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Posted: 12/14/2005 12:57:03 PM EDT
www.cnn.com/2005/US/12/14/air.marshals.ap/index.html

Air marshals to patrol trains, buses

Wednesday, December 14, 2005; Posted: 10:56 a.m. EST (15:56 GMT)

Air marshals, trained to handle emergencies in the close quarters of an airliner cabin, will expand to other modes of transit.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Federal air marshals are expanding their work beyond airplanes, launching counterterror surveillance at train stations and other mass transit facilities in a three-day test program.

As of Wednesday, the Transportation Security Administration said, teams of undercover air marshals and uniformed law enforcement officers were descending on bus stations and transit systems across the country to protect them from potential terrorists.

"We just want to develop the capability to enhance security outside of aviation," said air marshal spokesman David Adams.

Air marshals stepped outside of their usual role of flying undercover on airliners after Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans. They were sent to keep order at Louis Armstrong International Airport, where thousands of evacuees converged after the levees were breached.

The so-called "Visible Intermodal Protection and Response" teams -- or VIPER teams -- will patrol Amtrak's Northeast Corridor and Los Angeles rail lines; bus stations in Houston; and mass transit systems in Atlanta, Philadelphia, Washington and Baltimore.

The teams will consist of two air marshals, one TSA bomb-sniffing canine team, one or two transportation security inspectors and a local law enforcement officer.

Adams said there is no new intelligence indicating that terrorists are interested in targeting transportation modes.

Rather, the TSA is trying to expand the role of air marshals, who have been eager to conduct surveillance activities beyond the aircraft, and tighten security at public transit stations over the holiday.

Some members of the team will be obvious to the traveling public and wear jackets bearing the TSA name on the back. Others will be plainclothes air marshals scanning the crowds for suspicious individuals.

"TSA expects to find new ways to quickly deploy resources, in the event of an actual threat, that adds complexity to security measures outside of the aviation domain," the agency said in a statement.

Thousands of air marshals were rushed into service after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The service has been shunted among different agencies since then, starting out at the Federal Aviation Administration, moving to the TSA, then to Immigration and Custom Enforcement and, recently, back to the TSA.

Though the exact number of air marshals is classified, pilots estimate that they cover only a small percentage of flights. Efforts were made to expand coverage by cross-training other law enforcement officers to perform air marshal duties, but Congress put a stop to it.

Air marshals last week shot and killed a passenger in Miami who they said made a bomb threat.

The Washington Post first reported the deployment of the VIPER teams.

Copyright 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
Link Posted: 12/14/2005 12:58:59 PM EDT
What caliber handguns do they carry?

Link Posted: 12/14/2005 12:59:31 PM EDT
Are we suddenly overflowing with them?
Link Posted: 12/14/2005 1:02:10 PM EDT
Ummm, shouldn't we secure the air first? They were complaining about not enough air marshalls just a little while ago.
Link Posted: 12/14/2005 1:03:28 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/14/2005 1:03:49 PM EDT by SmilingBandit]
Who gets the joy of being the first air marshal to take protect the Greyhound from LA to NY?
Link Posted: 12/14/2005 1:05:37 PM EDT
Why don't we just allow CCW on public transportation? It is not legal to carry on MARTA in Atlanta. In fact it is a FELONY HIJACKING charge. Not for brandishing or making threats or firing - just for possessing it at all.

I am glad the air marshals are on the airplanes for the time being. I am also not even remotely worried about terrorists hijacking buses or trains. I understand that they are still vulnerable to being blown up or attacked but that is a type of attack that air marshals cannot be reasonably expected to prevent unlike a hijacking.

I am worried that like most government agencies they are expanding their reach beyond their original charter and potentially curtailing our freedoms.

Air marshals in the shopping malls? At the daycare? At the gunstore?
Link Posted: 12/14/2005 1:09:17 PM EDT
Air Marshal's are TSA's only law enforcement arm. TSA also covers rail, marine and land transportation. I think the Air Marshal's will eventually be turned into "Transportation Marshal's" or TSA Police.
Link Posted: 12/14/2005 1:10:19 PM EDT
This is a great idea and is exactly what we need.

However, there is alot missing as security is concerned. We need cameras on every city block thoughout the country.

It might be expensive at first, but i feel our government can foot the bill.

Link Posted: 12/14/2005 1:10:21 PM EDT
Good thinking- some bipolar whackos are afraid to fly.
Link Posted: 12/14/2005 1:17:42 PM EDT

Originally Posted By warlord:
www.cnn.com/2005/US/12/14/air.marshals.ap/index.html

~snip~

The so-called "Visible Intermodal Protection and Response" teams -- or VIPER teams -- will patrol Amtrak's Northeast Corridor and Los Angeles rail lines; bus stations in Houston; and mass transit systems in Atlanta, Philadelphia, Washington and Baltimore.

The teams will consist of two air marshals, one TSA bomb-sniffing canine team, one or two transportation security inspectors and a local law enforcement officer.

~snip~

Some members of the team will be obvious to the traveling public and wear jackets bearing the TSA name on the back. Others will be plainclothes air marshals scanning the crowds for suspicious individuals.

~snip~

Copyright 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.



Hmmm... Well, why don't we just tell everyone where they're gonna be?
Link Posted: 12/14/2005 1:20:18 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Triumph955i:
This is a great idea and is exactly what we need.

However, there is alot missing as security is concerned. We need cameras on every city block thoughout the country.
It might be expensive at first, but i feel our government can foot the bill.





Yeah that'l stop badguys from hijacking airplanes, buses etc:
Link Posted: 12/14/2005 1:20:22 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/14/2005 1:21:21 PM EDT by NimmerMehr]
"Visible Intermodal Protection and Response" .... Who the fuck comes up with this shit?

Why not just call them beat cops?


Originally Posted By warlord:
www.cnn.com/2005/US/12/14/air.marshals.ap/index.html

~snip~

The so-called "Visible Intermodal Protection and Response" teams -- or VIPER teams -- will patrol Amtrak's Northeast Corridor and Los Angeles rail lines; bus stations in Houston; and mass transit systems in Atlanta, Philadelphia, Washington and Baltimore.

The teams will consist of two air marshals, one TSA bomb-sniffing canine team, one or two transportation security inspectors and a local law enforcement officer.

~snip~

Some members of the team will be obvious to the traveling public and wear jackets bearing the TSA name on the back. Others will be plainclothes air marshals scanning the crowds for suspicious individuals.

~snip~

Copyright 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.


Link Posted: 12/14/2005 1:26:36 PM EDT

Originally Posted By NonConformist:

Originally Posted By Triumph955i:
This is a great idea and is exactly what we need.

However, there is alot missing as security is concerned. We need cameras on every city block thoughout the country.
It might be expensive at first, but i feel our government can foot the bill.





Yeah that'l stop badguys from hijacking airplanes, buses etc:



Im being facticous.

I don't believe this is needed. the nationwide CCW sounds like a great solution.
Link Posted: 12/14/2005 1:59:45 PM EDT

Originally Posted By SmilingBandit:
Who gets the joy of being the first air marshal to take protect the Greyhound from LA to NY?


My reaction also.

I suspect the bus detail will quickly turn into a disciplinary tool (“You don’t want to wear a coat and tie while working? Here’s your bus ticket – you’ll fit in nicely.”).

Seems to me most of this could be actually be done by local agencies. I don’t know that the NYC subway system needs Federal Air Marshals patrolling it.
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