Not content with scanning and groping passengers at airline terminals, the TSA has expanded its operations to America’s highways.
Last week, Tennessee teamed up with the TSA to implement checkpoints on that state’s highways, ostensibly looking for terrorists.
“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.
GOP Presidential candidate Ron Paul, however, called the move an “infringement” on American’s liberties by “jack-booted thugs” on his website.
If you thought the “Transportation Security Administration” would limit itself to conducting unconstitutional searches at airports, think again. The agency intends to assert jurisdiction over our nation’s highways, waterways, and railroads as well. TSA launched a new campaign of random checkpoints on Tennessee highways last week, complete with a sinister military-style acronym–VIP(E)R—as a name for the program.
As with TSA’s random searches at airports, these roadside searches are not based on any actual suspicion of criminal activity or any factual evidence of wrongdoing whatsoever by those detained. They are, in effect, completely random. So first we are told by the U.S. Supreme Court that American citizens have no 4thamendment protections at border crossings, even when standing on U.S. soil. Now TSA takes the next logical step and simply detains and searches U.S. citizens at wholly internal checkpoints.
According to Paul, the “slippery slope is here.”
“When does it end?” he asks.
Human Rights Examiner Deborah Dupre writes the checkpoints are “similar to those used in Nazi Germany.”
Paul continues, calling the checkpoints “un-American,” and wonders if America should “hail the expansion of the police state”:
Worse, some people are lulled into a false sense of security and are actually grateful for this added police presence! Should we really hail the expansion of the police state as an enhancement to safety? I submit that an attitude of acquiescence to TSA authority is thoroughly dangerous, un-American, and insulting to earlier freedom-loving generations who built this country.
David Gomez adds at TG Daily that truckers are being asked to “keep an eye out for terrorists or strange behavior by joining the First Observer Highway Security Program.”
The VIPR program, created in 2005 in response to the 2004 Madrid bombings, is intended to increase security at rail and mass transit systems in the United States. The Blaze reports that by 2007, VIPR had “augmented security” at transportation facilities in cities like New York, Buffalo, Los Angeles and Boston.
Last November, Homeland Security Chief Janet Napolitano said the TSA would be expanding its operations beyond airports to trains, boats, and other forms of public transportation. But Napolitano said nothing about internal checkpoints on America’s highways.
“Disarming the highways and filling them full of jack-booted thugs demanding to see our papers is no way to make them safer,” Paul wrote.
“Instead, it is a great way to expand government surveillance powers and tighten the noose around our liberties.”
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