Today's Waffen-TSA wears khaki...

Monday, March 07, 2011

Today's Waffen-TSA wears khaki...

...or at least that's what the ones who claim­ed authority over passengers in Grand Central Terminal this morning were wearing.

This was reported within the hour from an attorney friend commuting from upstate to his offices on Third Avenue:

"On my morning walk through Grand Central Station about 8:00 am) I saw three TSA agents, sporting short-sleeve tan t-shirts with large block letters on the back that said 'Transportation Security Agency' and a TSA logo, khaki pants1 with sidearms on the thigh2 in black cordura holsters and Velcro straps.

First appearance of TSA I've seen in GCT.

On my way out to 42nd street, NYC Blue had a table set up on the side and were ran­domly directing persons exiting the subway over to have their bags searched3.

Forgive my legalistic mind, I know it doesn't mean anything anymore, but did the Con­gressional grant of authority to TSA actually encompass all public transporta­tion? Or is this just a power grab?"

Another attorney chum with a similar Putnam-to-NYC commute wonders if this is a "renegade operation," since last week Amtrak Police Chief John O’Connor barred TSA from certain secu­rity activities.

This sounds similar to what happened recently to passengers disembarking from an Amtrak train who were ordered into the terminal and then searched by TSA. Told they had to enter, once inside they were informed every­one in­side was subject to search.

(It was apparently part of project VIPR.)

The second attorney responded to the original message:

"The security paradigm – until now – has been that if you don't want to be subject to an invasive search at an airport, you can't fly but you're free to leave. Now it seems it is becoming that you're not free to leave public transit unless you consent to a search."

He wonders what happens to anyone who de­clines to be searched upon exit:

"Do they tell you that you have to get back on the train?"

TSA personnel have been commanding a con­siderable amount of unwelcome focus of late with discloses of unnecessarily intrusive body searches, abusive behavior and outright criminal activity.

This demands further investigation.

  1. Their clothing screamed "not from around here." No one wears khaki in NYC! It's either office clothes, blue jeans or something in black.
  2. For that "really cool" and intimidating tactical look!
  3. This "alliance" between NYPD and TSA has been going on for about a year.


1. 1340 said...

"Those who desire to give up freedom in order to gain security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one." – Benjamin Franklin

I know he could not fathom the world we live in now, and there is a real need for some of this, but exiting the terminal? It would almost push an other wise law-abiding fellow to say challenge the search and see what happens.

See what OBL hath wrought upon us.

2. Clarity said...

If an Osama Bin Laden-type got off of the train and blew it up much like London or Madrid, I don't think we would be griping about this minor imposition. This is the world in which we live. Be thankful to those who keep us safe and bear with these minor issues, knowing full well that there are people in this world who want to kill you and me because of who we are.

What we are? We're not what we once were, and now we're supposed to be quaking little serfs of the nanny state.

3. Hampton West said...

"Sporting short-sleeve tan t-shirts with large block letters on the back that said 'Transportation Security Agency' and a TSA logo, khaki pants1 with sidearms on the thigh in black cordura holsters and Velcro straps."
Wow - sounds kinky to me - guns on the thigh and black velcro! Bring back the Village People "T--S -- and A."

4. David Willmott, Jr. said...

I normally consider myself of the libertarian persuasion when it comes to these type of issues, but come to find myself of two minds these days. Having become a frequent flyer of late, passing through airport security some 30-40 times in the last 9 months I have encountered none of the horror stories reported elsewhere. Most of the security folks have been polite if occaisionally disinterested. I have gone through the swabbing of the hands and the full body scans, in addition to the standard machines, but haven't run into any pat-downs. I can say that for me my overiding concern is getting there and back safe and sound.

I understand, but wait'll something "excessive" happens to you or in your presence, then we'll see what you have to say.

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