By Alek Hidell
A new bill hopes to put the Transportation Security Administration to work, policing passengers who are hoping to escape the hectic scene at the airport and enjoy a bus or a train ride. Although the TSA has had a miserable track record at airports around the United States, the Department of Homeland Security won’t be happy until everyone who walks, rides a bike or pogo-sticks down the street, is subject to heavy and intrusive security screenings. The new bill was prompted by the recent “terror attacks” in New York, according to law makers.
The bill was introduced by Senator John Thune of South Dakota. The bill entails the implementation of a “risk-based security model” for trains and buses. It also allots money for the expansion of the TSA to work in nearly every bus and train station in America. While this appears to be a government takeover of private transportation, officials claim otherwise. “This is very much not creating for bus or rail transportation the [security] model that exists for aviation,” stated Frederick Hill, a spokesman for the Senate committee governing the proposal.
It should be noted that since the fifteen years of intense screening for terrorists began, the TSA has done little other than harass the elderly and handicapped who have a hard enough time at airports, as well as blatantly discriminate against Muslim travelers. The move to implement government security in private transportation facilities is nothing more than an attempt to document and control the movements of free citizens. Homeland Security would undoubtedly extend the no-fly list to include buses and trains. The mission of the TSA is to ensure freedom of movement for people and commerce; the implementation of such heavy security protocols at airports, and soon to be bus stops and train stations, does nothing but encroach upon the freedom of movement enjoyed by citizens.
Just last year, the TSA was tested by the Department of Homeland Security. They found that out of 70 attempts to smuggle contraband past screeners, they were successful 67 times. That’s a 95% failure rating. If this is what is happening on a daily basis around the country, when combined with the fact that the TSA has never caught a terrorist, it makes you wonder why they need to exist and put additional strain on the American tax payer.
The bill does not seem to include information as to where the additional funds for expansion of the TSA would come from. As it stands, 80% of the TSA budget is spent operating in airports. Only 2% is currently spent on other forms of transportation. Implementing such drastic security measures in two completely new modes of travel, will undoubtedly increase the TSA’s budget by hundreds of millions of dollars per year. The expansion of the TSA budget doesn’t take into consideration the continued staffing issues and other financial shortfalls the agency has been battling in recent years.
With no results to show for the billions spent so far, how can the Senators who proposed this measure – or the Department of Homeland Security for that matter – justify such an unnecessary and unwanted expansion of power? The TSA is a perfect example of a government grown out of control. An expansion of the agency would do little to protect us from terrorism, rather, only adding to the growing surveillance state that has encompassed us.
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