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Mission Creep at the TSA?
National Geographic Traveler ^ | Feb/Mar 2013 | Christopher Elliott

Posted on 04/03/2013 6:36:33 AM PDT by Dad was my hero

By Christopher Elliott

From the February/March 2013 issue of National Geographic Traveler

Like it or not, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is an unavoidable presence at American airports, from the full-body scanners and “enhanced” pat-downs to shoes on the conveyor belt and ziplock bags filled with trial-size toothpaste.

But it’s becoming almost as difficult to avoid the TSA outside the airport, too. Today, you can be pulled over at a highway checkpoint staffed by TSA agents, courtesy of the agency’s VIPR program (that’s short for Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response team, and pronounced “viper,” by the way). Its most high-profile traffic stop happened in Tennessee in 2011—a training exercise, officials insisted. This year, TSA administrator John S. Pistole requested funding for 37 teams of roving screeners to the tune of $100 million.

You might encounter a TSA screening area when you’re at the train station or the subway. In one memorable 2011 incident, Amtrak passengers disembarking in Savannah, Georgia, were screened before they could leave the station. TSA agents have even been spotted at NFL games and political conventions. According to Government Executive, an extra 55 TSA screeners were on hand to help the Secret Service check delegates at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte last summer. That’s a real stretch of the agency’s mandate, even for the most security-obsessed traveler.

Is this mission creep? To agency insiders, the answer is: Of course not. TSA is just fulfilling its objectives. “TSA’s mission is to secure transportation systems,” writes Pistole on the TSA website. No qualifiers about aviation security, thanks very much. Defenders of the agency say that it is precisely because of its broad mandate that it has (together with other law enforcement agencies) prevented another 9/11. “By some measures, the TSA has scored a clear success,” observed the nonpartisan Congressional Quarterly in a recent cover story. “No terrorist has staged a successful attack on a flight from a U.S. airport since September 11.” One of the most ardent defenders of the TSA is travel guidebook guru Arthur Frommer. “Every time I am patted down, I am grateful for security agents who take their jobs seriously,” he wrote on his blog. “I am conscious of the fact that their zealousness is deterring all sorts of would-be terrorists from attempting to carry weapons onto planes.”

Critics say there’s no causal relationship between a TSA with a sprawling mandate and the absence of a terrorist attack. Fred Cate, a law professor at Indiana University, says screeners are conducting the law-enforcement equivalent of a clumsy police dragnet. “They’re throwing something at the wall to see if it sticks.” He and others are troubled that the random roadside checkpoints and the intermittent security screenings at subway and train stations could become permanent. Groups such as the Electronic Privacy Information Center are taking a lead in advocating limits to what they view as an expansive TSA. The center is suing the federal government on the decision to deploy body scanners and to ensure the right of the public to have its views heard.

The consequences of going too far in either direction could be serious. We have to carefully balance security against privacy; otherwise we risk becoming a show-me-your-papers-please nation with troubling echoes of other closed societies. “Governments good and bad have always cited national security, the prevention of terrorism, and the defense of freedom as their excuses for surveillance and control of people’s movements,” says Edward Hasbrouck, a privacy advocate who is one of the leading voices against TSA overreach. “But we can’t defend freedom by adopting measures that prevent us from exercising the rights we profess to believe in.”

Has the TSA prevented one or more terrorist attacks? That’s unanswerable. But I think the price has been high. And I fear that the cost could rise, just to make us feel safe when we travel. We need to order up just enough security as is necessary—and no more.

Previous attempts to define and limit the TSA have failed, despite a blistering 2012 congressional report that recommended downsizing and privatizing parts of the TSA, and several bills designed to contain the agency’s reach. TSA reform didn’t register as an election-year concern, and neither candidate took a meaningful stance on the issue. Obviously, no political party wants to be the first to reexamine the security apparatus created more than a decade ago, and risk the political repercussions if there’s another 9/11-style attack.

Fellow travelers, let’s call for one sensible step: Revise the TSA’s mission statement to limit its activity to air transportation. After all, we have local and state police, highway patrols, Customs and Border Protection, and, if necessary, the National Guard to protect roads, bridges, railways, and the occasional Super Bowl game. Adding a single word—“air”—to its mission would end its controversial VIPR program. One word would put the TSA’s enormous budget into perspective, allowing lawmakers to ask—and answer—the question: How much do we want to spend on aviation security? I’m willing to bet it would be significantly less than the $7.4 billion Americans currently pay for the TSA.

