Lawmaker moves to end TSA’s power to grope outside of airports

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Think the TSA is a little too touchy at the airport? They have the power to pat you down and search your luggage when you board trains and boats, too, says Rep. Scott Garrett, R-N.J., who wants to pass legislation that reins them in.

Garrett on Tuesday introduced a bill that would end the Transportation Security Administration’s authority to randomly search non-airline transportation passengers.

Garrett said the TSA can even search people traveling on the highways and that the “thousands of unannounced and random sweeps” don’t reduce the threat of terrorism according to the TSA’s own accounting.

Garrett’s bill comes on the heels of complaints by civil liberty groups against random searches by the TSA in subways and rail stations.

“This legislation would protect the Fourth Amendment rights of citizens by denying the TSA the authority to conduct random searches of surface transportation passengers.”

Garrett said the TSA should instead keep its focus on airline safety and let local law enforcement handle the rest of the transportation industry.

The TSA reported earlier this year that in 2012 there were 27 “enforcement actions” taken by surface transportation security inspectors, mostly against the railroad industry.

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Susan Ferrechio

Chief Congressional Correspondent
The Washington Examiner