After New York Attack, Congress Wants TSA to Secure Amtrak, Buses

A bill pushing the agency to focus more on surface transport follows a critical report and an attempted bombing near a train station.

Bloomberg

The U.S. Transportation Security Administration is one of those federal agencies that tends to inspire intense reactions among the traveling public. It’s a bureaucracy that interacts with millions of passengers each day, requiring their shoes, jackets, laptops—and time.

Virtually all this occurs at airports, with about 80 percent of the agency’s $7.4 billion budget spent on aviation security. Only 2 percent of the TSA’s funding goes to surface transportation, according to a report by the Office of Inspector General earlier this month. Congress is looking to change that.

Several U.S. senators want the TSA to focus more attention and resources on rail, highway, and marine transportation, which would mean greater security oversight at such places as Amtrak stations and Megabus coach stops. A bipartisan bill introduced Thursday by Senator John Thune (R-S.D.) would require the TSA to use a risk-based security model for these transport modes and to budget money based on those risks. It would require a wider use of the agency’s terrorist watch list by train operators and more detailed passenger manifests along with tighter screening of marine employees. The legislation also would increase the TSA’s canine use by as many as 70 dog-handler teams for surface transportation. Continue reading “After New York Attack, Congress Wants TSA to Secure Amtrak, Buses”

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Surprise: Gun ownership rises to 44% of all homes

Paul Bedard The Washington Examiner http://launch.newsinc.com/?type=VideoPlayer/Single&widgetId=1&trackingGroup=69016&siteSection=washexam590_ent_mus_sty&videoId=31254745 After a steady decline in gun ownership in recent years, more homes are reporting having a weapon inside, according to a new survey. Pew Research Center, in a poll on guns released Friday, showed that 44 percent of the country has a gun in the house. Some 51 percent don’t. The survey firm didn’t break those numbers out for … Continue reading Surprise: Gun ownership rises to 44% of all homes