TSA screenings aren't just for airports anymore

Discussion in 'Railways, Highways, Waterways' started by Fisher1949, Dec 19, 2011.

  1. Sunny Goth

    Sunny Goth Original Member Coach

    The whole checkpoint idea is scaremongering. Any real threats of terrorism? No, probably not.

    There are rules around checkpoints and Supreme Court cases. I would be interested to know if anyone refused to open their trunk and what happened. Scattershot 'terrorism' checkpoints have not yet been litigated, but drugs and alcohol checkpoints have.

    from the drugs article:

    O’Connor wrote that the same logic does not apply with drug roadblocks. “If this case were to rest on such a high level of generality, there would be little check on the authorities’ ability to construct roadblocks for almost any conceivable law enforcement purpose,” the opinion said.

    I'd argue the same thing with these 'terrorism' checkpoints. Say no (politely) and ask to be let on your way.
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  2. Sunny Goth

    Sunny Goth Original Member Coach

    I just made a post about that. :)
  3. FaustsAccountant

    FaustsAccountant Original Member

    At this point there comes into the need for a warrant to do that kind of private search.
    So far at ferries, AMTRAK and airports, they have been 'tricking' people into submitting to the searches. I would think (hope!) that a sudden stop on the road with "please get out of the car and open trunk, spread out all your stuff" and no warrant-the public understand that's a "(expletive deleted) no."
  4. saulblum

    saulblum Original Member

    Courts in NY have upheld the subway inspections because they meet the "special needs" doctrine that the courts have added in interpreting the Fourth Amendment: that is, the searches are not aimed at law enforcement but are for public safety and the government's special needs in protecting the citizenry from terrorist attacks. I have little doubt that vehicle checkpoints would be upheld using the same logic.

    The ultimate problem is that the courts are distinguishing terrorist attacks from everyday crime. Suppose there was a mass killer on the loose who had shot 20 people in part of a city over several weeks. Could the police come knocking door-to-door and demand to look around your house in an effort to find the killer? Without a warrant and probable cause, no, they could not.

    Once those in charge take the mindset that a bomber setting off a bomb on a train platform and killing 20 people is an inherently different type of crime than a serial killer killing the same number of people in the span of a few weeks, then any search could be justified as falling within this "special needs" doctrine.
    • The anniversary of 9/11 is coming up and there's vague chatter about a revenge attack: gotta search private cars.
    • Christmastime in NY is super crowded and an attack there could be disastrous: gotta search private cars.
    • July 4 is coming up; what symbolism an attack on that day would hold: gotta search private cars.
    I don't fault the individual police agencies: if DHS is offering money, they'd be silly to turn it down. It all comes from the top. Take away the constant fear-mongering that another attack is imminent, you take away the fear instilled in citizens who feel they need to be protected, and politicians don't need to worry about appearing soft on terror.
  5. saulblum

    saulblum Original Member


    I don't see a warrant. Do you?

    If you arrive at a checkpoint and four heavily-armed members of NY's finest tell you to open your trunk, do you ask for a warrant and drive off when they cannot produce one?

    See my response above. These checkpoints would likely be upheld using the same "special needs against terrorism" that courts have used to uphold searches in subway stations.
  6. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    Part of you problem -- aside from the riduculous scaremongering -- is that you're confusing some issues. NYPD has a known problem with warrantless searches -- weather of trunks or of people is of little consequence. It is likely to be litigated in the not too distant future.

    Now please do us a favor and take a breather.
  7. saulblum

    saulblum Original Member

    Yes, the NYPD does have a history of warrantless searches. See "stop and frisk" in the alleged attempt to fight street crime. But the searches leading up to 9/11/11 were not to fight street crime. They were to fight against the alleged threats being forced onto the public by Commissioner Kelly and Mayor Bloomberg and Janet Napolitano. The DHS has a history of funding local police departments in their fight against terror.


    So I don't think the NYPD's own individual history and the DHS/TSA are completely unrelated topics.
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  8. Sunny Goth

    Sunny Goth Original Member Coach

    No, different things. The special needs doctrine is a subset of an administrative search. The theory behind an administrative search (what makes it constitutional) is that everyone goes through the same thing and there is no discrimination. Metal detectors at airports are a prime example of a reasonable administrative search.

    The Supreme Court has made it pretty clear that the reason why DUI checkpoints are constitutional is because you're trying to prevent an immediate harm: a drunk driver plowing into other cars and killing people. This is why the drugs checkpoint failed - someone in the car who might be carrying drugs is not enough. Setting up a checkpoint to stop terrorists because it's the 4th of July is just silly.

    Correct - in general. If there are exigent circumstances, police can come into your house without a warrant. There are other exceptions.

    Yes to the first part on train platforms. No to your bullet items.

