Passengers asked to “volunteer” to have bags searched
Jan 25, 2013
Not content with treating people like prisoners in the nation’s airports, the TSA is rapidly expanding its operations with random spot checks on Amtrak trains. This was in full evidence yesterday in Austin, Texas, as passengers at Lamar Boulevard station were treated to random bag checks at the hands of agents and drug sniffing dogs.
The TSA agents, as well as Austin police officers, and officials from the Department of Homeland Security all descended on the station yesterday morning at 9.30am.
“The security at airports has increased so the bad guys are now traveling on the trains and buses,” TSA official George Robinson told kxan news. Of course, no “bad guys” were actually discovered. In fact, nothing was discovered, other than a few disgruntled passengers who did not appreciate the government rifling through their bags.
“These facilities are not necessarily protected as well,” Robinson added, noting “We do impromptu visits at locations throughout the country.”
The random checks are labeled as “voluntary”, purely because if they were anything but, they would be unconstitutional, violating the Fourth Amendment, which protects against unreasonable searches.
As outlined in the video report, all passengers were asked by TSA agents to place their bags down on the platform to allow dogs to sniff away at them in search of drugs or explosives.
When the train arrived, the dogs were also taken on board to check the cargo holds.
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.
Steve Watson is the London based writer and editor for Alex Jones’ Infowars.com, and Prisonplanet.com. He has a Masters Degree in International Relations from the School of Politics at The University of Nottingham, and a Bachelor Of Arts Degree in Literature and Creative Writing from Nottingham Trent University.