TSA Security Checks

Discussion in 'Amtrak Rail Discussion' started by Everydaymatters, Dec 4, 2011.

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  1. Dec 4, 2011 #1

    Everydaymatters

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    In Chicago on Wednesday afternoon, while waiting for the TE, the TSA set up shop to check luggage. A group of about 8, including both Amtrak police and TSA agents, set up tables to begin their checks.

    Also, prior to going to the gate, there were 3 Amtrak K-9 police in the station.

    What a world we live in :(

    Is this the new normal? Are all of the Amtrak stations now experiencing this?
     
  2. Dec 4, 2011 #2

    jis

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    Haven't seen anything in New York Penn Station other tan an occasional K-9 unit or two, in a while.
     
  3. Dec 4, 2011 #3

    dlagrua

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    We usually board at stations "along the way" where there is no TSA security. NOL has one security officer and he introduces himself but is pretty nice and doesn't get in your face. Chicago for some reason has the most TSA agents that I've seen so far and they do spotchecks and have bomb sniffing dogs. NYP has just the dogs and I'm OK with nonintrusive screening. I believe that DC has just used K-9 units so far,

    This is still all a waste of time until someone tells me how Amtrak intends to inspect every inch of thousands of miles of trackage.
     
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  4. Dec 4, 2011 #4

    amamba

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    I post sometimes when I see them set up. I observed TSA agents with the blue gloves checking luggage for what I assume was an LD train during a weekday in October at NYP - I think it was October 28th when I was in NYC for business. I also noticed them doing that one day in NYP in August.

    Also, for about 6-8 weeks this fall, the amtrak police had been camped out in Providence. They would set up next to the escalator down to the amtrak platform and swab all bags for explosives (were NOT searching bags). It was a PITA for my H who commutes regularly (along with about 50-100 others) to BOS during the week on the 66. I don't know if they were doing this process for other trains, though, north or south bound. On several days he was worried he was going to miss the train because of the additional time that this process took. H says that they have not been there at all since Thanksgiving so maybe they are done for the time being.

    It is particularly stupid in PVD since they were only searching folks boarding the amtrak platform and NOT the MBTA platform - and the trains go to the same place.
     
  5. Dec 4, 2011 #5

    Bob Dylan

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    More Security Theater by the Clueless in the Blue Shirts! Last year on the way to NTD in PHL(via Phoenix, Milwaukee on a Jet! :eek: ), TSA had four agents @ the Milwaukee Airport Station checking Luggage for those boarding the Hiawathas to Milwaukee Chicago!(all 8 of us!!) So far, thats the only TSA I have seen @ an Amtrak Station except for Two Inspectors that stood around Watching the TE board in Austin. They did absolutely nothing else except drink their coffee and talk on their cell phones! Boy did I feel safer! :rolleyes:
     
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  6. Dec 4, 2011 #6

    bobnabq

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    I've read here or in another forum that passengers in LAX are often under observation by police, looking for anyone who fits the profile of people transporting drugs.

    Personally, I don't worry much, not doing anything or carrying anything wrong. But I would hate being inconvenienced and delayed.

    I will have in my possession about 12 bottles of assorted medications, but all with my name and pharmacy label on them.

    Plus insulin and needles.

    Here's a question. During my ten days in southern California I will be visiting one person who has a prescription for medicinal marijuana.

    Could any scent from furniture, etc get onto my clothing, and later be detected?
     
  7. Dec 4, 2011 #7

    Devil's Advocate

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    I wouldn't blame the whole world for this. If America ends up becoming a police state it will only happen because Americans themselves allowed it. Those people who are running off to Amtrak to avoid the TSA aren't making a statement against the security theater nonsense so much as they're simply retreating from the debate. The stations I typically travel through have not yet setup any "enhanced" security measures. However, I don't doubt that so long as the "homeland security" budgets remain heavily funded the likelihood of additional screening continues to rise.