    This is a place where you have to decide if you want to stand your ground. I know it's intimidating; it's meant to be. But someone has to say 'no', risk arrest, then if arrested, sue the government and let the courts decide. If the Supreme Court isn't going to uphold a drugs checkpoint, I doubt that they'd uphold something even more nebulous as a 'terrorism' checkpoint.

    They can take all the money they want and set up all the checkpoints they want; doesn't mean they're constitutional and won't be struck down.
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  9. JoeBas

    JoeBas Original Member

    The ferry IS the middle of the highway - rather than having a bridge, it simply has a ferry. The could do the same thing at the entrance to a bridge - there's no practical difference.

    This one is not difficult to be cleared and turned around... but it's a 3-hour tour to drive around the Bay, so...

    And I'm not saying that you SHOULD submit. I'm saying that if you do, you might as well just cancel whatever you were trying to do. Bad choice.

    And we did not - we were simply taking the ferry as pedestrians on an evening outing, so we walked on and walked off without molestation. And it also proved to be an excellent opportunity for a little bit of "Education of the masses" regarding the creeping scope of this police state activity - I found a VERY fertile ground of people who felt freshly violated to "welcome to the club".
    Lisa Simeone likes this.
  10. Lisa Simeone

    Lisa Simeone Original Member

    Agree with Saul that it's only a matter of time before "random" "terror" checkpoints are tried on the highways. And I still believe most people will fall right into line. (I know for a fact they will -- many have already told me.)

    We still have to take a stand. Those of us who recognize the threat to our liberties, and who don't wet our pants every time we hear the word "terrorist," have to take a stand. We have to be the ones to say "No" and to walk away, or to take whatever consequences come. Because the sheeple aren't going to do it.
    saulblum likes this.
  11. saulblum

    saulblum Original Member

    Back in September, I submitted the following letter to the NY Times, referencing this article --


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  12. Lisa Simeone

    Lisa Simeone Original Member

  13. saulblum

    saulblum Original Member

    It was not published :td:

    But "random and unpredictable" checkpoints of any nature -- whether on highways, bus stations, subway stations -- do have one fatal flaw in common: If a bomber has managed to get his bomb as far as the checkpoint, it really is too late. Would a bomb that takes out five cops and in the case of a crowded bus or train station, many nearby passengers too, really be any less effective at instilling fear than one that went off on the bus or train itself? Even airports suffer from the same flaw: Just look at the Moscow airport bombing in January, that killed over 30 passengers in the baggage claim area. A TSA checkpoint line during peak times may have more travelers than are on-board many flights.

    There was allegedly an NYPD checkpoint at Park Avenue and 59th Street. For those who are unfamiliar with Manhattan, that is right above the Metro-North tracks, the third busiest commuter rail system in the country. At rush hour, packed trains pass feet under the street every few minutes. You can see the tracks through grates in the sidewalks.
  14. saulblum

    saulblum Original Member

    He sure is.


  15. Lisa Simeone

    Lisa Simeone Original Member

    I know. Been saying it till I'm blue in the face. But the clueless wonders don't want to hear it. Common sense and logic have no place in their cosmos.
  16. saulblum

    saulblum Original Member

    The response from the sheep would be that more checkpoints are needed, further from the airport and train stations.

    I'm starting to think that if today's American populace were around 250 years ago, we would still be British citizens today.
  17. Lisa Simeone

    Lisa Simeone Original Member

    They've already told me that. I've had people -- including so-called journalists -- actually tell me that. These people will bend over and spread 'em anytime Uncle Sam tells them to. In fact, they can't wait.
  18. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    They're called Canadians.
  19. Sunny Goth

    Sunny Goth Original Member Coach

    I can't remember if I've mentioned this here before -- apologies if you'd already heard this...

    A few years ago a friend of mine got an invite to hear a fellow alumni speak about his job. Their alma mater is Cornell and the speaker was working for Rapiscan at the time. My friend invited me to go hear Mr. Rapiscan, and it was an eye opening presentation.

    This guy had a photo of SFO as one of his slides, including highway 101 that runs literally feet away, and other surrounding areas. Essentially he was arguing for a 'dead zone' around the airport of about 5 miles in all directions. :eek: This was when everyone was flapping around about missiles aimed at passenger planes. He highlighted all the places where he saw vulnerabilities that Rapiscan could take care of for SFO. He was envisioning using various versions of the Rapiscan machines to screen cars and trucks (with people inside them), and of course to screen people once they were inside the airport. He was envisioning more checkpoints than you can shake a stick at.

    At some point the thing you are trying to protect becomes unusable when you add this much 'security'.
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  20. Lisa Simeone

    Lisa Simeone Original Member

    Of course Mr. Rapiscan would like to get that contract. And to create the fear that would create the need for that contract. Can you say ka-ching?!

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