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Posted at 7:31 AM ET, 12/21/2010

Metro begins random bag inspections

By Ann Scott Tyson and Mark Berman
Mark Berman

ACLU expresses concern | Dr. Gridlock: A 'necessary evil'?

[This post has been updated.]

Metro began random inspections of passengers' bags and packages this morning, five days after first announcing the checks. The searches, which were at Braddock Road and College Park, have stopped.

Dawn Heuschel, who works for the United States Agency for International Development, rides the Metro from Braddock Road to Foggy Bottom stations.

"It's annoying because I missed my train that was on the platform," she said.

TSA officers checked her purse and a Christmas present she was carrying. Heuschel, a regular Metro rider, was perplexed because the officers didn't look inside. "Frankly I don't know what they did over there," she said.

The inspections are happening at two confirmed Metro stations so far, but can also occur at Metrobus stops.

"Excuse me ma'am. We are doing random bag searches. It will take about 45 seconds of your time," an officer said to a woman with a large handbag entering Braddock Road station. At first the woman said "no" but the officer made clear it was necessary to enter the station. "I guess I will then," the woman said.

She moved to a nearby table where two TSA agents swiped her bag and put it through a reader. "Have a wonderful day," the officer said. "Happy holidays."

Officers at the same station got a positive result on a man's bag and shot it with radiation.

"It could have been from a gun, or residue from target shooting if he went to a firing range," said Lt. Doug Durham of the Special Operations unit of Metro Transit Police.

A police sergeant interviewed the man, who was let go. The search on that man took about 8 minutes. He wouldn't give his name. "I'm going to work" he said, clearly irritated.

In announcing the plan last week, the transit agency said the goal was to try to protect from attack by having police using explosives-screening equipment and bomb-sniffing dogs pull aside every third person at locations where checks are taking place. If people refuse the inspection, they will be barred from entering the station or boarding a bus with the item. They will occur at various spots among the system's 86 rail stations and 12,000 bus stops.

Two rights groups have launched an online petition against the searches. (Previously: Metro to launch bag inspections; Dr. Gridlock on bag inspections; Post staff writer Ann Scott Tyson discusses the inspections with readers; Metro announces, but doesn't conduct, similar checks in 2008.)

Riders, we want to know what you're seeing and experiencing out there. Is this causing big delays, or are you not even noticing any hiccups? What are the searches like? How are people reacting? Tell us below, and we'll help get the information out to your fellow commuters. And tweet what you see with the hashtag #wmatasearch.

xray checkScreeners began random searches this morning at Braddock Road Station. (Gerald Martineau/Post)

passenger divertedAn approaching passenger is diverted to a security check at Braddock Road Station. (Gerald Martineau/Post)

xray checkMetro bomb technician Anthony Montgomery performs a digital x-ray of a passenger's handbag at Braddock Road Station. (Gerald Martineau/Post)

Online Database by Caspio
Click here to load this Caspio Online Database.

By Ann Scott Tyson and Mark Berman  | December 21, 2010; 7:31 AM ET
Categories:  Metro  
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Comments

If you aren't going to search every bag at every station, then what's the point? This SCREAMS security theater. As if terrorists were so stupid they wouldn't try another station. They don't even need to be on a train or in a station to inflict damage to Metro. Metro needs to justify why bag searches are worth the time and effort over increasing officers and patrols in stations and on board trains.

Posted by: zizzy | December 21, 2010 8:24 AM | Report abuse

Security Theater. Way to waste money and trample the 4th Amendment, Metro.

Posted by: gth1 | December 21, 2010 8:30 AM | Report abuse

"Und you vill haf zee honor of haffing serfed zee Reich."

Posted by: srb2 | December 21, 2010 8:42 AM | Report abuse

So if I have my weed in my pocket, will I be okay? Or will they search my person if the K-9 alerts on me but my bag is clean?

Posted by: prickles1009 | December 21, 2010 8:51 AM | Report abuse

So, first false positive already? Good work, Metro.

Posted by: DragonofAnger | December 21, 2010 8:59 AM | Report abuse

I'm waiting for one of them to stop me at a station like Ballston where I can just hop the elevator down to the platform directly and completely bypass them, especially if I've just refused them. Suppose I could always walk to a nearby station too.

This is a total waste of time and resources. We'd be far better served by getting additional transit police out on the system where they are visible.

Posted by: Razor04 | December 21, 2010 9:01 AM | Report abuse

Come to Silver Spring officers. I will not comply. I will enter the system. And we will have our legal challenge to this un-Constitutional procedure.

And I will have a six digit settlement for my trouble.

Posted by: anarcho-liberal-tarian | December 21, 2010 9:05 AM | Report abuse

This is pretty interesting. Come on folks. Wait until the next (eminent) terrorist attack in the D.C. area. Then you'll all be complaining that there wasn't enough security. You can't have it both ways. So it delays your day by 5 minutes. So they see your stuff. Oh no! What are you bringing with you to work anyway?! Get over yourselves.

Posted by: Kelso4 | December 21, 2010 9:39 AM | Report abuse

If you are going to start searching bags, then you have to do everyone. Then you will have a lot of pissed off people that resort to driving instead because the Metro is already messed up enough without adding this extra delay.
Do you really want to search everyone that goes through the Metro station causing a HUGE bouts of delays and annoyance? If less people use Metro, then less money, and then a failing Metro system. Why can't we be like NYC's metro system? Its on time, works, and gets you where you need to go without a lot of extra bullshit.

Posted by: katcongrave77 | December 21, 2010 9:46 AM | Report abuse

I am so frustrated that Metro is not listening to their customers, security experts, and everyone else that is telling them over and over - at least since they first hinted at starting this back in 2008 - that this is simply security theater, it does not make us any safer, and we do not want it.

All a potential attacker has to do, should s/he even pick a station that actually has a check going, is leave the station and either wait until the checks stop, or go to another station - usually just a few stops away. Or, better yet, just sign on to Twitter for all the reports from various area residents and news agencies, and s/he'll know which stations to avoid in the first place.

This is not only a violation of our rights, it is a waste of money and resources that are already scarce at WMATA. Those officers should be patrolling stations and trains, looking for suspicious activity, not to mention deterring the real crimes that already happen on Metro, like theft and (less often, thankfully) assault.

Terrorists aren't stopped by random bag searches. They are stopped by good, old-fashioned detective work before they reach the actual point of attack, and vigilant police and watchful bystanders who recognize suspicious behavior and act on it.

Posted by: turnageb | December 21, 2010 9:48 AM | Report abuse

@Kelso4:

Baaaaa! Baaaaaa! Baaaaaa! Baaaaaa!

Posted by: pmendez | December 21, 2010 9:52 AM | Report abuse

Is there an increased security risk that the public has not been made aware of?

Posted by: blasmaic | December 21, 2010 9:55 AM | Report abuse

Kelso4, people aren't saying the metro doesn't need more security, they are saying we don't need this "security". The chances of these searches actually finding and stopping an attack, when they only search 1/3 of passengers boarding at a couple of random stations and you can refuse the search to go board at another station, is practically non-existent.

Posted by: pearcer15 | December 21, 2010 9:56 AM | Report abuse

@Kelso4:

There would be fewer complaints about this if the system has the *faintest* prayer of stopping any malicious activity. It quite demonstrably does not.

Posted by: DragonofAnger | December 21, 2010 9:56 AM | Report abuse

I have to agree with most of these commenters so far. Metro has in the past year or more, suffered extreme issues related to fare hikes just about every month, extremely poor service from metro employees at the stations who really don't give a rats behind about anything and often growl at you if you so much as approach them for, I dunno, information, elevators and escalators that seem to keep an entire cottaqe industry of repair people gainfully employed and train cars that have been allowed to deteriorate so much that there is constant delay. On top, Metro police couldn't find a horse in a garbage can. My favorite is the announcement periodically through the stations about a telephone number to call for Metro Police if you need help. Really people? Someone in trouble is going to attempt to remember a 9 digit telephone number in crisis? You have people running frantically to catch their trains all day long and you're going to stop them to search every other bag? With the exception of tourists, people will simply stop riding this train wreck. In a matter of days, the Post will run a story about an imposter who pretends to be a Metro employee, "checks" someone's bag and runs off with their stuff. This is DC folks. They can't prevent ordinary crime in metro stations; they can't even prevent people from bringing food on the trains. And they are looking for bombs in my bag?

Posted by: sassafrasnewport | December 21, 2010 10:00 AM | Report abuse

@Kelso4:

There would be fewer complaints about this if the system has the *faintest* prayer of stopping any malicious activity. It quite demonstrably does not.

________________-
@Kelso4 -- they can't even stop people from bringing food on the trains! What next? A confiscated donut?

Posted by: sassafrasnewport | December 21, 2010 10:03 AM | Report abuse

If this needs to be done, so be it! Obviously they've received some kind of intelligence from those people who have already been arrested.

But one simple question: What ever happened to the bomb-sniffing dogs? Plant a couple of them at the bottom of escalators and let them get to work.

I mean, I realize it becomes difficult finding officers who want to be responsible for the care of the dogs, but aren't dogs cheaper than hundreds of thousands of dollars for the cost of bomb material detection machines? Make it worth the officers while by paying him or her a few bucks extra per year.

Or is it that Michael Chertoff isn't in to the dog training business?

Posted by: helloisanyoneoutthere | December 21, 2010 10:14 AM | Report abuse

To get more efficient searches, institute the searches at Metro stops nearest to Muslim neighborhoods and don't bother searching WASP or Grandparents.

Posted by: ahashburn | December 21, 2010 10:16 AM | Report abuse

Unfortunately, one brave soul is going to have to get arrested after declining to be searched and then the court challenges can begin.

Posted by: WashingtonDame | December 21, 2010 10:30 AM | Report abuse

I guess police shouldn't set up DUI check points either. Works the EXACT same way. Annoys those who aren't drunk, causes delays, can be easy to avoid by driving a different direction.

I understand what you're all saying about Security Theater, but even if the chances of preventing a terrorist attack rises .01%, isn't it worth it?

I refuse to believe it will cause more harm than good. Even if the good is small, it's still a very valuable and important good.

Also, to those who say you'll avoid using the metro and will drive instead, paying for gas, parking. Gotta call BS on that one. Prove it.

Posted by: Kelso4 | December 21, 2010 10:31 AM | Report abuse

According to AG Holder: "The threat has changed from simply worrying about foreigners coming here, to worrying about people in the United States, American citizens -- raised here, born here, and who for whatever reason, have decided that they are going to become radicalized and take up arms against the nation in which they were born," he said.

Is everyone in the Justice Dept. and DHS a paranoid personality? In a nation of over 300 million you're going to have a few extremists. There is no such thing as being 100 percent safe.

After 9-11 Congress passed a terrible draconian law known as the Patriot Act based on national hysteria. This law must be repealed. It is contrary to the principles our nation was founded on.

The so-called Patriot Act is anti-constitutional, anti-democratic and anti-American. It is costing us billions of wasted dollars to set up a police state.

Posted by: alance | December 21, 2010 10:34 AM | Report abuse

The TSA needs to be smashed.

Posted by: bs2004 | December 21, 2010 10:38 AM | Report abuse

Stop wasting money on Security Theater.

FINE PEOPLE FOR EATING AND DRINKING. If a violation was issued for every person caught eating and drinking on the Metro there wouldn't be a budget problem. In addition to the fine add insult to injury: search them.

Stop inventing ways to keep people from wanting to use Metro; they are doing a fine enough job of that already with their "stellar" service.

Posted by: dcpanthersfan | December 21, 2010 10:42 AM | Report abuse

I suggest putting a nice rubber sex toy in your bag and let the TSA agent have his way with examining it.

Works when flying.

Posted by: Silly_Willy_Bulldog | December 21, 2010 10:46 AM | Report abuse

Wow, it's hard to believe it's been almost 11 years since 9/11, but you can really tell based on some of these comments. National Security agencies get information on and foil terrorist plots EVERY SINGLE DAY. Smash the TSA? We should get rid of the CIA and NSA too. How about now National Security? How about weekly 9/11s?

Posted by: Kelso4 | December 21, 2010 10:48 AM | Report abuse

What's the point in searching the bag of a old, white lady (in the pic)? Sorry, but they need to employ 'racial profiling', even if it might hurt the feelings of some.

Posted by: bluebellknoll | December 21, 2010 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Kelso4 asked, "What are you bringing with you to work anyway?!"

My Constitutional rights. I'm rather fond of them and intend to keep them safe. These searches do not protect against terrorism but they do great damage to the 4th Amendment.

Posted by: greggwiggins | December 21, 2010 10:56 AM | Report abuse

@Kelso --

No, this is not the same thing as a DUI checkpoint.

Once you're in the queue at the DUI checkpoint, you are unable to get out of it if you don't feel like submitting or go around it. (That's why they're set up where they are -- so that there's no way to "escape" the enforcement area.) Furthermore, *all* drivers are subject to being screened -- not just every third as is being done by WMATA. While this may be similar in nature it is not EXACTLY like a DUI checkpoint (as you state it is).

Also, DUI checkpoints are put up in places and at times where there will be a higher concentration of drivers under the influence (e.g., New Year's Eve, 1a on a Friday night, etc.). How many DUI checkpoints do you see at noon on a Tuesday? Does WMATA have intelligence showing that a threat has been made against the metro system? If so, share *that* vs. solely putting on this ridiculous staging of security theatre.

(Of course, I see the likelihood of capturing terrorists via this method as the same as that of capturing them via the security lines at the airports, so maybe my bias is showing.)

Posted by: SamFelis | December 21, 2010 11:02 AM | Report abuse

@Kelso4

Quote: "I guess police shouldn't set up DUI check points either. Works the EXACT same way."

- Not really. You can't turn away from a DUI checkpoint. It's part of the bargain when you get your driver's license. Here, you can refuse a search and leave the station. Anyone with something to hide will just leave and board at a station without a checkpoint.

Quote: "but even if the chances of preventing a terrorist attack rises .01%, isn't it worth it?"

- That's up to you, but remember that all of this isn't free. It costs a lot of money to get the machines and pay for the officers; money that could be spent putting more officers on patrol, funding schools, etc. Personally, I think a huge cost to us taxpayers for a ".01%" improvement in my security (assuming this increases my security at all) is not worth the price tag. YMMV.

Posted by: rightleftcenter | December 21, 2010 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Are there results of the survey yet? I can't believe they can really check 1/3 of the bags without causing enormous delays, unless they have dozens of officers.

Posted by: fallschurch1 | December 21, 2010 11:09 AM | Report abuse

%&^*$#^^ NAZIS !!!

I hope I am one who is selected... I anticipate a nice settlement in the 4th Amendment lawsuit that I assure you will be forthcoming.

Zieg Heil, mein Fuhrer !!!

Posted by: medic2010 | December 21, 2010 11:09 AM | Report abuse

Hello, Metro? Thomas Jefferson called. He wants his 4th Amendment back.

Posted by: bs2004 | December 21, 2010 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Metro is so completely and utterly incompetent that they can't possibly consider any other course of action than to do everything that they've been told by experts NOT to do.

The pattern with Metro has always been: Do the complete opposite of what makes a) sense, b) would be the intelligent thing to do, or c) do what would be in the customer's best interest.

This whole 'bag search' process is nothing but an excuse for Metro to continue to jack up fares again this spring/summer.

"Well, since everyone says this 'random' search and how we're conducting it isn't a deterrent, we'll need more money to hire and train additional personnel to conduct more rigorous searches."

That's going to be their argument in about four months.

Posted by: mika_england | December 21, 2010 11:22 AM | Report abuse

This is one of the dumbest things I've heard of in a minute! Do they really think they're going to avert terrorism by "searching" every third person at a couple of random stations? And bus stops?? You're going to walk up to me on a public street at the bus stop and say, "Ma'am, can we check your tote bag?" HELL TO THE NAW!!! How about being able to find a transit cop when young people go on a rampage on a train, or assault a bus driver? You think people hate Metro now? Just wait . . .

Posted by: michietbrown | December 21, 2010 11:23 AM | Report abuse

This is one of the dumbest things I've heard of in a minute! Do they really think they're going to avert terrorism by "searching" every third person at a couple of random stations? And bus stops?? You're going to walk up to me on a public street at the bus stop and say, "Ma'am, can we check your tote bag?" HELL TO THE NAW!!! How about being able to find a transit cop when young people go on a rampage on a train, or assault a bus driver? You think people hate Metro now? Just wait . . .

Posted by: michietbrown | December 21, 2010 11:24 AM | Report abuse

I keep saying I want more "security" on the train seeing that I waste 2.5 hours on Metro closing their doors on me daily-- HOWEVER, when I say security I mean public safety ie:
#1 Doors that open
#2 Doors that close
#3 Lights that work on the train
#4 Call boxes on the train (labeled call boxes)
#5 Clearly labeled exits and exit strategies
#6 ABOVE ALL-- trained station managers/transit police with attitudes that are not of the notion when I tell you that I saw something and am saying it to you that you continue on your conversation with your homegirl about Beyonce's new fragrance or about the Redskins score . . I could go off on here but this comment section can't handle the truth lol!

Bombs/terrorist-- please-- we will just all die because the doors won't open and people will crowd the doors and not move.

PS-- THIS IS NOT A DINER!!!

Posted by: no1snowflake | December 21, 2010 11:27 AM | Report abuse

There are ten states that ban sobriety checkpoints, including Minnesota.

Sobriety checkpoints are less efficient than police pulling over drivers with probable cause. They violate drivers' privacy and treat everyone like a criminal.

Sobriety checkpoints and random bag searches are both wrong.

No one in the US should be searched without probable cause.

Posted by: Eric_Jaffa | December 21, 2010 11:29 AM | Report abuse

SamFelis - Actually in some places you can avoid a DUI checkpoint, the problem is (especially in FFX county) they put an officer about 100 yards up the road opposite from the checkpoint and stop anyone who pulls out of line.

Happened to me over a decade ago, sued FFX count and won for violating my civil liberties for making me take a field sobriety test just because I didn't want to be unnecessarily detained. It wasn't them pulling me over that was the issue, it was them making me do the entire set of test (alphabet, walking a line, etc) when they had no evidence I had been drinking (which since I don't drink alcohol at all, there wasn't any evidence) yet decided that just because I choose to avoid being detained to test me anyway.

That's where Metro is headed. They'll find someone carrying something illegal, yet not subject to the guidelines of the search they are performing yet knowing Metro they'll detain them and then they'll have a big issue.

Posted by: mika_england | December 21, 2010 11:30 AM | Report abuse

This is so ridiculous. Can't wait to see what happens when Metro/TSA rentacops stop someone trying to catch a train to the last VRE/MARC of the night.

Or maybe there's a bright side to this. Maybe now more offices will be willing to let employees telecommute instead of having to deal with this load of crap. Maybe I'm alone in feeling this, but I grew up in DC and always felt that terrorism was a threat you just lived with. But before 9/11, at least we mostly dealt with it in semi-sane manners. Now it's all junky security theater that doesn't help anyone and only makes life more annoying in the long run.

Posted by: dkp01 | December 21, 2010 11:35 AM | Report abuse

According to the fourth amendment of the constitution you can not be searched without a warrant unless you consent. The metro system is PUBLIC transit paid for by your tax dollars. You have a right to use it without your constitutional rights being violated. You do not have to consent to a search to enter the metro station. This is a lie. DO NOT CONSENT!! Stand up for your rights or they will disappear. Do not consent to a search, they are not allowed to bar you from entering a metro station without cause. You exercising your fourth amendment right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures is not a cause. Challenge these officers, they can not stop you from entering the station or search you without probably cause. Please stand up for your rights, these searches are not making you safer. Safety is just an excuse to set a precedent for future invasive and unwarranted searches. It's worth the hassle to take a few minutes to stand up for your rights. Don't be intimidated into throwing them away.

Posted by: InsertNameHere | December 21, 2010 11:47 AM | Report abuse

What a security farce. They must have money in their budget that needs spent before the year concludes.

I think we need an iphone application that allows us to report the times and places of the inspections. Or a twitter account that sends out the location of the latest search.

Posted by: carlin80 | December 21, 2010 11:53 AM | Report abuse

What a security farce. They must have money in their budget that needs spent before the year concludes.

I think we need an iphone application that allows us to report the times and places of the inspections. Or a twitter account that sends out the location of the latest search.

Posted by: carlin80 | December 21, 2010 11:53 AM | Report abuse

What a security farce. They must have money in their budget that needs spent before the year concludes.

I think we need an iphone application that allows us to report the times and places of the inspections. Or a twitter account that sends out the location of the latest search.

Posted by: carlin80 | December 21, 2010 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Simple, put your stuff in a heavy long coat and don't bring a bag, then you won't be asked.

Thank a FBI agent for their entrapment to foil a subway attack which caused this security check to be implemented.

Posted by: deathmuzeta | December 21, 2010 11:58 AM | Report abuse

I thought we lived in the USA. Welcome to the new USA you asked for all you bickering pussycats.

Posted by: slydell | December 21, 2010 12:09 PM | Report abuse

I'd feel much safer if they install the same security London has been using since the 7/7 attack on their system.

HINT: The system was reopened the following day.

Also, since when does the TSA have jurisdiction over intrastate transportation?

Posted by: cheno | December 21, 2010 12:21 PM | Report abuse

Can somebody please explain to my why a dangerous person, upon seeing the police at a given Metro stop, wouldn't just hop a cab to the next stop and proceed with his dangerous agenda?

This is not going to catch the people we want to catch. It's quite possibly the stupidest, most inefficent, poorly designed and wasteful idea in the history of ideas.

Posted by: sbdc2 | December 21, 2010 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Security Theater. Way to waste money and trample the 4th Amendment, Metro.

Posted by: gth1

-----------------

I couldn't have said it better. Besides, I can't type that well when I'm sitting in the tunnel between Rosslyn and Foggy Bottom for the next five minutes. Priorities, WMATA?

Posted by: MasonPatriot1 | December 21, 2010 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Gum up the gears.

Everyone demand to have their bag checked.

Refuse to answer any questions, demand to be mirandized if they want to ask something.

Carry a handful dog biscuits with you and toss them out when you see a checkpoint.

Be sure to give the Hitler salute to the staff.

Posted by: michaelmagnus9 | December 21, 2010 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Hmmm.....trading 4th amendment rights for a .01 percent increase in 'safety'? Oh boy.

Posted by: vitus55 | December 21, 2010 12:53 PM | Report abuse

SUBMIT sheeple, don't let this boot on your throat baaaaaaaaather you.

Stand by tucked-tail as TSA finger diddles your kids.

"It's to keep us safe."

There is no safety.

Posted by: NotoriousKelly | December 21, 2010 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Now is the time for people who use Metro on a regular basis to protest this unbelievable intrusion into our privacy. We need to do what it takes, including causing delays and disruptions at stations where bags are being checked. For those who are braver than I myself am, I would hope that there will be people who will be willing to go to jail for refusing to obey the orders to permit their bags to be searched, but entering the station anyway. Now is the time to rise up and fight. Once we are all conditioned into submissiveness, it will get harder to resist.

We need to stand up and remember why America is worth living in. With the increasing prevalence of the security state along with the collapsing economy, it is becoming increasingly unclear why it is worth fighting for, or paying taxes for, at all.

Posted by: buscotica | December 21, 2010 1:06 PM | Report abuse

This accomplishes nothing except annoy riders even more. This is not an airport, where you can't go anywhere else. Unless you search everyone, all the time, at all stops, this is not effective. A person intent on doing harm could simply walk or hop on a bus to another stop. And since when did we morph into Nazi Germany? This smacks more of a test run of a police state rather than real security.

Posted by: Verdeball | December 21, 2010 1:12 PM | Report abuse

Hey, I have a question. What happens if everyone just says no? Will they eventually run out of officers at the checkpoint, as the officers there would be busy "volunteering" the refusing people for interrogation and increased searches?

And the thing about checking buses is weird. Outside of a few bus lines in the city, the majority of bus riders are lower middle class, working class, or on fixed incomes. So almost by default, the bus checks will largely be targeting underprivileged groups.

Posted by: dkp01 | December 21, 2010 1:31 PM | Report abuse

"I understand what you're all saying about Security Theater, but even if the chances of preventing a terrorist attack rises .01%, isn't it worth it?"

No.

Posted by: rsfish | December 21, 2010 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Americans are the most gullible people who ever existed. They tend to support the government instead of the Constitution, and almost every Republican and conservative regards civil liberty as a coddling device that encourages criminals and terrorists.

The US media, highly concentrated in violation of the American principle of a diverse and independent media, will lend its support to the witch hunts that will close down all protests and independent thought in the US over the next few years. As the Nazi leader Joseph Goebbels said, “think of the press as a great keyboard on which the Government can play.”

An American Police State was inevitable once Americans let “their” government get away with 9/11. Americans are too gullible, too uneducated, and too jingoistic to remain a free people. As another Nazi leader Herman Goering said, “ The people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. Tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peace-makers for lack of patriotism and for exposing the country to danger.”

This is precisely what the Bush and Obama regimes have done. America, as people of my generation knew it, no longer exists.

Posted by: ardestani | December 21, 2010 1:37 PM | Report abuse

"I understand what you're all saying about Security Theater, but even if the chances of preventing a terrorist attack rises .01%, isn't it worth it?"

No.

Posted by: rsfish | December 21, 2010 1:38 PM | Report abuse

I think that in this day and age - several confirmed plots against the Metro system - we do need to endure this.

However, my problem is that, much like TSA, we are not doing this smartly. First of all, it cannnot be random. Everyone must be checked which can be done very simply by using the K-9's and carefully observing the passengers. Then, either after the dog alerts or someone starts getting very nervous - that individual is selected for "enhanced" screening. Using the dogs delays no one except someone the dog alerts on.

The other procedure that needs to be changed - once you are in the station you cannot refuse a search if the dog has alerted or the police have reason to search you. You will be searched and if anything is found you will be arrested. Simply allowing someone to go on their way without searching just lets a potential terrorist move to another, possibly less secure location to do his or her damage. Something that makes absolutely no sense.

Also, all Metro stops should be clearly posted as areas where entry (like military bases) means you are consenting to being searched by security personnel

Posted by: dbmn1 | December 21, 2010 1:58 PM | Report abuse

As the erosion of civil liberties continues, I sense again how the beginning of the end looms for all and the welcoming caldera will open up and swallow us while we go down flailing and kicking as we are trampled again by the jackboots of oppression!

Posted by: brickman1 | December 21, 2010 2:06 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, Metro. You just reminded me to renew my membership with the ACLU.

Posted by: blunderwoman | December 21, 2010 2:17 PM | Report abuse

I'm one of the many regular Americans who supports the use of the body scans at airports. I don't consider them any more invasive that the airport searches we already put up with.

But this is WAY over the line and I will refuse any attempt to search me before I get on metro. How many riders will it take to miss their trains because they have to be searched? I doubt this will last long, people, the courts will likely overturn it.

Also, if they're searching every third person, what's to stop terrorists from gaming the system by showing up in groups and making sure the bomb carrier isn't searched?

Posted by: rosefarm1 | December 21, 2010 2:35 PM | Report abuse

I am for the extra security on Metro anything that help keep the riders safe. I wish that Metro would expand their search not only check for exposive, but check for weapons. Hey Guy better to be safe. Welcome to America.

Posted by: deborahutley | December 21, 2010 2:47 PM | Report abuse

I am for the extra security on Metro anything that help keep the riders safe. I wish that Metro would expand their search not only check for exposive, but check for weapons. Hey Guy better to be safe. Welcome to America.

Posted by: deborahutley | December 21, 2010 2:47 PM | Report abuse

Effective bag check at Metro is like trying to store the ocean in a gallon-size zip lock! If Metro wants to keep us safe, use the DHS grant money to hire additional transit police, upgrade station personnel to humans and maintain the train equipment. Terrorist alert alright- they are probably laughing at us hysterically while reloading their Smartrip cards.....

Posted by: morsecode101 | December 21, 2010 2:57 PM | Report abuse

Effective bag check at Metro is like trying to store the ocean in a gallon-size zip lock! If Metro wants to keep us safe, use the DHS grant money to hire additional transit police, upgrade station personnel to humans and maintain the train equipment. Terrorist alert alright- they are probably laughing at us hysterically while reloading their Smartrip cards.....

Posted by: morsecode101 | December 21, 2010 2:57 PM | Report abuse

Cathy Lanier tried the same thing in Trinidad and got the smackdown on her cand yass.

Posted by: bs2004 | December 21, 2010 3:28 PM | Report abuse

I remember the time I ran out of gas while driving neat the Smithsonian, hopped the Metro the rest of the way to work, put 2 gallons of gas into gallon jugs, and used the metro to return to my car at lunchtime with them. Now that we can't get away with bringing dangerous items onto Metro anymore, we'll need to count on faulty Metro brakes and sensors to provide that seat of our pants experience.

Posted by: phog | December 21, 2010 3:40 PM | Report abuse

I remember the time I ran out of gas while driving neat the Smithsonian, hopped the Metro the rest of the way to work, put 2 gallons of gas into gallon jugs, and used the metro to return to my car at lunchtime with them. Now that we can't get away with bringing dangerous items onto Metro anymore, we'll need to count on faulty Metro brakes and sensors to provide that seat of our pants feeling.

Posted by: phog | December 21, 2010 3:42 PM | Report abuse

Serious, honest question:

Is this really Metro's doing? Or have they basically been told that it will be done?

Posted by: joe36 | December 21, 2010 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Let's see...

WMATA fails to follow its own safety procedures and many riders are killed.

WMATA runs huge funding deficit so it raises fares.

WMATA believes that random inspections along its 12,086 bus and raid stops will prevent / deter terrorism.

On first day anti-terrorism game WMATA inspectors get false positives and delay hundreds of riders.

WMATA continues to run deficit and plans another fare hike.

DOES ANYONE SEE A PROBLEM HERE???

HOW MUCH IS THIS PHONY ANTI-TERROR PROGRAM COSTING METRO?

Every single damn WMATA manager should be fired.

Posted by: SCOTTSCHMIDTT | December 21, 2010 4:08 PM | Report abuse

Well folks, another bad idea from Metro. Metro, you are your own worse enemy. How in the hell can you protect the public when you can't even maintain your product? I am more afraid of riding Metro than confronting a terriost. Get with the program Metro, clean your own house before trying to clean mine!!!!

Posted by: daughterofold | December 21, 2010 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Pointless security theater. What a waste.

Posted by: vernonhorn | December 21, 2010 4:41 PM | Report abuse

METRO inspires such confidence. After 9/11 I entered a Metro station and saw 8 Metro Transit officers with sub machine guns and other automatic weapons. I left the station and have not been back to Metro since. I do not allow my children to ride Metro. I make the effort to drive them whenever they have to go into town. What absolute idiot thought weapons with such firepower were either safe or necessary in a Metro station. Someone protect us from Metro Transit Police and TSA.

Posted by: happyid | December 21, 2010 5:38 PM | Report abuse

Is there a principled constitutional difference between searches without individualized suspicion in Metro stations and suspicionless searches on the street outside the stations? Maybe our "guardians" believe that bombs blowing up on the street don't kill people. The security disease has spread from airports to Metro stations. Where will be be "protected" next?

Posted by: LHG1 | December 23, 2010 11:58 PM | Report abuse

Is there a principled constitutional difference between searches without individualized suspicion in Metro stations and suspicionless searches on the street outside the stations? Maybe our "guardians" believe that bombs blowing up on the street don't kill people. The security disease has spread from airports to Metro stations. Where will be be "protected" next?

Posted by: LHG1 | December 23, 2010 11:59 PM | Report abuse

Is there a principled constitutional difference between searches without individualized suspicion in Metro stations and suspicionless searches on the street outside the stations? Maybe our "guardians" believe that bombs blowing up on the street don't kill people? The security disease has spread from airports to Metro stations. Where will be "protected" next?

Posted by: LHG1 | December 24, 2010 12:00 AM | Report abuse

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