    Seems unlikely, but I suppose that would depend on how much he smokes and where. As I'm sure you are aware the Feds have no intention of respecting California's attempt to demote marijuana's absurd jail-filling and budget-crippling legal status. On my trip through LAUS I did not see anyone trying to sniff me out, but I don't smoke and I don't typically spend my time with those who do. So I suppose I might have just slipped through the screening process unaware that we were ever being checked.
     
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  8. Dec 4, 2011 #8

    MattW

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    Unfortunately, in order to prevent the tsa from installing the ionizing radiation scanners, or doing the full pat-down, I'm afraid we'll have to put up with the Amtrak Police-supervised quick checks at least until the tsa itself is overhauled entirely. If Amtrak gives tsa the heave-ho in full, the tsa could push back very hard and either get their way, or figure out how to shutdown Amtrak.

    In the same vein, supposedly Amtrak police in Chicago did toss the tsa out when some of their screeners thought they'd setup a surveillance point on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. Since it's technically an unverified source, I wasn't going to create a full topic for it:

    http://www.travelunderground.org/index.php?threads/biggest-ridership-in-amtrak-history.1587/ <- mentioned in post #1, but further detailed in post #13.
     
  9. Dec 4, 2011 #9

    Texan Eagle

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    Leaving aside the whole debate on whether TSA is effective or not aside for once, just talking on theoretical reasoning, one might say that the whole TSA check circus makes airports safer because every single passenger boarding every single flight has to pass from unsecured area outside security to secure area inside security so all the plane passengers are verified harmless (not possessing weapons or bombs) but how does the TSA justify their circus helps in increasing safety on Amtrak unless every station on the network is securely guarded with only one entry point and TSA checking every passenger boarding? A vast majority of Amtrak stations are just one tiny building by the railroad and an open platform and any passenger can board the trains bypassing a possible security guy sitting at a table inside the station building, heck so many of them are unmanned stations! Does the TSA (and the folks in the government that fund TSA) believe that the trouble causing folks will board Amtrak trains only from major stations? Terrorists can't drive down to smaller suburban stations? Do they hate boarding without RedCap assistance? Has any research shown that terrorist methodology requires them to use the Metropolitan Lounges to relax before embarking on their mission? [​IMG]
     
  10. Dec 4, 2011 #10

    dlagrua

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    The presence of TSA people at major stations does absolutely NOTHING. The terrorists are not stupid and if they have a plan to damage the rail infrastructure they will just travel to a rural area where a train crosses a bridge and do their thing with a device on the tracks. One solution would be volunteer citizen observers. There are millions of us and only a few thousand TSA people assigned to the railroads. If everyone keeps their eyes open that can and will prevent any potential terrorist act.

    Citizens with carry permits should also be allowed to keep their pistols on their person instead of checking them in their luggage. Would a terorist be able to do anything bad if he knew that many people aboard every train were armed?
     
  11. Dec 4, 2011 #11

    Texan Eagle

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    Are you suggesting these people should also be allowed to use their weapons in case of a perceived threat of terror? If no, it is not going to deter a potential terrorist because he/she knows that although there are a bunch of people carrying guns onboard, none of them is allowed to use it on him/her. On the other hand, if there are going to be a bunch of people onboard the train who have the permission to use their weapons on a perceived threat, sorry, I am not traveling on Amtrak anymore. Can't say when one of them will think I am a potential terrorist and might cause harm to me. Sorry, bad idea.
     
  12. Dec 4, 2011 #12

    gatelouse

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    My personal opinion and assessment are that TSA has too much money and too many people and are looking for ways to keep them busy.

    Amtrak has a good record of pushing back against TSA, CBP, and similar DHS agencies when train operations are negatively affected or customers complain. Plus Amtrak has its own authorities through the Amtrak Police, giving them greater leverage against DHS.

    My recommendation for all who encounter TSA at their rail stations and find them detracting to the Amtrak experience: write to Amtrak from their website and call customer relations and let them know. Tell them you feel plenty secure with the Amtrak Police presence alone. Any examples of Amtrak Police acting more professionally or competently than their TSA brethren would also be helpful.

