New York senator Charles Schumer is calling for no ride lists for Amtrak similar to the no fly lists currently used in the nation’s airports.
“Anyone, even a member of al-Qaida could purchase a train ticket and board an Amtrak train without so much as a question asked,” Schumer said. “So that’s why I’m calling for the creation of an Amtrak no ride list. That would take the secure flight program and apply it to Amtrak trains.”
Schumer issued his demand after the Pentagon supposedly gleaned information about terrorists attacks from Osama bin Laden’s home in Pakistan. The Department of Homeland Security sent an advisory to law enforcement officials around the country stating al-Qaeda discussed tampering with an unspecified U.S. rail track so that a train would fall off the track at a valley or a bridge.
Protecting the rail system in the United States would be virtually impossible. There is 140,000 miles of freight and passenger track in the country, not counting subway systems and light rail. In addition, there are 3,100 train and transit stations. There were over four billion passenger rail trips last year.
Last year Amtrak police doubled their bomb-sniffing dog teams, randomly screened thousands of bags and periodically sent “surges” of militarized cops into train stations, Amtrak police chief John O’Connor told Newsday.
In October of 2002, the Electronic Privacy Information Center filed a FOIA to obtain information about the then secret no-fly list compiled by the Transportation Security Administration under the Department of Homeland Security. When the TSA failed to respond to EPIC’s request, EPIC filed suit in December 2002.
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Comment: How long are we going to sit back as this macabre theater continues to play out?
Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex... It takes a touch of genius - and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.