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12 More VIPR Teams & Expansion of TSA Checkpoints

Discussion in 'BBS Hangout: Debate & Discussion' started by Hightop, Dec 27, 2011.

  1. Hightop

    Hightop Member

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    Now remember: Taxes are what we pay for civilized society

    "The appearance of thousands more checkpoints on America’s highways and at key transport hubs will only heighten concerns that the country is headed towards a Soviet-style police state.

    Such fears were again expressed last week following the passage of the National Authorization Defense Act, a provision of which empowers the government to arrest Americans and hold them in a detention camp with no legal recourse."


    http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-terror-checkpoints-20111220,0,3213641.story

    TSA screenings aren't just for airports anymore

    Roving security teams increasingly visit train stations, subways and other mass transit sites to deter terrorism. Critics say it's largely political theater.

    By Brian Bennett, Washington Bureau
    5:03 PM PST, December 20, 2011
    Reporting from Charlotte, N.C.


    Rick Vetter was rushing to board the Amtrak train in Charlotte, N.C., on a recent Sunday afternoon when a canine officer suddenly blocked the way.

    Three federal air marshals in bulletproof vests and two officers trained to spot suspicious behavior watched closely as Seiko, a German shepherd, nosed Vetter's trousers for chemical traces of a bomb. Radiation detectors carried by the marshals scanned the 57-year-old lawyer for concealed nuclear materials.

    When Seiko indicated a scent, his handler, Julian Swaringen, asked Vetter whether he had pets at home in Garner, N.C. Two mutts, Vetter replied. "You can go ahead," Swaringen said.

    The Transportation Security Administration isn't just in airports anymore. TSA teams are increasingly conducting searches and screenings at train stations, subways, ferry terminals and other mass transit locations around the country.

    "We are not the Airport Security Administration," said Ray Dineen, the air marshal in charge of the TSA office in Charlotte. "We take that transportation part seriously."

    The TSA's 25 "viper" teams — for Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response — have run more than 9,300 unannounced checkpoints and other search operations in the last year. Department of Homeland Security officials have asked Congress for funding to add 12 more teams next year.

    According to budget documents, the department spent $110 million in fiscal 2011 for "surface transportation security," including the TSA's viper program, and is asking for an additional $24 million next year. That compares with more than $5 billion for aviation security.

    TSA officials say they have no proof that the roving viper teams have foiled any terrorist plots or thwarted any major threat to public safety. But they argue that the random nature of the searches and the presence of armed officers serve as a deterrent and bolster public confidence.

    "We have to keep them [terrorists] on edge," said Frank Cilluffo, director of the Homeland Security Policy Institute at George Washington University in Washington. "We're not going to have a permanent presence everywhere."

    U.S. officials note that digital files recovered from Osama bin Laden's compound in Pakistan after he was killed by U.S. Navy SEALs in May included evidence that the Al Qaeda leader had considered an attack on U.S. railways in February 2010. Over the last decade, deadly bombings have hit subways or trains in Moscow; Mumbai, India; Madrid; and London.

    But critics say that without a clear threat, the TSA checkpoints are merely political theater. Privacy advocates worry that the agency is stretching legal limits on the government's right to search U.S. citizens without probable cause — and with no proof that the scattershot checkpoints help prevent attacks.

    "It's a great way to make the public think you are doing something," said Fred H. Cate, a professor at the Indiana University Maurer School of Law, who writes on privacy and security. "It's a little like saying, 'If we start throwing things up in the air, will they hit terrorists?' ''

    Such criticism is nothing new to the TSA.

    The agency came under fresh fire this month when three elderly women with medical devices complained that TSA agents had strip-searched them in separate incidents at John F. Kennedy International Airport. Lenore Zimmerman, 84, said she was ordered to pull down her pants after she refused to pass through a full body scanner because she was afraid the machine would interfere with her heart defibrillator.

    TSA officials denied the women were strip-searched, but they announced plans to create a toll-free telephone number for passengers with medical conditions who require assistance in airport screening lines. TSA officials said they also are considering a proposal by Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) to designate a passengers advocate at every airport.

    The TSA's viper program hasn't drawn that kind of attention, although it is increasingly active.