    Amtrak is in a unique position in the transportation industry to push back against DHS/TSA. By all means encourage them to keep doing so.
     
  13. Dec 4, 2011 #13

    NorthCoastHiawatha

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    I saw three TSA standing around in Seattle the day before thanksgiving, they didn't search anyone, just stood there joking with each other.
     
  14. Dec 4, 2011 #14

    smee

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    The K-9 units at NYP are basically for station security as opposed to checking luggage. The officers walk the station with the dogs to show a presence and also check possible areas where an explosive device may be placed.
     
  15. Dec 4, 2011 #15

    Devil's Advocate

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    I'm not so sure Amtrak really has the staunchly pro-consumer and anti-TSA history some of us seem to think they do. However, maybe if more of us made a point of letting them know that avoiding the TSA is a major consideration for paying double the cost of a flight it might actually convince Amtrak to push back harder than they currently are. Once TSA is allowed to run SAS, Amtrak can kiss my $300 day trips goodbye.
     
  16. Dec 5, 2011 #16

    NAVYBLUE

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    Don't ride a bus, eat at McDonalds, go to the library, shop at Walmart, stop to get gas, etc. You have NO idea how often you come in contact with a person who has a concealed LEGAL weapon on them except for California and Illinois. 90% of the states require you take training and complete an application and go through the national records check. A large majority of LEGAL weapon carriers are former military/LEOs and practice a lot. So if the SHTF at one of the before mentioned localities, you better pray and hope that their is someone nearby carrying a LEGAL weapon while you lay in a fetal position and wet your pants. Remember, when you life is only seconds away from being snuffed out a Police Officer is ONLY 15 minutes away.

    I usually don't make political statements on sites as this, BUT in your case I made an exception.

    NAVYBLUE

    PS: I could tell you were a gun grabber. Criminals carry guns. Law abiding citizens carry Personal Protection Safety Devices (Weapons)
     
  17. Dec 5, 2011 #17

    fillyjonk

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    I twitched a bit coming back at Thanksgiving because TSA agents apparently did a walk through(?) on the Eagle at STL. At least, I was sitting in my sleeper compartment and a couple of dudes with blue jackets stenciled "TSA" walked down the corridor...I kept expecting to hear a knock on the door and be asked to let my luggage be searched, but nothing happened.

    Maybe they were going to say "hey" to the people working in the diner but I don't think so. I have also seen TSA agents milling about on the platform at STL and also once at BNL. I guess I don't mind that so much, but I would be uncomfortable with being told we all needed to be searched or whatever.
     
  18. Dec 5, 2011 #18

    George Harris

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    Yes. Why should they not?

    Carrying a weapon without the ability and willingness to use it if needful is pointless.

    Among the major pleasures of riding Amtrak is being able to walk to the platform without hassle, get on the train without hassle, sit down and relax without a lecture, etc.
     
  19. Dec 5, 2011 #19

    Devil's Advocate

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    Why not simply replace our constitution with a decree of mob justice then?

    If equipping just about anyone with guns made everyone safer then Texas would be one of the safest places on Earth.

    Unfortunately that's just not how it works out in the end.

    Here in gun-friendly Texas we've had multiple shootings and hostage takings where the "good guys" had plenty of guns on them.

    So why has this not become a major deterrent? Why are so few people saved by these good guys?

    In general it's because the gun fanatics had no training on handling sudden violence beyond how to fire their weapon.

    In simple terms the they had no clue who to shoot or why or when. They were just as confused about what was going on as everyone else.

    Many of then remained holed up in the bathroom/closet/whatever unable to see what was going on or take any decisive action.

    Nor did they have the ability to identify other "good guys" and coordinate their actions.

    Sometimes it's fun to imagine taking things into our own hands and happily devolving into a primitive cowboy style legal system free of justice and liberty.

    Unfortunately the reality of the situation is that none of that crap actually works the way it does in the movies.

