TSA News HuffPost Live video link

I was on the Alyona Minkovski Show on HuffPost Live last night with former TSA Administrator Kip Hawley and EPIC Administrative Law Counsel Khaliah Barnes to talk about the TSA’s VIPR teams. The show was prompted by an article in the New York Times the other day alerting the public to what some of us have been writing about for years — that it was only a matter of time before the TSA’s unwarranted searches and harassment of passengers would spread from airports to every other transportation hub. I don’t know why it took the NYT so long to catch on.

Hawley was head of the TSA from July 2005 to January 2009, and has since written a book about the agency. He was happy to help craft and implement the TSA’s boneheaded policies — such as the Magic Bomb-Proof Plastic Baggie — for years, and got religion only after he left. How convenient.

Though he comes across as reasonable and avuncular, claiming that in the battle between civil liberties and security, he comes down on the side of civil liberties, he still defends the TSA and VIPR to the hilt, repeating debunked assertions about the TSA’s infamous voodoo practitioners, and even going so far as to claim that had VIPR teams been at the Boston Marathon, they would likely have prevented the bombing. Never mind that there’s not a shred of evidence to show that VIPR is anything but window dressing; Hawley simply clings to the “I know super secret stuff and you don’t” argument.

Anyway, HuffPo video link here.

(Cross-posted at ABombazine)

  • frostysnowman

    Listening to Kip Hawley made me throw up in my mouth a little bit. Especially when he tried to justify searching people getting off of buses and trains. I’m so tired of hearing about “secret events” and “classified situations” that are supposed to justify these types of intrusions. If the TSA is so proud of their successes, why not share? I find it hard to believe that the Secret Service asks for VIPR back up for “national security” events. It seems a little sad. And how do they know VIPR units are reported back to Al Queda? I hope this debate continues to move to the forefront of public discussions. The NYT is late to the party, but better late than never I guess.

  • So very well done. Brava, Lisa. You squashed the TSA’s talking points with sound law and reason.

  • Annapolis2

    I watched the show live, Lisa. Great advocacy!

    I would have liked to see Alonya press Kip harder on the question of what powers TSA actually has in public places that aren’t airports. The NYT link says that the TSA personnel in DC were armed(!) Are these TSA employees actually empowered to detain and search people or not? What happens when we refuse? How did they get away with detaining people who were getting off a train in Savannah – any of those people could and should have said, no, I don’t consent to a search, and the only thing TSA could have done is forced them to leave the train station which is what they wanted to do anyway!

    I wanted to ask Kip what would happen if every last American refused to play along with this charade and put up resistance to warrantless searches. It’s clear that the answer is, “well, we’d have to stop showing up because we don’t have the power to force anyone to open their bags. If we blocked people from their trains, we’d just be shutting down train stations and bus depots any time we showed up.” So what good are they doing when they only get compliance from compliant people? As you said, slave training.

    • 1amWendy

      Ah, Sommer…. logic seems not to have a place in this argument. Lisa, you did a forceful job… Brava!