It happens each time he is not in front of a TV Camera for 20 minutes, NY York State Senator Chuck Schumer finds something to say, anything that will put his face on TV. If Chuck Schumer was not a United States Senator, he would be one of those slimy lawyers who chase ambulances and funeral processions ignoring the feelings of crash victims and/or their families just so he can hand off his business cards and gain more business.
But Politics is the NY Senator’s chosen profession, instead of chasing ambulances he chases TV camera’s so he can get air time. With all the news about Bin Laden last week, Schumer did not receive much attention so the poor progressive senator must have been suffering horrible camera withdrawal. So as he usually does in this situation, he came up with something unworkable, that will cost too much money and will help out the unions.
In short, Schumer decided that there should be a “no-ride list” for Amtrak. The list would be similar to the no-fly list that keeps those suspected of terrorism from flying into or out of the United States.
“Anyone, even a member of al-Qaida could purchase a train ticket and board an Amtrak train without so much as a question asked,” Schumer said. “So that’s why I’m calling for the creation of an Amtrak no ride list. That would take the secure flight program and apply it to Amtrak trains.”
On first glance, one would think that it would be an easy project after all Amtrak is hemorrhaging money because not enough people want to ride on it.
“Circumstances demand we make adjustments by increasing funding to enhance rail safety and monitoring on commuter rail transit and screening who gets on Amtrak passenger trains, so that we can provide a greater level of security to the public,” the New York Democrat said at a news conference.
U.S. officials last week said evidence found after the raid on bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan indicated the al Qaeda leader or his associates had engaged in discussions or planning for a possible attack on a train inside the United States on September 11, 2011.
Schumer, citing U.S. intelligence analysts, said attacks were also considered on Christmas and New Year’s Day and following the president’s State of the Union address.
He called on the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to expand the Secure Flight monitoring program, which cross-checks air travelers with the terror watch list in an attempt to prevent anyone on the “no-fly list” from boarding, for use on Amtrak.
Such a procedure would create an Amtrak “no-ride list” to keep suspected terrorists off the U.S. rail system, he said.
The September 11 Commission recommended in 2004 that the government check travelers’ names against terror watch lists before they board passenger trains or cruise ships, but such a program was not adopted.
There’s the point, people have been calling for heightened security on the nations rails ever since 9/11. Along with the 9/11 commission Al Qaeda’s attacks on British and
Spanish Trains have also served as warnings.
Yet Senator Schumer woke up yesterday saying “Ooh, lets create a no ride list” and lets get more money to do it. According to the Senator it was those documents seized from Bin Laden’s compound last week indicating that Al Qaeda, was thinking about a 9/11 anniversary plot to derail a U.S. passenger train over a valley or a bridge that spurred him into action even though he ignored all of the other warnings.
I hate to sound cynical, but perhaps this little announcement by the Senator has more to do with being able to tell New Yorkers he brought new money into the state, and of course created brand new TSA union jobs across Amtrak’s footprint, than national security.
Perhaps if the Senator truly wanted to add security to America’s railway’s he should also demand they be self funding.
A report in The Blaze showed that Amtrak lost $1.2 billion in 2010
According to the Pew report, only 3 of Amtrak’s 44 lines are making any money. That statement alone might inspire the CEO of the failing rail service to consider cuts and changes. Of course, having more than 20,000 union employees (85% of those folks are covered by collective bargaining) makes it difficult to change anything that might cause a job to be lost, or a benefit diminished.
Perhaps before he suggests that we spend more money on a failing rail business, he should suggest that we cut some of those unprofitable lines to fund his “johnny-come-lately” ideas. Maybe he is saving that for his next TV camera withdrawal.