    In Tennessee in October, a viper team used radiation monitors and explosive-trace detectors to help state police inspect trucks at highway weigh stations throughout the state. Last month in Orlando, Fla., a team set up metal detectors at a Greyhound bus station and tested passengers' bags for explosive residue.

    In the Carolinas this year, TSA teams have checked people at the gangplanks of cruise ships, the entrance to NASCAR races, and at ferry terminals taking tourists to the Outer Banks.

    At the Charlotte train station on Dec. 11, Seiko, the bomb-sniffing dog, snuffled down a line of about 100 passengers waiting to board an eastbound train. Many were heading home after watching the Charlotte Panthers NFL team lose to the Atlanta Falcons after holding a 16-point lead.

    No one seemed especially perturbed by the TSA team.

    "It's probably overkill," said Karen Stone, 26, after a behavior-detection officer asked her about the Panthers game and her trip home to Raleigh.

    "It's cool," said Marcus Baldwin, 21, who was heading home to Mebane, near Burlington, where he waits tables to help pay for computer technology classes. "They're doing what our tax money is paying them to do."

    "I'm mostly curious," said Barbara Spencer, 75, who was heading home to Chapel Hill after watching her grandson perform in a Christmas play. She asked the officers whether a terrorist threat had required the extra security. No, they replied.

    Vetter, the lawyer, had attended the game with his son, Noah. They jogged for the train after Seiko had finished his sniff, but Vetter had bigger worries on his mind. "The Panthers blew it," he said.

    brian.bennett@latimes.com

    Copyright © 2011, Los Angeles Times
     
  2. Classic

    Classic Member

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    Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.

    -Benjamin Franklin

    But ya, let's give Obama and these stooges in congress another term.
     
  3. Johndoe804

    Johndoe804 Member

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  4. rockergordon

    rockergordon Member

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    Republicans blame the Democrats, and Democrats blame the Republicans. The policy is enacted regardless of party affiliation.
     
  5. MoonDogg

    MoonDogg Member

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  6. Johndoe804

    Johndoe804 Member

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    I wish more people on this board could understand this. Seems like a lot of people on this board are more loyal to their party than they are their principles.
     
  7. Qball

    Qball Contributing Member

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  8. Bandwagoner

    Bandwagoner Contributing Member

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  9. Major

    Major Member

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    Did they decide not to hold Congressional elections in 2012? :confused:
     
  10. Bandwagoner

    Bandwagoner Contributing Member

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    How many of your reps
    1. voted for it
    2. Are up for reelection?

    Out of the 419 "voters" he listed, he neglected to list the most powerful "voter". The motivation is obvious.
     
  11. Qball

    Qball Contributing Member

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    Ohhh, somehow it's all Obama's fault...makes perfect sense...just like the video below...

    <table style='font:11px arial; color:#333; background-color:#f5f5f5' cellpadding='0' cellspacing='0' width='512' height='340'><tbody><tr style='background-color:#e5e5e5' valign='middle'><td style='padding:2px 1px 0px 5px;'><a target='_blank' style='color:#333; text-decoration:none; font-weight:bold;' href='http://www.thedailyshow.com'>The Daily Show With Jon Stewart</a></td><td style='padding:2px 5px 0px 5px; text-align:right; font-weight:bold;'>Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c</td></tr><tr style='height:14px;' valign='middle'><td style='padding:2px 1px 0px 5px;' colspan='2'><a target='_blank' style='color:#333; text-decoration:none; font-weight:bold;' href='http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/wed-may-12-2010/back-in-black---glenn-beck-s-nazi-tourette-s'>Back in Black - Glenn Beck's Nazi Tourette's</a></td></tr><tr style='height:14px; background-color:#353535' valign='middle'><td colspan='2' style='padding:2px 5px 0px 5px; width:512px; overflow:hidden; text-align:right'><a target='_blank' style='color:#96deff; text-decoration:none; font-weight:bold;' href='http://www.thedailyshow.com/'>www.thedailyshow.com</a></td></tr><tr valign='middle'><td style='padding:0px;' colspan='2'><embed style='display:block' src='http://media.mtvnservices.com/mgid:cms:item:comedycentral.com:309153' width='512' height='288' type='application/x-shockwave-flash' wmode='window' allowFullscreen='true' flashvars='autoPlay=false' allowscriptaccess='always' allownetworking='all' bgcolor='#000000'></embed></td></tr><tr style='height:18px;' valign='middle'><td style='padding:0px;' colspan='2'><table style='margin:0px; text-align:center' cellpadding='0' cellspacing='0' width='100%' height='100%'><tr valign='middle'><td style='padding:3px; width:33%;'><a target='_blank' style='font:10px arial; color:#333; text-decoration:none;' href='http://www.thedailyshow.com/full-episodes/'>Daily Show Full Episodes</a></td><td style='padding:3px; width:33%;'><a target='_blank' style='font:10px arial; color:#333; text-decoration:none;' href='http://www.indecisionforever.com/'>Political Humor & Satire Blog</a></td><td style='padding:3px; width:33%;'><a target='_blank' style='font:10px arial; color:#333; text-decoration:none;' href='http://www.facebook.com/thedailyshow'>The Daily Show on Facebook</a></td></tr></table></td></tr></tbody></table>

