TSA Jurisdiction: Planes… Buses, Ferries And Subways?

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Transportation Security Administration agents can now do surprise screenings at bus terminals, ferries and subways.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has teamed up with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Border Patrol to conduct unannounced security screenings everywhere from airports to ferry docks to bus terminals.

“As part of the TSA’s request for FY 2012 funding, TSA Administrator John Pistole told Congress last week that the TSA conducts 8,000 unannounced security screenings every year,” Mother Jones reported. “These screenings, conducted with local law enforcement agencies as well as immigration, can be as simple as checking out cargo at a busy seaport. But more and more, they seem to involve giving airport-style pat-downs and screenings of unsuspecting passengers at bus terminals, ferries, and even subways.”

The screenings are conducted by the TSA’s Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response (VIPR) teams.

“VIPR teams work with local security and law enforcement officials to supplement existing security resources, provide deterrent presence and detection capabilities, and introduce an element of unpredictability to disrupt potential terrorist planning activities,” according to a press release on the TSA website.

VIPR teams work with ICE and Border Patrol to look for national-security threats, immigration law violators and smuggling, according to Mother Jones.

“VIPR operations are now even targeting freight trucks on highways. In addition to the random checks on public transit systems, it makes you wonder: can private vehicles be far behind? Will there be any mode of transportation beyond the reach of the TSA?” the article read.

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