Friday, December 30, 2011


This is a response from Breacher to this article:,0,3213641.story about TSA VIPER teams conducting searches at bus terminals and train stations.  From AWRM which you now have to register to gain access.

The fact that they are harassing people LEAVING the trains tells you that safety is not an issue. It is just another mechanism for mass shakedown. I am told that the Portland commuter train system (known as the "MAX" is a training ground for this. They set the train up for an unscheduled stop and do a mass offload and search of passengers, but usually keep the searches to the less than legitimate looking people which nets enough dope and outstanding warrant arrests to keep public outcry from getting very far.

The personnel I have seen are not exactly the flatfoot donut shop crowd. Lots of tough guys, the sort who probably did some time in the military, definitely go to the gym and want to get some "front lines" type of law enforcement work. The general population is visibly supportive with a few notable exceptions, then there is little or no sympathy for those who oppose them, however you can see the "mood" when some big quiet guy just gives them dirty looks (like I do) and they decide to move on and bother someone else, but sometimes they swarm a train pretty hard and are looking for anyone to even think wrong in their direction. Even then though, it is loud rowdy punk teenagers who usually get the brunt of it, then there are a couple of neighborhoods where they had been getting hit every few days, mainly where there are concentrations of low end apartment buildings, ex-convicts and teenagers. The Apartment complex owners usually respond by raising rents, putting in gates and running background checks on applicants. That keeps the openly declared felons out, but lots of misdemeanor level miscreants who snitch their way out of real prison time tend to be the bulk of the problems anyway.

What I see is a combined force of about 20 officers from various jurisdictions per "raid" location, and it usually results in two to five people taken into custody (I am told it is usually for dope they were carrying or outstanding warrants). The firepower is generally very light (no visible long guns), dogs relatively polite and no unusual equipment visible. In some cases there are local transit security people who appear to be unarmed. I suspect the unarmed people avoid confrontation with the targeted hoodlums if there is intel on there being any danger, and then wait to direct action until the task force is assembled. The mass stop and searches are not initiated by the unarmed persons though. What I tended to see was a classic prisoner search format where the armed persons (usually appearing to be regular police of some sort) stayed nearby, but most of the actual hands-on with the mixed crowds is the unarmed people, then once someone in the crowd is singled out/identified, it will be a mix of armed and unarmed people dealing with them.

Someone deciding to go hard core as a group would see themselves in a target rich environment since the cop types have usually already declared turf and segregate themselves from the crowd. The outer cordon (usually armed) is usually about half still looking and dealing inward, the inner cordon generally half unarmed. It is very clear from their behavior that they do not realistically expect someone on the inside to simply get on the cell phone and call in for an armed extraction, but the design of the plan indicates that the original tactical planners have set the their tactics up to deal with such a hit, just in practice, it is so rare that it is not something the guys on the ground condition themselves to expect.

The teams also tend to make use of natural barriers, like speeding traffic. The traffic, mixed crowd and their own people mingled in the crowd are probably the main reasons these teams don't appear to be sporting much (if any) paramilitary hardware. Their tactics when encountering a troublemaker or targeted person usually involve segregate, surround, subdue. It just is not set up for dealing with someone who is toting a subgun and a couple of grenades.

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