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TSA’s Grip on Internal Travel is Tightening
By: Wendy McElroy | Wed, Dec 12, 2012
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is tightening its grip on domestic travcel. I don’t mean the random, unpredictable security checks at bus, subway and train stations which already exist. I mean a coordinated and systematic police control of internal travel within America. Groundwork is being laid.
Application to Make U.S. Into an Airport Screening Zone
The application was tucked away on page 71431 of Volume 77, Number 231 of the Federal Register (November 30). It was surrounded by soporific references to forwarding “the new Information Collection Request (ICR) abstracted below to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and approval under the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA).”
The application for funding from the TSA constitutes a preliminary step toward systematically expanding TSA’s authority from airports to highways and almost every other means of public travel. The expansion would erase one of the last remaining differences between the US and a total police state; namely, the ability to travel internally without being under police surveillance. The total police state you experience at airports wants to spill into roads and bus stops, to subways and trains. Or, rather, the TSA wants to solidify and spread the fledgling and erratic presence it already has.
Travel Authorities Will Comply
Private companies and public travel authorities will co-operate with this “voluntary” program of assessment and with whatever policies result. They will co-operate for two reasons: the stick and the carrot.
The stick: The BASE program is voluntary in the same sense that compliance with TSA demands at airport screening are voluntary – which is to say, not at all. A company that refuses to comply is likely to receive the same harassment and extra scrutiny as passengers who refuse to be screened.
The carrot: the May 30th Federal Register report listed one use to which data from the TSA assessments would be put. It would “inform…the most effective application of available resources, including funds distributed under the Transit Security Grant Program.” In short, government money will flow to the compliant.