TSA’s VIPR at it again — fear mongering in Chicago

The TSA’s VIPR teams, about which we’ve written countless times, have been at it again — this time in Chicago.

According to this CBS report (presented in an embarrassingly credulous, golly-gee-whiz fashion), a VIPR team slithered onto the Metra system and started manhandling bags and questioning people. Why? Because they had detected a nuclear isotope.

“Sir, do you have an explanation as to why I am getting a high isotope reading on your bag?”

Uh, maybe because he’s had a medical test done, which medical tests are very common?


The man in question is a lawyer. Someone who should understand . . . ya know  . . . the law. And Constitutional protections. But Mr. Isotope was only too happy to accommodate the VIPRs, showing them his ID and a note from his doctor explaining the test. He later told the CBS reporter he feels more safe and secure knowing these crack teams are on the case, roaming public transportation questioning people.

And what if you had had one of these common nuclear medical tests but didn’t have a note from your doctor with you? Who knows? Given the provisions of the NDAA and the unchecked power of the TSA, you may have been hauled off to a jail cell for an indefinite period of time.

But then, you probably had it coming. Foolish person — don’t you know you should carry your papers with you at all times? Papieren, bitte!

  • “But Mr. Isotope was only too happy to accommodate the VIPRs”
    I seriously doubt it. This sounds like a staged event to me. They just happened to wonder into this guy? They aren’t that common.

  • Saul B

    Here is Mr. Jones’s page if you’d like to e-mail him and educate him on the Constitution.


    • Dolt

      Well that makes sense. He is an estate probate lawyer, possibly just working towards his future political career. He plans to be one of the special people in the power class, so he must show the pesants how to properly act when authority figures come and round people up. Show your papers…now get into the boxcar and dont question.

  • Dolt

    “Well if you don’t like it, then don’t fly…” Oh, wait…. (/sarcasm)

    To me, the outrageous part of this is according to the linked article, the lawyer setting off alarms wasn’t even the guy approached by TSA about his bag. It was the guy NEXT to him. The lawyer is the one who came forward at that point and said it was him they must be looking for.

    Not to mention how, like Lisa said, had this lawyer not had the medical papers with him he would have been hauled off to live the rest of this life in Guantanamo with no due process and the Amerikans would have been dancing in the streets in praise of the “Great Save” by the government.

    • nveric

      So, the lawyer was to divert attention away from the guy with a tactical nuclear device?

      Who walks around with a note from their doctor? Children?

  • I find it difficult to believe a videographer just happened to be there to capture the moment. Something doesn’t smell right.

    • Saul B

      Actually I think that John Pistole washes himself daily with the shreds of the Constitution, so we know it’s not him.

      • n4zhg

        That would be “wipes his crack daily with the Constitution”.

        • Daisiemae

          Lookout! You may be banned for using this “graphic language!”

    • nveric

      The lawyer was a plant or as I wrote above, to divert attention away from the guy with a tactical nuclear device.

      • nveric, no, the lawyer wasn’t a plant. The lawyer had just had a medical nuclear stress test, which tests, as I said, are quite common.

        • nveric

          And so, a note from his doctor was required? One plans travel this way these days?

          I traveled a lot in 1984-1985, even then security was intrusive, with the John Wayne airport being the most critical. In the 90s, even meeting passengers required one to remove their belt, so I stopped going that far.

  • Daisiemae

    Are those two guys in green carrying shotguns? My God! What country are we living in? It’s certainly not America.

    • Daisiemae, unfortunately, it is America. Or Amerika. And that photo was taken at the DC Metro. VIPR teams are everywhere.

    • And wearing military aviation nomex flight suits.

  • Wow. The nation seems to be taking a momentary look-back to the beginning of the Iraq War ten years ago, and a few have pointed out that the media breathlessly reported every moment — with very little attention paid to those (like me) who were loud and openly skeptical of the justification for the invasion.

    Flash forward ten years and the media seems even less interested in a critical evaluation of what the TSA is doing. You’re right, Lisa, CBS-2 just loved the spectacle. Let’s edit Dan Savini’s report a little, shall we? “federal agents investigated [what they said was] a possible nuclear threat at Chicago’s Ogilvie Transportation Center, [but which turned out to be a false alarm, triggered by a common medical procedure].”

  • Susan Richart

    This was nothing but a PR stunt. That, however, still doesn’t make VIPR any less despicable.

    A person allegedly having recently undergone a nuclear medicine procedure alarms at a train station and before the train can leave the station it is swarming with cops of whatever variety? Give me a break; ain’t gonna happen in the real world. In that world, the train would have been well down the tracks before the TSA/VIPRS could stop it and board.

    However, if VIPR teams are being staged on a permanent basis at train stations, then we have the even larger issue of: WHY?

    • Susan, TSA is indeed now a permanent fixture at Amtrak’s 30th Street Station here in Philly where I live and at NY Penn Station in New York. I was pulled out of line (“randomly”) last month on a trip to New York and was told that I could not board the train until they swabbed my briefcase. Amtrak and Philly police were on hand to enforce the TSA request, so I had no choice but to comply.

      The idiocy of this is that anyone intent on disrupting rail traffic could simply place an explosive on the tracks, which are totally unprotected. I believe this is a technique that was invented by train robbers about ten minutes after the invention of the locomotive. To my knowledge screening the passengers has not been shown to prevent it.

      • “I believe this is a technique that was invented by train robbers about ten minutes after the invention of the locomotive.”

        Bravo! But as we know, none of this about security. None of it. It’s about compelling obedience. It’s about conditioning. It’s about grooming. It’s about impressing upon us serfs that we have no rights. And millions of Americans are going along with it, nay, embracing it.

        • Saul B


          Do you know what class of Americans has terrorized and maimed the most number of Amtrak riders in this country’s recent history?

          Truck drivers.


          • Brilliant. Thank you.

            (Of course, we know it won’t make a dent. The fact that more people are killed in car accidents every month than have been killed by terrorists in all these years doesn’t make a dent either.)

          • Saul B

            Car drivers have also been responsible for numerous Amtrak and commuter rail incidents in this country.


          • Saul, there you go again, bothering us with those pesky facts! Don’t you know that facts don’t make people feel better?! And feeling better is obviously what’s most important.

            (sarcasm alert for those who don’t get it) (God, the depths to which we’ve sunk)

          • Daisiemae

            Yes, we’re sinking low, very low.

      • Susan Richart

        The the TSA is there in significant enough numbers that they are able to “swarm” a train?

        • Combined with law enforcement, yes. Click the first link in the post, the VIPR link, to see how proud they are that they can “surge” into any locale.