The Transportation Security Administration has recently been highlighting the fact that “Transportation” does not just apply to airports. That is why they showed up at a Paul Ryan event alongside Secret Service to check bags, and do the usual airport routine. There have also been TSA checkpoints at bus terminals, train stations, and public events.
The TSA claims that these sporadic pat downs keep would be terrorists on their toes, yet there is no official record of any thwarted threats by these types of checkpoints. And if these examples are not obvious enough to convince you of the violation of Americans’ Fourth Amendment rights to be “secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures”, consider the practice of “stop and frisk”.
In Philadelphia, you don’t have to visit the airport to have the government molest you, TSA-style “stop, question and frisk” pat downs are already being conducted by police on the streets targeting people who act suspicious, by doing things like putting their hands in their coat pocket. (Full Article).
It is unconstitutional to search Americans just because they are walking down the street. We have the Bill of Rights which details some specific things the government is not allowed to do to its’ citizens; searching them without cause is one of these things. The enormous amount of personal belongings that go missing from TSA checkpoints at the airport further brings into question whether people should feel secure in their effects when dealing with this government agency.
“Viper Squads” or Visible Inter-modal Prevention and Response teams, a subset of the TSA, are now conducting random searches at train stations, on highways, and anywhere else that has to do with transportation. Natural News reports that these under-publicized teams have conducted over 9,300 checkpoint searches at random places throughout the country. In addition to violating Fourth Amendment rights, the TSA is requesting millions of dollars more for this fiscal year to operate a growing number of Viper squads.
There is even some evidence to suggest that the TSA may be used as a political tool to harass opponents. Earlier this year Senator Rand Paul was detained by the TSA and missed a Pro-life rally in DC in which he was scheduled to address supporters. Senator Paul proceeded through the TSA full body scanner in a Nashville airport on Jan. 23, 2012, and was told that there was an anomaly and he would be required to receive a pat down if he wished to continue to his flight. Although Senator Paul suggested he instead walk through the full body scanner again, the TSA refused saying a pat down was the only way to proceed. Having in the past publicly criticized TSA pat-downs as invasive and unpopular, the Senator refused and was escorted by law enforcement from the area, unable to board his flight. This may be another violation of the Constitution, as lawmakers are privileged from arrest while traveling to and from Washington DC, except in cases of treason or felony. Essentially if no crime has been committed, Federal Politicians are not allowed to be detained by law enforcement. (Full Article).
It would be wise not to consider people paranoid for being rightfully weary of a police state. When we see such goings on as these, the charge of domestic over-militarization should be taken seriously and scrutinized. The TSA is an unnecessary, redundant federal police force at best, and threatens the rights of law abiding Americans. The TSA’s short history has been plagued by controversy and wrongdoing, it would be wise to end the TSA once and for all.