â€śIt was used as a pretext to harass peopleâ€ť
Paul Joseph Watson
Friday, April 27, 2012
Dozens of outraged residents attended a Houston METRO board meeting yesterday to express their disgust at how TSA workers were used to interrogate passengers on buses during a so-called â€śanti-terrorâ€ť exercise last week.
Complaining of how their fourth amendment rights were violated, residents were joined by several prominent lawyers in an extraordinary backlash against the federal agency and local authorities.
The meeting was dominated by more denials on behalf of METRO that warrantless bag searches had occurred during the drill, labeled BusSafe, which was billed as a counter-terror exercise yet only managed to snag alleged prostitutes and drug users.
Despite the fact that the METROâ€™s official website stated after the exercise that â€śLaw officials performed random bag checks,â€ť in addition to a press release before the exercise that stated bag checks would take place, METRO officials continued to deny that any bag searches had occurred besides those where the passenger had been coerced into giving permission.
â€śOn April 13, the METRO Police Department invited TSA to be a part of its bus-safe exercise. METRO said then and repeated for days afterwards there would be random searches of bus and train passengersâ€™ bags,â€ť reports ABC 13.
What definitely did take place was police officers and TSA agents interrogating passengers about their behavior and journey details.
â€śMETRO and TSA were going onto the buses and questioning people about their normal routes and their normal behavior, and it just kind of creates an atmosphere of fear,â€ť said METRO rider Derrick Broze.
â€śI donâ€™t feel like by purchasing a ticket or riding a bus that I have to forfeit my Constitutional rights and my protections and be subject to search or seizure,â€ť Broze told METRO board members. â€śWe donâ€™t plan on letting this issue die if the TSA stays in our city.â€ť