Editor at large Christopher Elliott addresses readers’ travel problems. E-mail your story to celliott@ngs.org.


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Government; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: tsa; viper; vipr
Just decided to expand their presence. I know I feel better.
1 posted on 04/03/2013 6:36:33 AM PDT by Dad was my hero
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To: Dad was my hero

that was sarcasm, tag got dropped.


2 posted on 04/03/2013 6:38:25 AM PDT by Dad was my hero
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To: Dad was my hero

Yes the government is creepy!


3 posted on 04/03/2013 6:42:43 AM PDT by mountainlion (Live well for those that did not make it back.)
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To: Dad was my hero

4 posted on 04/03/2013 6:47:54 AM PDT by fieldmarshaldj (Resist We Much)
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To: Dad was my hero

mission creep is a natural phenomenon that goes on in every government agency, industrial department, etc.

Every manager wants to build a kingdom - it’s in their DNA - been there, done that!!

And their overseer is responsibility to put in adequate controls.


5 posted on 04/03/2013 7:02:09 AM PDT by elpadre (AfganistaMr Obama said the goal was to "disrupt, dismantle and defeat al-hereQaeda" and its allies.)
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To: Dad was my hero

Mission leap.


6 posted on 04/03/2013 7:02:42 AM PDT by Georgia Girl 2 (The only purpose of a pistol is to fight your way back to the rifle you should never have dropped.)
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To: Dad was my hero

Rest easy, America, the TSA is on the job.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_qLie2058dI


7 posted on 04/03/2013 7:03:35 AM PDT by dfwgator
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To: Dad was my hero

For all those who accept the loss of 4th Amendment rights just for the “privilege” to fly, thanks a lot for what you have allowed to happen.

This is why I went from 120+ flights per year to ZERO.

I am completely fed up with the hoops we are forced to jump through every time some scum of the earth does something bad.

A mental defective shoots people, honest citizens lose more of their 2nd Amendment rights which were to never have been infringed. You would be hard pressed to find a more wiggle free phrase in the BOR or Constitution than “SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED” but we let them infringe.

6th Century sand monkeys fly airplanes into our buildings, honest citizens 4th Amendment rights are thrown out the window.

Some syphilis infected druggie makes some illegal drugs using cold medicine and we have to show our ID to curb the sniffles (but don’t dare require ID to vote).

Genetically inferior sand monkeys with a totally fake religion communicate over the internet/phones and once again our government violates the 4th Amendment uses programs like Carnivore and others to monitor our communications.

Under the guise of “hate crimes” the government has significantly cut into our 1st Amendment protections and mark my words they WILL ban any speech against mudslimes, SSAD perverts, abortionists, ... etc.

The noose of government is tightening every day with every new piece of legislation and regulation and we allow it to happen.

MAYBE, just MAYBE it is time for us to DEMAND government increase the penalties on CRIMINALS and ENFORCE those penalties and leave honest citizens alone. Start with a ban on Islam as it is a death cult and not a religion. It servers no positive purpose in civilization.


8 posted on 04/03/2013 7:05:51 AM PDT by Wurlitzer (Nothing says "ignorance" like Islam!)
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To: Dad was my hero

Complete unjustified Federal policing. It _was_ a _well_ established legal fact, that there is _no_ Federal police powers. This power is the states alone.

The only exception is Federal policing of Federal property: Federal Court and other Federal buildings, Federal Parks...

A government gone wild.


9 posted on 04/03/2013 7:22:10 AM PDT by veracious
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To: Wurlitzer

Excellent rant! My sentiments exactly and it’s not about public safety, but the building of bureaucratic police empires in this nation of ours. Don’t forget that in the Third Reich the Gestapo, SS, Waffen SS, Wehrmacht, and Abwehr were separate entities of ambition & deeply distrustful of one another.

As for Islam, it has NO upside and Makkah the unholy city of Allah-Satan needs to be nuked into glowing ashes!


