TSA Takes Security Theater On The Road: Mobile Groping Teams Can Pop Up Anywhere

from the somehow-this-makes-me-feel-less-safe dept

Via Julian Sanchez, we learn that the TSA has apparently been taking its security theater on the road, with special mobile teams, as a part of its VIPR (Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response) program. These teams apparently show up unannounced, and start their usual groping and scanning procedures at bus stations, train and subway stations, and occasionally even on passenger cars.

While the TSA is claiming it's doing this to "prevent terrorism" (of course), some are noting that the TSA is working closely with ICE on these efforts, and it often seems like these "random" searches are specifically targeting potential illegal immigrants, rather than actual terrorist threats.

Of course, no one has a problem with the general idea of stopping terrorism or enforcing the basics of the law. But it does seem highly questionable, on basic 4th Amendment points, for the TSA to just magically drop in a team that gets to search people without any other basis beyond "we're here from the TSA, and we're here to grope."

Filed Under: privacy, searches, tsa


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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Jun 2011 @ 3:18pm

    Re: Re: Those who choose safety over liberty . . .

    A search at the borderís functional equivalent is constitutionally valid when:
    (1) a reasonable certainty exists that the person or thing crossed the border;
    (2) a reasonable certainty exists that there was no change in the object of the search since it crossed the border; and
    (3) the search was conducted as soon as practicable after the border crossing.


    I don't know where you got that, since you conveniently failed to cite the source, but that's not the way it works. Plenty of people, myself included, have been stopped by government agents even though they didn't cross the border.

    As with the TSA at airports you can always decline to be searched but with the penalty of not being able to ride the train, bus, subway, or trolley.

    Or use the highways (you conveniently left that part out). You should not be subject to penalty for exercising your rights.

    If I had brought my bomb with me I would just come back when the VIPR checkpoint is no longer there.

    Because only people with bombs would object, eh? What a crock.

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