Rep. Jackie Speier Puts Forth Bill To Extend TSA To Mass Transit

from the because-that's-exactly-what-we-need dept

Well this is very disappointing. My own Congressional Representative, has put forth a bill, HR 3140 to expand TSA info sharing capabilities to mass transit. Because that’s just what we need. Even worse, in speaking about it, Speier doesn’t seem to even recognize that there’s a problem with the TSA at airports, and seems to assume that it’s just obvious that everything’s great with airport security:

“We have put in place through TSA a very elaborate system [in airports]. We all go through those metal detectors and those secondary searches. And we’ve put a lot of focus on the airlines for good reason. But we have neglected the mass transit components, generally speaking,” she said.

Speier said 2 million people fly each day, compared with more than 5 million who ride the subway each day in New York City alone. She pointed out that the most recent terrorist attacks have been on mass transit. Also, when U.S. Special Forces raided Osama Bin Laden’s compound last year, intelligence gathered revealed the next attack was intended for mass transit.

“The writing is on the wall. We need to be better prepared than we are right now,” Speier said.

I’m all for keeping trains safe from terrorists. I ride on trains all the time — including a Caltrain that has been named after Jackie Speier (I’m not joking). But any approach that suggests the current TSA efforts are somehow reasonable and should be expanded — without even offering any evidence that this is true — is a serious mistake.

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Comments on “Rep. Jackie Speier Puts Forth Bill To Extend TSA To Mass Transit”

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:Lobo Santo (profile) says:

I miss my America.

Anybody remember when American was “the land of the free?” Me neither…

On the other hand, if Dilbert comics are to be believed–hot girls get horny for intellectual geeks when they live in some sort of fascist dystopia.

If the hot girls thing works out, I suppose I won’t complain too loudly.

Otherwise, I’m effing leaving this bullshit country.

Matthew (profile) says:


I know…i know…slippery slope and all, but isn’t this just talking about local mass transit authorities getting more information from the TSA?

From TFA: “Speier said the bill would increase information sharing at “fusion centers” between TSA and local law enforcement and emergency management officials….Transit riders probably won’t see more TSA agents in subways or bus stops, though, Speier said. The expanded TSA role falls more on analysts, she said.”

As much as i’d like to see the TSA scrubbed entirely, and despite the newspeakishness of “fusion centers” I’m not freaking out over this.

ltlw0lf (profile) says:

Re: Overreacting?

I know…i know…slippery slope and all, but isn’t this just talking about local mass transit authorities getting more information from the TSA?

Great, so being on the no-fly list means you cannot ride the bus or train either.

Instead of the TSA telling me directly that I cannot ride the BART, the BART security will just shoot me because I am on the no-fly list. Sounds fair to me.

ltlw0lf (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Overreacting?

Ok…that’s still a kind of putting the cart before the horse worst case scenario, but I find it to be pretty compelling. It’s a more plausible slippery slope than the one that first popped into my mind.

Overreacting…it is just one of the many services I provide.

Actually, I doubt it will do anything, because most of the TSA folks are just too lazy to actually do anything with it unless Congress mandates it. I suspect they will just send an email out to all the local police stations saying “the information we provide is here, feel free to do what you want with it.” It might actually make things easier for the rest of us though, since it will be a lot easier to find a leak of the data to see if you are actually on the no-fly-list because right now, you don’t really have any way to do so other than show up at the airport and be denied access to the plane.

John Doe says:

How long will the commute be then?

If you think there are long lines at airports with only serving 2 million people per day, just wait to see the lines at the NY subway serving 5 million per day. Can’t wait to see the size of the staff and screening areas then. Soon we will have half the people in the US searching the other half. But as the saying goes, who is watching the watchers?

Chosen Reject (profile) says:

Re: How long will the commute be then?

ARTHUR: Then who is watching the watchers?
WOMAN: We don’t have watcher watchers.
DENNIS: I told you. We’re a despotic commune. We take it in turns to act as a sort of watcher for the week.
DENNIS: But all the watchings of that watcher have to be watched at a special biweekly meeting.
ARTHUR: Yes, I see.
DENNIS: By a simple majority in the case of purely internal affairs,–
ARTHUR: Be quiet!
DENNIS: –but by a two-thirds majority in the case of more–
ARTHUR: Be quiet! I order you to be quiet!
WOMAN: Order, eh — who does he think he is?
ARTHUR: I am your representative!
WOMAN: Well, I didn’t vote for you.
ARTHUR: You don’t vote for representatives.
WOMAN: Well, ‘ow did you become king then?
ARTHUR: The Lady of the Rich, her arm clad in the purest shimmering samite, held aloft lots of money from the bosom of the water signifying by Divine Providence that I, Arthur, was to vote for their interests, public be damned. That is why I am your representative!

DogBreath says:

Re: Re: How long will the commute be then?