    "Blame Obama" Tourette's?
     
  12. Major

    Major Member

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    Every rep is up for re-election, and nearly 2/3rd voted for it. So the majority of people in the country (and even moreso in Texas) will have the opportunity to vote against a Rep that voted for it.
     
  13. SamFisher

    SamFisher Virtuous

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    School Tours of the Capitol
    Field trips to the U.S. Capitol can be powerful learning experiences.



    The Capitol is open to school groups for guided tours only. Tours are conducted 8:45 AM – 3:30 PM, Monday through Saturday. The Capitol is not available for tours on Sundays.

    You may want to include additional time in your schedule to view the House and Senate Chamber galleries and to visit your representative and / or senators’ offices. The gallery of the Senate Chamber is open to visitors when the Senate is in session. The House of Representatives Chamber gallery is open to visitors when the House is in session and additionally 9 AM – 4:30 PM, Monday through Friday when the House is not in session. Gallery passes may be obtained from the office of your senators or representative. Use the Find your Representative feature in the banner by entering your ZIP code or view by state. Find your senator on the Senate website.

    For more information and to reserve a tour, visit the Capitol Visitor Center website.
     
  14. ToyCen428

    ToyCen428 Member

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  15. SamFisher

    SamFisher Virtuous

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    hopefully the VIPER teams are closing in on the Paulista compound as we speak and will neutralize him and his forces;

    We are very close and our goal is within reach, it is only the Paulista army that stands between us and total Obamadomination of their minds and bodily fluids.

    I will relay this intel to Cobra Kommander Obama's head Sturm-Serpent
     
  16. larsv8

    larsv8 Contributing Member

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    I am 100% completely against this no matter what party proposed it or who voted for it.

    This is not needed, too expensive, and a violation of our civil liberties. It should be overturned immediately.
     
    1 person likes this.
  17. Johndoe804

    Johndoe804 Member

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    Technically, he could have vetoed this, right? I suppose we'd also have to blame Congress for passing this, and the media for not calling them out on it, and the people for not paying attention and for voting for these clowns...
     
  18. Qball

    Qball Contributing Member

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    Technically, the USSR could have won the cold war right? Then we probably wouldn't have Obama as President or the position of "President" for that matter.

    Don't play that game. Start at the root cause.
     
  19. Johndoe804

    Johndoe804 Member

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    Well, not even technically, really. He could have vetoed it, and Congress would have pushed it through anyway, and I wouldn't have even mentioned that he could have vetoed it, because that would have been the case. It isn't like I'm throwing out a completely impossible hypothetical here.. :rolleyes:
     
  20. Qball

    Qball Contributing Member

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    My point is that CaseyH (and you) are implicitely stating that the ability to prevent this bill from becoming law is shouldered mostly or solely by Obama.

    Yes he could have vetoed it but the house and senate should never have passed it. And to state bluntly, this is a republican bill that most Americans would be against but the democrats (including the President) don't have the guts/motivation to go against it. Hence why I posted the tally in the first place. Hightop and his fellow conservatives love to play the small govt card and criticize Obama while the GOP passes a bill violating civil liberties right under their noses.
     

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