    Maybe that sort of nonsense would fly in Nigeria, but certainly not in a modern urbanized democracy.
     
  20. Dec 5, 2011 #20

    Acela150

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    Don't know if anyone saw this but it appears the TSA has possibly crossed the line again at JFK.

    Back OT at PHL the TSA comes and goes. They search random passengers at stairways 3 and 5.
     
  21. Dec 5, 2011 #21

    NAVYBLUE

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    Research on violent crimes prevented by citizens per year with LEGALLY owned firearms and numbers

    1.7 million Hart Research Associates 1996

    1.5 million John Lott (U. of Florida) 1998

    2.1 million Klerk/Gertz (NW Law School) 1999

    2.0 million Clinton Justice Dept 1999

    NONE of these researchers are conservative organizations or gun right organizations

    You sir have every right to sit and watch your loved ones and others murdered/raped etc while you sit/sat and did nothing. I have the constitutional right to insure to the best extent possible that it NEVER happens to me or my family. EVERY weapons permit holder I've talked to (and myself) knows that if we have to kill someone to save our/family members, that it will affect our lives forever. Permit holders learn the 3 S's real early. Lessen your chances of ever having to use your weapon by NOT going to stupid places with stupid people to do stupid things.

    Dept of Justice/FBI stats show as a PERCENTAGE of state population that the more restrictive a state is on issuing permits to LEGALLY allowed citizens, the higher the violent crime rate. The bluer the state the higher the PERCENTAGE is of violent crime and deaths per 100,000 people

    Citizens kill (Legally) more felons per year than law enforcement personnel by a 9 to 1 ratio. Very few ever spend time in jail for convictions of use of deadly force. My brother is a former LEO and uncle is a retired Oklahoma Highway patrolman. Both have told me that there primary job is take the information AFTER the violent crime is committed and try to find the perpetrator/s. A police officer is not going to save you from being murdered if you are counting on that.

    I remember when Arizona passed constitutional carry two years ago which allows all 21 year old or older LEGAL citizens to open carry a weapon. The local/national news was full of stories of blood in the streets. Never happened.

    The most anti weapons people are usually the most ignorant and 99% of the media falls in that category. 99% of the media, 99% of the people on this forum and 99% of the general public can not tell me when if I asked them what is an ASSAULT rifle, what is a semi automatic rifle, what is a semi automatic pistol, what is a revolver and what is a double action revolver according to the BATF.

    As I told the other gentleman, when the SHTF around you, you better hope a permit holder is nearby to maybe stop the murder/rape.

    NAVYBLUE
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 6, 2011
  22. Dec 5, 2011 #22

    Donctor

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    Damaging tracks in a rural area might have a significant impact on our freight infrastructure, but it certainly wouldn't kill the most people or cause the most psychological harm.
     
  23. Dec 5, 2011 #23

    Donctor

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    Actually, I'd hope that the fan's on/off switch was nearby, and that someone was carrying a roll of paper towels.
     
  24. Dec 5, 2011 #24

    George Harris

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    It is a lot harder to derail a train than most people think. No, I am not going to say anything about potentially successful methods. Note also, that I said potentially, not certainly.
     
  25. Dec 6, 2011 #25

    jis

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    Just came across this interesting tidbit on airliners.net and thought might be relevant in a discussion talking profiles of people who hijack planes or not....

    The hijacking history of US aircraft with nationality of hijackers:

    1961: Cuban

    1968: Cuban

    1970: American

    1971: American (2)

    1972: American (6)

    1976: Croatian

    1978: American (2)

    1985: Lebanese

    1986: Pakistani

    1994: American

    2001: Saudi Arabian (4)

    Hard to discern any trend from that especially since there have been so few of them. Clearly 72 was the worst year as far as hijacking of American planes goes. 2001 didn't quite make it into that record book either. One thing is clear - that the period 2002 - 2011 has been the longest hijack-free period since 1960s i.e. when the whole hijacking phenomenon started.
     
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