An Aug. 16 editorial ("Festering TSA") claimed inaccurately that the Transportation Security Administration is expanding the reach of its Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response program. VIPR teams are not new and their mission is not expanding. VIPRs have been deployed across the nation since 2004 after they were authorized by the 9/11 Act following the 2004 Madrid train bombings, which killed 191 people and wounded 1,800 more.
Congress has subsequently appropriated funding for VIPR teams that work with, and at the request of, local law enforcement to enhance security during specific alert periods or major events like the presidential inauguration or the 2009 G-20 summit where TSA, including the Federal Air Marshal Service, supported the U.S. Secret Service throughout Pittsburgh.
In an environment of ever-evolving threats, deploying VIPR teams provides an effective and visible deterrent to anyone planning an attack against high-profile targets.
TSA's mission, supported by the U.S. Federal Air Marshal Service, has always been to secure all modes of transportation. VIPR teams are an important part of our multilayered approach to keep the traveling public safe.
Federal Air Marshal Service
Transportation Security Administration