VIPR: TSA's Snakes in the Grass

Since the Department of Homeland Security and the Transportation Security Administration launched their "strip search or sexual assault" program late last year, small groups of local and state lawmakers around the country have begun to push back against the national security police state.  There appears to have been some non-trivial movement on this front in the Northeast, from both Republicans and Democrat.  From The New American, last November:
At the press conference, [New Jersey State Senator Michael] Doherty indicated:
We’re very concerned with what’s going on in America and we’re very concerned with what’s going on in New Jersey at our airports as far as the new TSA procedures used. We believe that there are constitutional violations taking place. We believe that there are violations of New Jersey law that are taking place…When you buy an airline ticket, you do not give up your constitutional rights.

Doherty declared, “American citizens should be able to travel freely without being harassed and intimidated by their government. There are other procedures that can be used, and there are other countries around the world serving as role models of how to do this.”
From Wired, also last November: 
A New York City lawmaker on Thursday introduced legislation to prohibit the TSA from using its advanced body scanners at New York airports, including JFK, the busiest international airport in the country. Democratic councilman David Greenfield says six fellow council members have signed onto the proposal, which comes amid growing unease over the so-called Advanced Imaging Technology scanners . . .
Now, a group of Republican lawmakers in New Hampshire have introduced a bill that would make "touching or viewing with a technological device of a person's breasts or genitals by a government security agent without probable cause a sexual assault."  Perhaps the most disturbing aspect of the bill is the fact that it is even necessary.  Its explicit statement of "what shall not constitute probable cause" provides a short summary of those everyday activities which have been effectively criminalized, or rendered somehow suspicious, by the professional hysterics in the ruling political class.  Excerpt from the bill via the NH Liberty Alliance:
the following shall not constitute probable cause: discussing or possessing a copy of the Constitution, discussing the security apparatus of an airport, being on the premises of an airport, possessing an airplane ticket or any other type of ticket for access to mass transportation, driving a motor vehicle on a public way, or ownership of firearms.
These sorts of measures will quickly become ever more important, and ever more necessary, as the DHS and TSA expand their police state security apparatus over the whole of the country under the blanket of the so-called VIPR program, i.e. Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response.  As Verbellum reports:
VIPR is basically a roving search-and-seizure task force. . . . The authorities exceed every limit established by a citizen’s fundamental right to security of person and property. Generalized fear replaces probable cause; searches are conducted and property seized in broad strokes following no oath or affirmation. Practices and procedures are openly unreasonable.
The truth is that, as soon as this behavior was permitted in airports, it was just a matter of time before it started spreading. If fear of generalized threats is the key to a full override of the Fourth Amendment, then it doesn’t end at airports. It doesn’t end at train and bus stations either. It doesn’t end at all. VIPR will slither into every aspect of our lives that it can reach.
Consider this recent video of a VIPR security checkpoint in Savannah, Georgia, in which passengers were subject to random search and seizure in a train station after they had gotten off their train!


Anonymous said...

I am just learning about the proposed bill in New Hampshire. Sounds like a good idea, though it shouldn't even be necessary.

An interesting thing to note is that people convicted under the amended statute would be classified and required to register as sex offenders.

d.eris said...

Thanks for stopping by. There are also a couple new bills that have been introduced this week in the Texas legislature basically outlawing the TSA's strip search or sexual assault procedures. Here's a description of one of them: