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Public Statements

Rep. Garrett Introduces the Freedom of Travel Act


Location: Washington, DC

Rep. Scott Garrett (R-NJ) introduced the Freedom of Travel Act, H.R. 2589, to protect Americans' Fourth Amendment rights by denying the TSA the authority to conduct random searches of surface transportation passengers.

"Many Americans are unaware that the reach of the TSA extends far beyond our nation's airports and into every conceivable mode of transportation. The TSA's Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response program, or VIPR, has conducted thousands of unannounced and random sweeps of mass transit locations, ferry terminals, and highways on the grounds that such actions serve as a deterrent to terrorism. These teams can appear virtually anytime, anywhere to subject citizens to a search of their person and property

"Yet, by the TSA's own account, these random searches have done little to make the American people any safer. After VIPR teams had conducted over 9,000 operations, including random truck and bus inspections on a Tennessee highway, the Los Angeles Times revealed in December 2011 that "TSA officials say they have no proof that roving viper teams have foiled any terrorist plots or thwarted any major threat to public safety.' This is not security, this is security theater.

"This is why I am offering the Freedom to Travel Act. This legislation would protect the Fourth Amendment rights of citizens by denying the TSA the authority to conduct random searches of surface transportation passengers. I believe Congress should focus on ensuring that the TSA continues to secure our nation's civil aviation network rather than expanding their scope of operations to activities that are more appropriately handled by law enforcement agencies at various levels of government."

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