Watch and weep:
Yes, that’s the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) performing security checks at the Amtrak station in Savannah, Georgia. Never mind the fact that they were screening passengers as they got off a train. Never mind the fact that they showed up uninvited and violated Amtrak’s security policy. Never mind the fact that Savannah, like almost every other Amtrak station, does not require you to go inside the station to board a train. No, let’s all salute the TSA for keeping us safe. Just look at those no-good terrorists in the video above! They come out younger every day.
This story is so sad on so many levels. The TSA has "Visible Intermodal Protection and Response" (VIPR) teams who "provide a random high-visibility surge into a transit system and work with state and local security, and law enforcement officials to expand the unpredictability of security measures to detect, deter, disrupt or defeat potential criminal and/or terrorist operations." In other words, when the airport is overstaffed, some TSOs get to take a field trip.
Thankfully, Amtrak Police Chief John O’Connor became aware of what was going on at Savannah and quickly put an end to it, demanding that the TSA cease and desist then escorting them out of the station. Not before the damage was done, though. It is bad enough that Congress has granted the TSA authority to conduct any checks at railroad stations in the first place, but what the TSA did ran directly counter to Amtrak policy. Amtrak randomly screens passengers. Here, the TSA was screening every single passenger. Furthermore, the TSA separated the station into "sterile" and "non-sterile" areas–a complete joke and something Amtrak has never tried to do.
The TSA, while not apologizing directly, did issue the following statement:
However, after looking into it further, we learned that this particular VIPR operation should have ended by the time these folks were coming through the station since no more trains were leaving the station. We apologize for any inconvenience we may have caused for those passengers.
Just another example of security theater by the TSA, further begging the question: why do we continue to put up with this?