State of Tennessee is the first State with TSA agents on its highway, it won't be the last.

Tuesday Tennessee was first to deploy VIPR simultaneously at five weigh stations and two bus stations across the state.

Checkpoints seem to attract violence. They cause traffic and bottlenecks. They also restrict and impede the flow of traffic. These checkpoints will be no different. I fully expect we will be reading about some violent act occurring at one of these checkpoints in the near future.

The reporter says it is a "army of agents on wheels." At 1:40, the reporter presents the story as if this operation finds some dangerous threat to national security. At a minimum to justify this type of operation, perhaps the guy is carrying illegal fuel. Nope, he just carrying some chemicals that "seem suspicious." And in the end, there is nothing wrong with this guy's cargo. Yet, I wonder how long he was detained while the TSA agents illegally searched his cargo without probable cause.

Airports are mainly federal jurisdiction, so I understand the TSA operating within those confines. I may not agree, but I understand. And under a similar rationale, the TSA will now be operating on the interstate highways with the consent of the State and local jurisdictions. No word on whether these agents will be permanent. However, I say that unless the TSA loses its operating budget, then these agents will not be leaving anytime soon.

As for what the Visible Intermodal Protection and Response team does, here is the information directly from the TSA.

Visible Intermodal Protection and Response (VIPR) teams consist of a combination of STSIs, Federal Air Marshals, explosive-detection canine teams, Aviation Security Inspectors, and Transportation Security Officers. The teams provide a random, announced, high-visibility surge into a transit agency, in addition to enhancing agency resources during special events. More than 50 mass transit deployments have occurred since the program was initiated in December 2005. Regional planning and execution is increasing the frequency of deployments and enhancing local expertise, thereby increasing the terrorism deterrent effect. Recent examples include VIPR deployments at the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) system in Boston, at Amtrak facilities in Boston, upstate New York, Philadelphia and Washington DC, and at the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority and Amtrak facilities in Buffalo, New York.

Source: (Nashville)

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