DENNIS: Listen. Rich politicians lying in office while taxing the poor for most if not all of their money is no basis for a system of free government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical “vote for me, I’m the best candidate” ceremony that is really decided by who already has accumulated the most wealth and power.
ARTHUR: Be quiet!
DENNIS: You can’t expect to wield supreme power just ’cause some rich conglomerate of individuals and companies bought a political office for you!
ARTHUR: [grabs Dennis by the no-no area] Shut up! Will you shut up?!
DENNIS: Ah, now we see the sexual assault tolerated by the system!
ARTHUR: [has TSA screener fondle Dennis] Shut up!
DENNIS: Oh! Come and see the sexual assault tolerated by the system! Help, help, I’m being molested!
ARTHUR: Bloody educated voter with no money for political campaign bribes… I mean “donations”!
DENNIS: Ooh, what a giveaway!


Re: How long will the commute be then?

I’d like to see ’em try it in London.. A recent documentary series showed the world how the London Underground is just about at the breaking point. Sometime they even close the entire station because it’s packed with people waiting to get on the trains which are running every few minutes. So riders have to queue up on the pavement to get into the station so they can queue up to board the trains. Now add a few metal detectors! And New York isn’t much better. Just rougher.

Anonymous Coward says:

Why not start with school busses?

After all, the pedophiles and child rapists who work for the TSA would probably be most happy to get their hands on as many helpless children as possible, whether it’s to make some child pornography or, better yet, turn them into a sex slave. More mundanely, maybe they’ll just steal their electonics or steal their electronics (different case) or steal their electronics (yet another case).

Besides, nothing better than training children early that they should meekly submit to fascists and fondlers.

Dark Helmet (profile) says:

Re: Re:

If it was just about info sharing, why the reference to metal detectors? Let them try to install metal detectors on every El stop in Chicago. People don’t even know how to use the damned CTA passes, but metal detectors with everyone pulling their coins/keys out of their pockets would do wonders to make sure my commute is as long as fucking possible….

Anonymous Coward says:

Complete waste of time for other, ground based mass transit. At least with airplanes, the vehicle itself is away from everyone else and can’t be “targetted” by anyone not on the plane. It’s of dubious use on airplanes, but at least passengers and things actually on the vehicle are the main threat.

For buses/trains, you’d have to “harden” or secure the entire ground system. All tracks, all roads, all intersections, all bridges. Otherwise, it’s trivial to hit the vehicle w/o getting on it and passing security. It’s entirely impractical and futile.

PlagueSD says:

Re: Re:


Don’t give them any ideas. The Immigration and Agriculture checkpoints already delay my trips long enough. We don’t need more of them!!!

And like you said, for ground transportation, the terrorist doesn’t even have to be ON the vehicle. They can just find an exposed area and plant an IED there. When the train/bus/whatever runs by…BOOM!! Nothing the groping TSA agents could have stopped.

Oh, wait…the terrorists are all “suicide bombers” they don’t know how to plant explosives and walk away.

That should be enough to get me on some “watch lists” now. Let the groping begin!!!

bshock (profile) says:

this is extremely disturbing

The TSA is an organization founded on an opportunistic power-grab, operating with demonstrably ineffective and always dehumanizing procedures, and run by unqualified incompetents at best and blatant criminals on average. I’m not exaggerating and I’m not making up stories — if you haven’t read the news, just Google it.

So how can this “Representative” (as Orwellian as that term seems in this case) get away with suggesting we need to expand the TSA’s range, when we should’ve long since shut it down, arrested its current employees right up to the top level, and pursued criminal investigations against anyone who’s ever been involved with it?

Anonymous Coward says:

where the hell do you guys get these total idiots from? did they at one time have a brain and were then indoctrinated into the ways of a political moron or were they like that anyway? i just find it so hard to imagine how anyone with some sense could dream this crap up! perhaps they just like/dont care what they have their name attached to

Mike42 (profile) says:

Terrorists: Winning? Check.

This is just pathetic.
Has everyone forgotten “Dr. Strangelove”? We could all be blown to bits at any time by a “technical error.” Get over it.

Stop with the security already: it plays directly into the terrorists hands. They want to perpetuate a constant state of alarm, so that we spend our time and money “preparing” instead of living. Benjamin Franklin said, “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

I concur.

Actual New Yorker says:

Not happening in NYC

While you sometimes see the NYPD at the entrances to Subway stations, they don’t ask everyone to open their bags (they aren’t allowed to open them themselves). They simply can’t scan everyone. New York’s Subway system – and even the PATH system that connects it to NJ – was built over 100 years ago. It’s crowded, busy, chaotic, and fast. The entire system is designed to get people in and out as quickly as possible. Installing anything that will slow the system down will be met with contempt by a group of people aren’t known for their happy-go-lucky personality. Anyone caught walking slowly on the sidewalk is bound to get the finger and cursed at. Cursing at and giving the bird to people is a requirement to be called a New Yorker.

So, while I can see information sharing being valuable, they (most likely) share it already since there are three major airports in the area and, besides DC, was the only place to actually be attacked by terrorists in the US. Moreover, the system can’t and won’t support that kind of disruption. Installing metal detectors in the Subway and asking people to form an orderly line to wait for screening isn’t possible.

I can’t comment on the other mass transit systems but I know for sure that it won’t work in NYC.

snowburn14 says:

Just saying...

