TSA VIPR team keeps tabs on fans
Paul Joseph Watson
December 31, 2012
TSA agents were out in force during yesterday’s Vikings-Packers game at the Metrodome in Minnesota, in addition to a surveillance drone that was spotted keeping tabs on fans – another illustration of how the federal agency is expanding its remit well outside the realm of transportation.
Attorney Nathan M. Hansen took photographs of the spy drone and the TSA VIPR agents and posted them to his twitter feed following the game yesterday afternoon.
The images show TSA VIPR agents standing around the Metrodome fan plaza on the west side, as well as a small drone hovering high above.
It’s likely that the drone was under the operation of Homeland Security given its close proximity to the VIPR agents, although an alternative explanation is that the drone was being used for sports photography.
“You can see the four rotors pretty well on these pics. It is comparable to the sports photography drone linked below as well – I figured it might just be a civilian hobbyist drone or some weird sports media project drone until the VIPR team was found by Hansen,” reports Hong Pong.
“I am just delighted that the national government had to borrow more money at interest from the Federal Reserve System in order to send out these guys and their fancy flying spy robot to the Vikings/Packers game. We get the twin benefits of national debt slavery AND a surveillance state with nothing useful to do!”
Whether the drone was being operated under the auspices of the DHS or not, the presence of TSA agents at the game serves as another reminder that this widely loathed federal agency continues to metastasize into an occupational security force.
Last year, the NFL announced that it would phase in TSA-style pat downs of fans entering stadiums. The Department of Homeland Security has also worked closely with the NFL on numerous occasions to promote its “See Something, Say Something” snitch campaign.
As we have exhaustively documented, the TSA has long since expanded outside of airports, and is now in the process of transforming itself into a security force that will have a presence at virtually every major public venue, from sports events, to political functions, to music concerts.
Before the February 2012 Super Bowl, the TSA attracted derision for a program which trained thousands of fast food sellers and other vendors to spot terrorists under the “First Observer” program. VIPR teams were also out in force at the stadium and nearby transportation hubs.
Earlier this month, we reported on how the TSA was seeking permission from the Office of Management and Budget to conduct “security assessments” on highways as well as at 140 other public transportation hubs, including bus depots and train stations.
Last year, the TSA was responsible for over 9,000 checkpoints across the United States, a number set to increase thanks to the agency’s bloated budget and its expansion beyond anything vaguely related to transportation. Since its inception in the US after 9/11, the TSA has grown in size exponentially. The agency was slammed in a recent congressional report for wasting hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars on security theater.
One such checkpoint involving TSA agents took place last year in Tennessee, where Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response (VIPR) teams checked trucks at five weigh stations and two bus stations in the state, as well as making trucks pass through x-ray scanners. TSA officials also used the checkpoint to try and recruit truck drivers to become citizen snitches under the First Observer Highway Security Program.