The TSA is seeking permission from the Office of Management and Budget to conduct “security assessments” on highways as well as at 140 other public transportation hubs, including bus depots and train stations.
The request was buried amidst a deluge of jargon and published in the Federal Register on November 30.
If approved, it would allow the TSA to to “conduct transportation security-related assessments during site visits with security and operating officials of surface transportation entities.”
“Similarly, TSA wants to conduct on-site assessments with public agencies that run buses, rail transit, long-distance rail and less common types of service, such as cable cars, inclined planes, funiculars and automated guide way systems,” reports Government Security News.
On the face of it, the “security assessments” involve TSA officials telling transportation organizations what security measures they should adopt as part of the Highway Baseline Assessment for Security Enhancement (BASE) Program. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out what measures the TSA is likely to recommend – more “security assessments” that require more TSA agents and more funding for the federal agency.
“TSA’s Highway BASE program seeks to establish the current state of security gaps and implemented countermeasures throughout the highway mode of transportation by posing questions to major transportation asset owners and operators. Data and results collected through the Highway BASE program will inform TSA’s policy and program initiatives and allow TSA to provide focused resources and tools to enhance the overall security posture within the surface transportation community,” states the federal filing.
In other words, get ready for TSA agents to be groping Grandma on the interstate.
Critics of the TSA will undoubtedly see this as another example of the federal agency extending its tentacles into forms of transportation other than airports and greasing the skids for airport-style security at highway checkpoints. Such measures have already been put in place at numerous train and bus stations across the country.
The TSA has already conducted checkpoint-style programs on highways before, notably in Tennessee last year where Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response (VIPR) teams checked trucks at five weigh stations and two bus stations in the state, as well as making trucks pass through x-ray scanners. TSA officials also used the checkpoint to try and recruit truck drivers to become citizen snitches under the First Observer Highway Security Program.
Tennessee Department of Safety & Homeland Security Commissioner Bill Gibbons justified the highway checkpoints by stating, “Where is a terrorist more apt to be found? Not these days on an airplane more likely on the interstate.”
After the presence of TSA screeners on the highway made the news, the TSA responded by claiming concerns were overblown, and that TSA workers were only, “supporting state and local personnel as they inspected vehicles to identify potential security threats.”
Now it seems the TSA is looking to run its own “security-related assessments” on highways without the involvement of law enforcement.
Last year, the TSA was responsible for over 9,000 checkpoints across the United States, a number set to increase thanks to the agency’s bloated budget and its expansion beyond anything vaguely related to transportation. Since its inception in the US after 9/11, the TSA has grown in size exponentially. The agency was slammed in a recent congressional report for wasting hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars on security theater.
As Infowars has repeatedly stressed, any attempt to protest against the practices of the TSA by simply refusing to fly is largely pointless given the fact that the federal agency is expanding to cover virtually all forms of transport, as well as events that have nothing to do with transportation such as political functions, music concerts, and even high school prom nights.