“…and seems to assume that it’s just obvious that everything’s great with airport security…”
“But any approach that suggests the current TSA efforts are somehow reasonable and should be expanded — without even offering any evidence that this is true — is a serious mistake.”

It seems like you’re doing the exact same thing in the other direction. You assume it’s obvious that everything is terrible with airport security, without offering any evidence that this is true. I have no opinion, much less factual evidence, as to whether the job they’re doing is great or terrible. But this criticism is just a hypocritical waste of internet space.

Well, except for the Holy Grail reference in the comments, which was really quite good.

Lord Binky says:

Re: Just saying...

If the TSA’s increased “security” measure is merely a deterent and not effective in actually catching anyone,as shown in multiple reports where they fail to catch the majority of their own testers, then it is already far too much and massively failing it’s primary goal which is to actively secure, not just deter threats by it’s presence. Factually, they have suggested arriving HOURS before you flight for security check points, which have not been shown to be effective. It is not logical to keep up these standards without evidence showing any benefit, much less minor benefit. At this point it is almost superstitious to have the TSA doing what it does now. I’ve never been in a plane crash while I have a goldfish in my mouth, obviously that works at keeping terrorists away.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Before expanding it to mass transit, lets expand it to Congress.

I want them to face the indignities they impose on citizens.
When you think about it, Congress would make a huge terrorist target. They could wipe out our leadership with a dirty bomb smuggled in.

So I think that Congress critters need to line up to see if their names are on a secret list, and be “randomly” assigned to pornoscanners, metal detectors, and groping. There will be no flashing your ID and expecting a free pass to avoid this. They will be unable to bring in their own travel mugs, outside food and drink, and everything else.

I’m sure they would have no problems with this plan at all, otherwise we might have to call them soft on terrorism… or point out how this giant fucking boondoggle has been a waste of time and money and should be shut down.

The question is how many Congresscritters balls being felt up will it take to get us there.

gorehound (profile) says:

Truly a disturbing thing to be promoting in a Free Nation.Might as well just Vote on Martial Law.This type of News means true Police State stuff.
Agents watch you get on subways, busses, planes, and trains.Next up will be Highways and Cars, ETC.
Then it will be just leaving you home and walking.
I find it very disturbing that someone would actually have the gall to promote this in our Government.

technomage (profile) says:

Re: Re:

yes…my privacy…

on a side note. It is truly a shame that the commonwealths and republics of the country don’t have the strength to secede from the Union. Maybe if we go that way, only certain states will get affected…

Better yet, lets download all congresscritters, lobbyists, and tsa agents and make them play videogames for their survival…I’m sure someone here can come up with a good MCP.

alanbleiweiss (profile) says:

Re: Re:

hahaha really?

How about we know the facts. Such as the TSA’s inability to actually find weapons and harmful substances in countless tests. Or the fact that you made up this pretend measure to appease the fear of unsuspecting mindless drone people so they’d feel safer, when in fact all you’re doing is contributing to the erosion of our freedom and privacy. I have nothing to hide, and breeze through airport security every time I travel throughout the year, yet that’s not the issue here. Feeling up little children for example. Yeah. because you know. That 3rd grader might be a terrorist.

Michael says:

Re: Re:

“I don’t know why you’re all against this, do you all have something to hide?”

This is a loaded question. If people were to resist being subjected to unwarranted search, in no way does that imply that they’re a potential threat with something to hide.

You view the public as a potential threat and treat them all like so many prisoners in their own country, just for wanting to travel somewhere. All that’s missing are iron bars, shackles and prisoner uniform.

Using your distorted logic, why not force society as a whole to submit to unwarranted search and seizure no matter where they go or what they do? After all, the “terrorists are out to get us” and there’s no telling where and when they’ll strike next.

What you people do is an absolute disgrace to our country and ancestry, an affront to our civil liberties and way of life. So long as you and your little Third Reich are let loose to feel up citizens and sift through all of their personal belongings, all of the soliders who lost their lives — supposedly for our freedoms — died for absolutely nothing. Bow your head is shame.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Re: Re:

What security are they actually providing?
Keeping us safe from cupcakes?
Keeping us safe by feeling up children?
Keeping us safe from our possessions by stealing them?
Keeping us safe by dealing drugs?
Keeping us safe by taking bribes for rides to the head of the line?
Keeping us safe from women with mastectomies?
Keeping us safe from baby formula?
Keeping us safe from human remains?

They provide no security proven by they top list of catches including soup, and their failure to find weapons real and test models.

In closing… go play in traffic troll…

Anonymous Coward says:

The TSA has proven to be a boondoogle, absolutely great at wasting taxpayer money but hasn’t a bonafide terrorist to show for all that waste, in money and time the passengers have to go through with the security theater stage show.

Air travel is out as far as I am concerned. I believe in value for my money. Paying to be groped isn’t a value, it’s sexual harassment with the added indignity of having to pay in the form of increased ticket prices as well as a tax drain. I’ll never fly under those circumstances. I don’t wish anyone any harm but this is far over the top of what is acceptable.

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