10 posted on 04/03/2013 7:22:42 AM PDT by elcid1970 ("The Second Amendment is more important than Islam.")
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To: Wurlitzer

I fly occasionally as my kids are scattered and sometimes flying is the only way I can get to visit them because of time and I can’t drive for long periods due to neck injury. But if I could completely give up flying as you did because of the TSA goons I would. On the other hand, I know I would not be cooperative if I was stopped by them for no good reason driving on the road minding my own business. How would you handle it?


11 posted on 04/03/2013 7:33:39 AM PDT by Rusty0604
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To: Dad was my hero

While the Too Stupid for Arbys crowd strip searches children, the illegal aliens work the airplanes and wander the airports.


12 posted on 04/03/2013 7:39:35 AM PDT by CodeToad (Liberals are bloodsucking ticks. We need to light the matchstick to burn them off.)
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To: Rusty0604

Politely ask to see the search warrant with your name on it. If necessary, ask if you are being arrested. Ask if the agent’s grandmother’s 4th amendment rights have also been violated.


13 posted on 04/03/2013 7:39:51 AM PDT by Pecos (If more sane people carried guns, fewer crazies would get off a second shot.)
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To: Dad was my hero

Not hard to imagine we will soon need TSA permission to leave home. . .after all, need a pat-down before you enter the world, just to make sure you aren’t a bomb-carrying terrorist. . .or worse, have more than 3 oz of shampoo on you.


14 posted on 04/03/2013 7:46:08 AM PDT by Hulka
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To: Pecos

Thanks, I figured if they want to look in the car to ask for a search waarant. If they just ask where am I going, doing, just ask them if I’m being arrested for driving down the road and if not it’s none of their business?


15 posted on 04/03/2013 7:46:50 AM PDT by Rusty0604
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To: Rusty0604

“On the other hand, I know I would not be cooperative if I was stopped by them for no good reason driving on the road minding my own business. How would you handle it?”


I have actually had a similar situation albeit not while driving and here is what I did.

I was reporting for Jury Duty at the Erie County building in Buffalo, NY and the doughnut challenged EC Sheriff demanded I place my computer bag on the scanner conveyor and walk through the metal detector. I refused telling him I demanded to see a warrant for such a search.

He said “we have been doing this for years” to which I replied, “well you have been violating the Constitution for years”.

He asked me why I was there and I told him “I was reporting for Jury Duty”.

He then said, AND I QUOTE: “you should just do what I do when I get those notices, just throw them out”

To which I replied “well unlike you, I obey the law”.

I guess I caught him so flat footed he gave up and let me pass without the search.

We must push back every time government tries to exceed its authority otherwise this will only get worse as there will nothing or nobody to stop them.

I can relay a similar push back story about me and a US Senator (that I won) but the issue would be a bit off topic.


16 posted on 04/03/2013 8:10:27 AM PDT by Wurlitzer (Nothing says "ignorance" like Islam!)
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To: Wurlitzer

“I can relay a similar push back story about me and a US Senator (that I won) but the issue would be a bit off topic.”

I, and many other I am sure, are surious.

Tell us.

Always nice to hear about the ruling class getting swatted down a peg or twelve.


17 posted on 04/03/2013 8:16:03 AM PDT by Hulka
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To: Dad was my hero

             


Folks, your flights keep their hands in your crotch

18 posted on 04/03/2013 8:23:57 AM PDT by tomkat
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To: Hulka

““I can relay a similar push back story about me and a US Senator (that I won) but the issue would be a bit off topic.”

I, and many other I am sure, are surious.

Tell us.

Always nice to hear about the ruling class getting swatted down a peg or twelve.”


I was working a trade show in Philly and my back went into spasm so I headed back to my hotel.

I walked up to the 2 elevators and there were 2 security guards there blocking the entry (the door was open on only one). One of the guards looked like a black Kojak but as I am no pencil neck I said:

“I suppose you are holding that elevator for someone more important than me?”

He said, and again I quote exactly: “why yes, this elevator is waiting for for a US Senator” (he did not state the name).

As I pushed him out of the way I said “I am a paid guest at this hotel and being a Senator only makes him my servant”.

As I entered the elevator, I heard him say over his radio, “Senator, you need to wait for a minute as the elevator is in use”. I assumed the Senator was outside in his, or should I say, OUR car.

Being in pain makes me even less likely to suffer BS from our servants.

Don’t get me wrong, I am polite to them UNTIL they first cross the line. After that, not so much.


