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Modern Transportation for the Virginias

VRE Says Terror Threats Have Increased

August 2013

There have been “increases in terror threats to transportation networks,” said Greg Deibler, Virginia Railway Express Manager of System Safety and Security on August 15. He was responding to a passenger who said he did not feel safe with eight Transportation Security Administration Officers standing around the Alexandria, Va., station on August 9. The passenger mentioned the incident in Savannah when TSA officers herded all the passengers getting off an Amtrak train into the station to be searched and patted down, even children (see this CNN story by Don Phillips, a Trains Magazine columnist and former Washington Post reporter).

When asked for specifics about increased terror threats and whether that information would be conveyed to VRE passengers, Deibler did not answer the questions. He said they were snarky and did not like their tone. He also called the Savannah event “an isolated incident.”

In July 2013, Business Travel News summarized a new Government Accountability Office report on misconduct by TSA personnel: 9,600 cases in three years. About a third involved being late for work, but 20% “involved ‘screening and security’ infractions, including ‘failure to follow standard operating procedures, bypassing screening’ and sleeping on duty, according to the article. Other TSA misconduct involved “‘failure to follow instructions’ (16 percent), ‘inappropriate comments or conduct’ (10 percent) and drug or alcohol offenses (5 percent).” One-sixth of cases included neglecting duty, ethics violations, bribes, and misusing government identification. There were also 97 cases of property damage and 56 cases of theft.

See also “Will VRE Riders Be the Next TSA Victims?” Fredericksburg Free Lance–Star, September 26, 2013.