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Our handsy friends at the TSA have decided that feeling up grandma and terrorizing three year-olds at airports just isn’t enough to keep their courteous and friendly staff busy these days. Only so many people choose to fly and those fixed positions alone don’t really provide the long term growth potential and ever-increasing flow of taxpayer dollars TSA administrators are looking for. The solution: random interstate highway vehicle inspections. “People generally associate the TSA with airport security…but now we have moved on to other forms of transportation, such as highways, buses and railways,”  said Kevin McCarthy, TSA federal security director for West Tennessee…

To increase national security, the TSA created Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response, known as VIPR, teams, which consist of federal air marshals, surface transportation security inspectors, transportation security officers, behavior detention officers and explosive detection canine teams.

Orwell much? One can only imagine the remit under which those “behavior detention officers” operate. And it’s good to know the media’s doing their part, too. As titles their helpful piece on the effort, Tennessee Becomes First State to Fight Terrorism Statewide. Who could argue with that?

“Where is a terrorist more apt to be found? Not these days on an airplane more likely on the interstate,” said Tennessee Department of Safety & Homeland Security Commissioner Bill Gibbons.

Gun owners will want to make sure they’re fully up to date on – and in strict compliance with – peaceable journey laws if they’re carrying between states. Gosh, I feel safer already.

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  1. how much more are we seriously going to take, this scares the absolute SH** out of me. I’m moving/driving to florida at the end of December, i have guns and body armor and ammo, imagine if i got pulled over by these douches, they’d have a field day.

    • All I know, is that this CERTAINLY crosses the line of what is permissible under the 4th amendment, among others.

      Remember John Bad Elk!

        • Random sobriety checks don’t involve Xray searches of your vehicle. A cop has to smell alcohol on you or see bloodshot eyes to establish probable cause.

          • When turning around to avoid being detained by the police is seen as cause then something is wrong with the police. Pull a u-turn the next time you come to a sobriety checkpoint and see what happens. If I see a cop I’ll walk in the other direction. If i’m in my car I’ll turn to a different street. These people can make your lives miserable when you’re not doing anything wrong based on some technicality. The chance a bureaucrat or police officer ruining my life is night and day higher than me being attacked on the street.

        • It depends upon how they do them.

          The way that has generally been ruled permissible around these parts (SE-PA) is to bring the traffic down to 1 lane for each direction of travel, and slow traffic down to 5-10 MPH. Thus, the police have the ability to observe you and can then actually stop you if they decide that they have reasonable/articulable suspicion.

    • I’d love to know how many times they’ve actually ever listened to any letters sent by us.

      Not that it’s not worth the effort, but they don’t care what we think.

  2. “Show Us Your Papers!” — yes, that is well titled. As Ron Paul said beware of ‘incrementalism’; in this case I wonder when the goons will start demanding our papers from us while we are walking through our neighborhoods. There are so many vehicles on the road to check so how do they really hope to catch or hinder terrorists from using vehicles? Ironic, that the new police-state vehicle-inspections is occurring now. The new law allowing commercial trucks from Mexican companies to drive into the US and travel the American heartland just became active. Besides the loss of business and jobs for Americans the new law makes things potentially more dangerous for all Americans for many reasons.

  3. VIPR? Seriously?

    People, we now have a real life GI Joe villain group in the making. “Incrementalism” is exactly right.

  4. Might want to check an unbiased source, Dan. The Channel 5 article only mentions “random inpections” of commercial vehicles (not private cars) which has been the case for decades (you have seen those weigh stations by the side of the road, right?)

    Also the inspections are being done by the highway patrol, not TSA, according to the article. TSA is there to try and recruit truck drivers to report suspicions activities.

    DUI checkpoints are allowed because the reason for the checkpoint – preventing DUI accidents and deaths – is reasonably related to the activity of the checkpoint. But “random checks” for IDs, warants, etc, have been ruled unconstitutional by the SCOTUS.

    • I’m sure that no one feels at all intimidated by the staties inspecting their vehicle while the TSA pukes lean in their window and say, “I know we can count on your full cooperation…can’t we?”

    • Are not commercial vehicles privately owned? If they were only checking US Mail trucks I’d say bravo, since the US Mail has been used for transporting drugs, anthrax, weapons, etc in the past.

      Standing on the interstate holding a driver’s log book, license, and papers is a pretty intimidating way of recruiting Eyes and Ears.

      • Being stopped at weigh stations is not like being just stopped on the side of the road. I have been stopped may times and never felt intimidated. The addition of TSA yaking at me would not cause any particular worries.

        “If they were only checking US Mail trucks I’d say bravo, since the US Mail has been used for transporting drugs, anthrax, weapons, etc in the past.”

        What the heck you think is being transported in our trucks, daisies and sunshine?

  5. I would welcome more inspections of commercial trucks. Every time the state patrol does an enforcement sweep of big rigs they take about 20% of the trucks and drivers out of service due to safety equipment violations, logbook violations, lack of trip permits, or drunk/stoned drivers.

  6. Without probable cause or consent, your car cannot be searched (customs agents are allowed significant leeway to search for contraband at the border without PC). Just say no, people. Just say no.

    I’ve driven through such an inspection area in Arizona. Nobody attempted to search my vehicle, check my license, talk to me or any such thing, and I would have tolerated no such attempts. They just waved me through. As a retired lawyer with not much to do except sue a$$holes who deserve to get bitch-slapped, I would have taken any shot that TSA or AZ Highway Patrol would have thrown at me just so I could land my own counterpunch in the courts. As it turned out, there was nothing. YMMV.

  7. Without going into tedious detail, per past SC rulings, commercial motor vehicles are not subject to the same protections as a private motor vehicle that is not used in commerce due to its status as a “highly regulated industry”.
    Also, the article incorrectly identified “behavior DETECTION officers” as “DETENTION officers”. Google TSA BDO.

  8. VIPR teams have existed since 2005. See the Wikipedia article here:

    And not without controversy: “In 2011 Amtrak temporarily banned VIPR teams from its property after screenings at the Savannah, Georgia station that Amtrak police chief John O’Conner called illegal and violations of Amtrak policy.” From the the Air Marshal Wikipedia page:

    I certainly see “incrementalism” here. What worries me more is the fact that many of the federal officers and soldiers involved in VIPR teams across the US may not have training concerning constitutional law, civil rights and state and local laws. At least with POST certified LEOs there is a somewhat better chance officers are trained in those areas.

  9. I’m not sure which is worse– the incrementalism (which concerns me as much as it does anyone), or the fact that it has taken TEN YEARS for Homeland Security to realize that they’ve been making a fetish of preventing the terrorist attack that *already happened*. Maybe someone read Sun Tzu and realized that there’s a slight chance that they might try something *different* the next time around.

    Seriously. Sometimes it seems that Homeland Security does nothing but warn us once a year on September 10th that the bad guys might try to repeat the *exact* same thing on the *exact* same date.

  10. Now you know why I have campaigned and voted for the Libertarian Party since Ed Clark ran for President in 1980? I have supported Ron Paul for many years. Not that the above has done much good, but at least I tried. I guess I just do not understand the charisma of mainstream politicians and voters who want to sell our essential liberties down the drain for a soup bowl of temporary safety. To paraphrase Franklin.

  11. The article reads like we are giving up our right to search and seizure. I admit it gave me a scare too. I can’t say it sounds like anything more than a wild goose chase though, just from the sheer volume of highway traffic.

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