19 posted on 04/03/2013 8:32:55 AM PDT by Wurlitzer (Nothing says "ignorance" like Islam!)
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To: Dad was my hero
funding for 37 teams of roving screeners to the tune of $100 million

That's $270,270.027 per team.

To cover 2 or 3 brand new vehicles.

Plus salary for each TSA agent.

Plus money for equipment including ammo.

Now, if the head of the 37 teams forgo the new vehicles
and gets used vehicles, then he can save some money.

For himself.

Huh.

20 posted on 04/03/2013 8:39:53 AM PDT by Slyfox (The Key to Marxism is Medicine ~ Vladimir Lenin)
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To: Dad was my hero

So what are these roadside checks looking for? Is it my lawfully held side arm or the several guns and hundreds of rounds of ammo that I am transporting to a competition? Perhaps they seek the one or two thousand dollars in cash that I choose to carry while on a trip since I only use credit cards to secure lodging? This is starting to sound like Mexico with its roadside extortion kiosks.


21 posted on 04/03/2013 8:42:30 AM PDT by Lion Den Dan
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To: Wurlitzer

Thanks for sharing.


22 posted on 04/03/2013 8:45:49 AM PDT by Rusty0604
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To: Lion Den Dan
Perhaps they seek the one or two thousand dollars in cash that I choose to carry while on a trip since I only use credit cards to secure lodging?

But how can they be sure that you aren't laundering that money? /s

Regards,

23 posted on 04/03/2013 8:48:57 AM PDT by alexander_busek (Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.)
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To: Lion Den Dan

My thoughts when I read the article and decided to post it.


24 posted on 04/03/2013 8:53:32 AM PDT by Dad was my hero
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To: Pecos
Ask if the agent’s grandmother’s 4th amendment rights have also been violated.

Assuming the goon stopping you actually knows the content of the 4th Amendment. Debatable premise.

25 posted on 04/03/2013 9:31:04 AM PDT by Hoffer Rand (There ARE two Americas: "God's children" and the tax payers)
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To: Dad was my hero

The name is “Transportation” Security Agency, not “Airline” Security Agency.

This is Obama’s goon squad to crack down on ALL forms of transportation. They will clamp down on car travel as soon as they have ramped up enough numbers of goons to do so.

People here say “just don’t fly”. Sorry, but this is going to extend to every form of travel, not just flight.

Kiss your freedom good-bye. The Republicans want this as much as the Democrats. We who love our liberty have no representation. None.


26 posted on 04/03/2013 10:33:35 AM PDT by Freedom_Is_Not_Free (Free goodies for all -- Freedom for none.)
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To: Rusty0604

The same people who surrender their rights in the airport will also surrender their rights on the road. The bigger issue is that when the bulk of people surrender their rights, people like me just look crazy to the people in power. Because we no longer stand together in demanding our rights, my power is diminished with every passing year.


27 posted on 04/03/2013 10:36:48 AM PDT by Freedom_Is_Not_Free (Free goodies for all -- Freedom for none.)
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To: Dad was my hero
“By some measures, the TSA has scored a clear success,” observed the nonpartisan Congressional Quarterly in a recent cover story. “No terrorist has staged a successful attack on a flight from a U.S. airport since September 11.” One of the most ardent defenders of the TSA is travel guidebook guru Arthur Frommer. “Every time I am patted down, I am grateful for security agents who take their jobs seriously,” he wrote on his blog. “I am conscious of the fact that their zealousness is deterring all sorts of would-be terrorists from attempting to carry weapons onto planes.”

Would someone please explain to these idiots that you can not "prove" anything with an absence of "proof". The fact that nothing has happened does not support the assertion that TSA is responsible for the lack of activity.

Affirmative conclusion from a negative premise (illicit negative) is a formal logical fallacy that is committed when a categorical syllogism has a positive conclusion, but one or two negative premises.
For example:

No terrorist attacks have taken place (negative premise), therefore TSA screening has prevented them (affirmative conclusion). This is a "non sequitur" because of the logical fallacy.

Regards,
GtG

28 posted on 04/03/2013 2:40:03 PM PDT by Gandalf_The_Gray (I live in my own little world, I like it 'cuz they know me here.)
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To: Dad was my hero

TSA won’t be happy until they have installations at every major border crossing between the states.


29 posted on 04/05/2013 7:07:22 AM PDT by TSA-Watch
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