Congress is set to give the green light on funding for a massive expansion of TSA checkpoints, with the federal agency already responsible for over 9,000 such checkpoints in the last year amidst increased fears America is turning into a police state following the passage of the ‘indefinite detention’ bill.
The increase in funding has nothing to do with the TSA’s role in airports – this is about creating 12 more VIPR teams to add the federal agency’s 25 units that are already scattered across the country and responsible for manning checkpoints on highways, in bus and train terminals, at sports events and even high school prom nights.
“The TSA’s 25 “viper” teams – for Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response – have run more than 9,300 unannounced checkpoints and other search operations in the last year. Department of Homeland Security officials have asked Congress for funding to add 12 more teams next year,” reports the L.A. Times.
The demand for $24 million in extra funding is in addition to the $110 million spent in fiscal year 2011. The figures are completely independent from the federal agency’s role inside the nation’s airports, which costs taxpayers $5 billion a year.
The extra money is being demanded despite the fact that there is “no proof that the roving viper teams have foiled any terrorist plots or thwarted any major threat to public safety,” according to the L.A. Times report, which also highlights how the TSA’s sniffer dogs are used to single out people for questioning if the dog smells the scent of the owner’s pets on their clothing.
The appearance of thousands more checkpoints on America’s highways and at key transport hubs will only heighten concerns that the country is headed towards a Soviet-style police state.
Such fears were again expressed last week following the passage of the National Authorization Defense Act, a provision of which empowers the government to arrest Americans and hold them in a detention camp with no legal recourse.