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After last Friday’s shooting at Los Angeles International Airport, Senator Diane Feinstein renewed her call for an assault weapons ban. And the sun came up in the East. More worrying: Texas Congressman Michael McCaul called for a greater role for the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA). On CNN’s State of the Union the Chairman of Homeland Security Committee danced around the idea of arming TSA Agents. And while you’re thinking “what could possibly go wrong?” think about this: McCaul pimped for a greater role of the TSA’s VIPR teams (Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response) “to make sure American people are safe and the traveling public are safe when they go to our airports.” Uh-oh . . .

Wikipedia reminds us that the TSA’s fully-armed SWAT-style VIPR teams were born in 2005 to “detain and search travelers at railroad stations, bus stations, ferries, car tunnels, ports, subways, truck weigh stations, rest areas, and special events.” By 2009, Uncle Sam had 10 VIPR detection teams up and running at an annual cost of $30m. The next year that swelled to 15 teams at a cost of $50m. Last year, taxpayers forked-over $109m for 37 teams. All sitting around singing “I want to be where the people are.”

TSA VIPR squad wearing DHS shirts at Washington's Union Station in July 2013 (courtesy

Only it’s not so funny for Americans who value their liberty. In 2007, VIPR teams stopped and randomly searched travelers at an Indianapolis bus station. In early 2011, a TSA VIPR team swooped on an Amtrak train in Savannah Georgia, detaining and searching passengers as they got off the train. The ensuing blowback and ongoing public antipathy may account for the fact that the VIPR teams wear DHS-branded clothing rather than TSA blue when out and about. Especially at train stations, now that the temporary ban on their presence has been lifted.

And highways. Did I mention highways? I digress. Sunday’s chat show appearance signals Rep. McCaul’s desire to green light VIPR teams at airports, giving them the go-ahead to randomly stop and search airline passengers. And anyone else in the airport environs. At any airport in the United States the TSA chooses. Based on . . . ?

In 2009, “TSA officials told [DHS Office of Inspector General] auditors that VIPR deployments were not always based on credible intelligence.” Click here to read the report, which says “Additional Surface Inspectors Are Needed to Perform Future Tasks and Enhance Understaffed Field Offices.” Are you thinking what I’m thinking? The LAX incident will unleash the TSA’s goons as a preventative measure, rather than responding to intelligence, credible or not.

VIPR team out and about (courtesy

Do we want another SWAT team roaming The Land of the Free at enormous expense, increasing inter-agency conflict, complete with Behavior Detection Officers? While this site holds Democrats’ feet to the fire on their civilian disarmament agenda, it behooves The People of the Gun to remember that the Republicans’ love of law enforcement poses as great a threat to gun owners’ liberty as the gun control folk. If not more. If they continue working together in the great bi-partisan spirit of anti-terrorism we could be well and truly f*cked. Just sayin’ . . .

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    • Yes! How are these VIPR teams going to operate at SeaTac here in Seattle? According to Washington state law the area of the airport terminal outside of the security zone is not restricted to CPL holders. If I carry in the airport (and don’t you think I would be a fool not to?), is a VIPR going to stop and frisk me without probable cause in an area where even if they find a weapon it is not illegal?

      Short of getting into a shoot-out with these jerks I think I would raise a very large fuss about that.

      As an aside, if we believe, as I think we do, that teachers who have CCW permits should be allowed to carry in school, why shouldn’t TSA agents who have CCW be allowed to carry on the job? If we can trust them with unlimited access to the secure areas of the airport, why can we not trust them to carry in those areas? I can tell you with some certainty it d not take a MENSA member to figure out how to smuggle a firearm into the secure areas if your intent is to do harm. Those security checkpoints are mostly DHS theater for the rubes.

      • Not just CHL.. You can open carry at Seatac.

        I rarely pick up anyone at the airport, but I may take that opportunity if I can.

        I travel Seatac at least several times a month and have not been messed with by the TSA. I find the TSA to be most confrontational in the southern states. I had a female TSA officer in Florida start blaring at me to “stand behind the line” after I cleared the metal detector and was waiting to get my stuff out of the X-ray. There was nobody to wait for and no reason to wait. I just said “no thanks” and carried on with gathering up my stuff. She did nothing.

  1. Oh, great. If one of these teams wants to stop and frisk me in my future travels, I will make a scene, I will be detained, and I will stand up for my rights. This is absolute bullcrap.

    • Yes, loudly. One of the main reasons (I think) for deploying these teams in scattered locations is to get people used to seeing them and to get people used to a lack of 4th amendment rights. We need to be loud and visible in our reactions to make sure people know that it’s not OK.

    • AMEN! They try this BS theater at the DC Metro every year, and every year so many people tell them to drop dead that they quietly close up the tables and wind up walking the platforms by 7:30 am with the Metro Police, chatting, drinking coffee (illegal on Metro property, BTW), and checking out the women. The dogs are completely bored from the start, and add to the pee stains in the stations as their personal contribution to “Homeland Security.”

  2. So in response to violence to TSA agents which is apparently in response to percieved tyranny, invasiveness and brutality of the TSA, the plan is to make the TWA more invasive and overbearing?

  3. The Democrats, the Republicans, they are the same. They believe in eroded rights for safety. We need a Libertarian leader, that is willing to uphold the Constitution, not the majority. “The People,” includes minorities.

      • And if you ask each of them directly I’m pretty sure they would tell you that the only reasons they run as Republicans are: 1) They are not Liberals or Democrats, and 2) It is not possible at this time to get elected to national office running as a third-party candidate and Republican/conservative is as close as they can get to their actual constituency and still expect to get elected.

        Just as you and I are willing to jump through the unconstitutional hoops to gain government “permission” to carry a concealed weapon, they are willing to hold their noses and be associated with the GOP in order to be able to do some little bit of good in Congress.

        • The best way to get third-party candidates elected, IMO, is to make sure to have 5 or more party candidates on the ballot at every election level.

          It won’t make any difference right away, but eventually, it will.

      • “…His platform is the orderly dissolution of the federal government from the top down.”

        We can help that process and do it very simply….. Do not vote for any incumbent.

        Turn them all out. A couple of election cycles and we can reset to a large degree the idea that they work for us.

        • He hasn’t been convicted (yet). But, a “clean” record is not a constitutional prereq for the Presidency. As to who would vote for him… people who value liberty.

          Besides, shouldn’t being convicted of an unconstitutional gun crime be seen as a badge of honor?

        • Roscoe, learn something new every day.

          Henry, Kokesh is like all those dumbasses that video their crimes and then act confused when they’re caught. I agree that most gun laws are unconstitutional, but I want someone smarter than Kokesh in office.

        • I for one would be much more comfortable voting for someone who wasn’t openly looking for a fight all the time. That Hopen’Change [TM] thing isn’t working out too well for the last one trick pony guy.

  4. Originally I thought these teams were the same ones that would “deploy” to the aircraft terminals and do “random inspections” and additional 3d base groping before getting on the plane. I am less than pleased to find out I was wrong.

    The fact that these teams are deployed without intelligence makes sense in both the literal and figurative way.

    • Based on extensive experience I can definitively say that there is precious little intelligence in the Intelligence Community. Cunning, yes; intelligence, no.

    • jwm: If Kokesh acted “confused” – not saying he did – wouldn’t a house full of umpteen agency personnel, armored vehicles outside, and choppers overhead tend to make even YOU look “confused”?

      And he hasn’t committed a “crime” until he’s convicted in a kangaroo kourt.

      I find it strange you refer to holding a 12-gauge shotgun as a “crime”.

      Just kidding, I don’t find it “strange” at all.

      • Whether you consider it so or not, he did commit a documented crime in DC. Take it up with General Lanier and His Excellency, Mayor Gray if you disagree.

      • What can I say William? You may consider it a kangaroo court, you’re entitled to your opinion. But when he’s convicted will they send him to kangaroo prison? Holding a shotgun is a crime if you’re holding it where it’s illegal. And videoing yourself doing it is really dumb.

  5. So, the heavily-armed Federal goons patrolling bus stations and sniffing Depends worn by old ladies in wheelchairs — are they VIPR teams or DIAPER teams?

  6. The harder they push, the harder the push-back will be. They will reap some “unintended consequences” if they’re not careful.

    • I fully understand your comment. I am honestly surprised it hasn’t started yet. Although, if the stakeholders are really good, they are already active and no one realizes it yet. (Or the powers that be realize it and they have not acknowledged it publicly yet.)

  7. “By 2009, Uncle Sam had 10 VIPR detection teams up and running at an annual cost of $30m. The next year that swelled to 15 teams at a cost of $50m. Last year, taxpayers forked-over $109m for 37 teams.”

    $30m / 10 teams = $3m / team

    $50m / 15 teams = $3.33m / team

    $109m / 37 teams = $2.95m / team

    Apparently economies of scale don’t apply to bureaucracy. They can’t even TYRANNIZE us efficiently.

    • Knowing how the government works, it’s probably more correct to read it like $30M for EACH of the 10 teams, $50M for EACH of the 15 teams, and $109M for EACH of the 37 teams.

      Reverse economy of scale.

      • The difference being that Edward Snowden risked everything – including his life – to expose their crimes. Nick on the other hand seems to be perfectly fine with that the Department for Homeland Terrorism is doing to Americans.

  8. VIPR teams. Man, these assholes just can’t help themselves, can they? I can see why they haven’t tried any public outreach “The VIPRs are your friends!” campaign…

  9. This whole event illustrates the utter insanity of gun control and “secured areas”. First, government proclaims that airport terminals are “secured areas”. Of course the Washington D.C. Navy Yard attack and this latest incident illustrates how easy it is to overwhelm security guards (whether armed or not) at a secure entrance. So now their answer is to push security farther out into the entire airport via “stop and frisk” teams. And when that doesn’t work, they will want to push the “secure area” even farther out into the streets and parking areas of airports. And when that doesn’t work, they will push the “secured area” beyond the airport property into the entire city, etc.

    But it will never work. Washington D.C. is a giant “gun free zone” / “secured area”. So was Chicago before the United States Supreme Court McDonald decision. And yet armed criminals committed violent crimes in those two areas all the time … and still do. Of course the gun grabbers shout out that those giant “secure areas” would be secure if we could just push the “secure area” (gun free zone) out to the entire state, or surrounding states, or to the entire United States. And, of course, enlarging the “gun free zones” or “secured areas” has never worked, nor will it ever work.

    There are an infinite number of ways that a free person, walking freely amongst us in public, can harm us if they so choose. All we can do is be ready to respond to such scumbags as quickly and effectively as possible. And that means we want as many responsible armed citizens in public as possible.

    Think about any of the mass murders of recent memory. How many victims would those scumbags have killed if they chose a shooting range or a police station for their attacks? Answer: close to zero. Because a spree killer has the element of surprise, they will be able to claim at least one victim no matter where they strike. But they won’t be able to claim dozens of victims if lots of citizens are armed.

  10. This is basic Anarchist theory: hit them so they hit back, then “the masses” will revolt because of the backlash. I can’t think of anytime this ever happened before. It’s unlikely to happen today. If the masses are anything, they’re long-suffering to a fault.

    Fun fact: it’s this thinking that motivated the assassination that triggered WW1.

    • Those in government view themselves as a sanctified class… deserving of honors and respect not afforded to us mere mundanes.

  11. Those of you trying to make sense of the decisions being made, stop.

    This is completely agenda driven. As always, incremental infractions until you wake up in a cell you once knew as your home, if you’re lucky.

  12. Have to justify those high dolar TSA VIPR thugs. It seems that this nut was after them. Maybe they should be put on furlough and problem solved.

    ***Sarcasm Warning***

    Seriously though, Di Fein can kiss-my-ass.

  13. Frankly, I would rather take my chances with terrorist scum than these DHS VIPR shit-heads. If they want to defend Americans, they can shoot themselves in the head with their sidearms instead of violating the h, 5th and 6th Amendments.


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