Ethan A. Huff
December 2, 2010
Terrorizing innocent travelers at airports is simply not enough for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The agency recently tested a new program known as VIPER (Visual Intermodal Protection and Response) which involved placing Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officials at Greyhound bus stations in Tampa to pat down and grope ground travelers. The agency even brought in local police with sniff dogs to allegedly help improve overall security.
Gary Milano, the federal security director for TSA at Tampa International Airport and several surrounding airports, told reporters at a press conference that the purpose of the new measure is “to sort of invent the wheel in advance, in case … there ever is specific intelligence requiring us to be here. This way, us and our partners are ready to move in at a moment’s notice.”
- A d v e r t i s e m e n t
In other words, there really is no legitimate — or legal — reason for TSA agents be frisking passengers at bus stops, but as long as the cited reasons include “security”, the public is simply supposed to accept the unwarranted checkpoints as a necessary evil for the sake of improved safety.
“What we’re looking for are threats to national security as well as immigration law violators,” explained Steve McDonald from the U.S. Border Patrol, also trying to legitimize the efforts to the public.
But the endeavor is really nothing more then yet another violation of civil liberties in the name of security. Harassing travelers and looking for “immigration law violators” without a warrant is a clear violation of the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution which states that “a search or seizure is generally unreasonable and unconstitutional, if conducted without a valid warrant.”
Sources for this story include: