Schumer demands “Do Not Ride” list for Amtrak after OBL intel

posted at 9:30 am on May 9, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

Does it really come as a surprise to anyone that al-Qaeda targets train and subway systems?  As far back as seven years ago, AQ killed almost 200 people in Madrid, and the next year killed dozens in London by attacking public rail systems.  Now, however, Senator Chuck Schumer wants Homeland Security to step up screening at rail stations with a “do not ride” list after discovering that Osama bin Laden had planned to attack our train systems:

Sen. Charles Schumer is calling for better rail security now that the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound has turned upplans to attack trains in the U.S.

“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.”

Schumer said Sunday that he will push for the creation of a “do not 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.

Mitch Berg tartly questions the need:

Of course, except for the tiny fragment of America living in the congested mid-Atlantic strip, Amtrak is largely on Amerca’s “do not ride” list.  Amtrak is an epic money pit.

In vast swathes of the US, terrorists would be the only person on an Amtrak train.

A recent study of Amtrak performance by Pew suggests that Schumer could make the process easier by eliminating unprofitable Amtrak routes, which would be just about all of them (via The Blaze):

Forty-one of Amtrak’s 44 routes lost money in 2008 with losses ranging from nearly $5 to $462 per passenger depending upon the line, according to analysis by Pew’s Subsidyscope.

The line with the highest per passenger subsidy—the Sunset Limited, which runs from New Orleans to Los Angeles—carried almost 72,000 passengers last year. The California Zephyr, which runs from Chicago to San Francisco, had the second-highest per passenger subsidy of $193 and carried nearly 353,000 passengers in 2008. Pew’s analysis indicates that the average loss per passenger on all 44 of Amtrak’s lines was $32, about four times what the loss would be using Amtrak’s figures: only $8 per passenger. (Amtrak uses a different method for calculating route performance).

The Northeast Corridor has the highest passenger volume of any Amtrak route, carrying nearly 10.9 million people in 2008. The corridor’s high-speed Acela Express made a profit of about $41 per passenger. But the more heavily utilized Northeast Regional, with more than twice as many riders as the Acela, lost almost $5 per passenger.

Actually, we could get the money for enhanced security by cutting off those subsidies.  It’s a win-win!

No one after 9/11 should have doubted that we needed to increase rail security — and certainly not after Madrid and London.  It didn’t take a raid to know that AQ would eventually try to strike American rail in one form or another; the only question was whether we could beat them to the punch and prevent it.  That’s why this statement made by President Obama was so fundamentally unserious:

What we need, then, is a smart transportation system equal to the needs of the 21st century. A system that reduces travel times and increases mobility. A system that reduces congestion and boosts productivity. A system that reduces destructive emissions and creates jobs.

What we’re talking about is a vision for high-speed rail in America. Imagine boarding a train in the center of a city. No racing to an airport and across a terminal, no delays, no sitting on the tarmac, no lost luggage, no taking off your shoes.

We need better security on trains, not less security — but we mainly need to stop wasting money on lines that are better served by commercial air so that we can focus security better and become more effective.

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What Schmucky needs and wants is more control over your lives.

Freelancer on May 9, 2011 at 9:35 AM

Isn’t railroad track safety the real issue, and not the actions of the passengers themselves? Anyone could explode a b0mb on a train, or any crowded area, but it probably wouldn’t cause the train to derail.

Paul-Cincy on May 9, 2011 at 9:36 AM

We need better security on trains? Why would someone who wanted to harm a train ever bother getting on it? We need better security covering the thousands of miles of track out in the middle of nowhere, perhaps.

David Shane on May 9, 2011 at 9:39 AM

As far back as seven years ago, AQ killed almost 200 people in Madrid, and the next year killed dozens in London by attacking public rail systems.

Chuckie is a slow reader…

Gohawgs on May 9, 2011 at 9:40 AM

Another reason to nix the trains, high speed or otherwise, that The Won is trying to foist on the country.

Cindy Munford on May 9, 2011 at 9:41 AM

Someone tell Schumer there’s already and Amtrack no-ride list and most Americans are on it.

NickDeringer on May 9, 2011 at 9:41 AM

With what money? And why? You don’t need to board a train.
I have read two articles in the past week about IED’s being found in the US. I am uncertain where the IED’s were exactly and if they were related to train travel.
Seems to me that the the only thing we can afford, thanks to the unbearable spending, is a well informed citizenry. The press and the president are an epic fail in this area.

ORconservative on May 9, 2011 at 9:42 AM

Amtrack is doing a fine job imploding on itself.

tree hugging sister on May 9, 2011 at 9:42 AM

I volunteer to be on that list.

Bishop on May 9, 2011 at 9:42 AM

Lets put TSA screening in the subway in NYC. That should solve the problem. Should also increase taxi cab revenues.

Seriously come on? TSA screening methods don’t work and you are advocating putting them on the trains? Whats next require a TSA screening before you drive your car because they have intel that says someone is going to use a car to bomb a bridge? Or maybe better yet require TSA screening before you drive over any bridge?

Maybe we should spend our money upgrading our failing infrastructure than useless security measures.

nobleclem on May 9, 2011 at 9:45 AM

Love the picture, old Chuck looks like a natural!!!!

Cindy Munford on May 9, 2011 at 9:45 AM

Incredible . . . these jackass politicians just bounce around like an atom in free space.

rplat on May 9, 2011 at 9:46 AM

It’s a few years in the future. America has become a state in which mediocrity is the goal, and high-achieving individuals the enemy. …

But you’re thinking, railroads? Yes, although airplanes exist in this future, trains are where it’s at. When I was 6, my Aunt Martha brought me to Chicago to attend the great Railroad Fair of 1948, at which the nation’s rail companies celebrated the wonders that were on the way. They didn’t quite foresee mass air transportation. “Atlas Shrugged” seems to buy into the fair’s glowing vision of the future of trains. Rarely, perhaps never, has television news covered the laying of new railroad track with the breathless urgency of the news channels shown in this movie.

Roger Ebert unwittingly mocking JObama Biden’s vision of the future.

Abby Adams on May 9, 2011 at 9:46 AM

Schmucky is a hawk?

Who knew?

novaculus on May 9, 2011 at 9:51 AM

I’ve taken trains from Washington DC to New York numerous times. These trains are packed full of people, with dozens of entrances. Your tickets are checked on board. As it is now, it would be very easy to slip on, drop a satchel in an overhead bin and then slip off.

To institute airport like security in train stations would be extremely expensive and require many more personnel. A “no-ride” list would only be the beginning and would only increase the price of the tickets, which are too high in most cases (more than a flight) already.

NoDonkey on May 9, 2011 at 9:53 AM

Don’t the conductor already know the people by name? Joe Biden made a point of that.

amazingmets on May 9, 2011 at 9:55 AM

Why would they go through all the trouble of sabotaging the train when they can just sabotage the tracks? We gonna put real time security on thousands and thousands of miles of trackage?

Limerick on May 9, 2011 at 9:59 AM

Why would they go through all the trouble of sabotaging the train when they can just sabotage the tracks? We gonna put real time security on thousands and thousands of miles of trackage?

Limerick on May 9, 2011 at 9:59 AM

I saw an OSS documentary a few years back that showed how difficult it is to sabotage tracks. You need to remove large, uneven chunks using explosives. But who knows.

As for Chuck’s proposal…

Eh, I don’t have a problem with blocking certain individuals from taking rides on the train system if they’re deemed a national security threat.

The problem I have is that Amtrak still exists. I say we implement a nationwide “Do Not Ride” list by stopping the wasteful subsidization of the failed system.

amerpundit on May 9, 2011 at 10:03 AM

a Muslim with Yemen passport tried to takeover a cockpit on flight last night to San Fran

jp on May 9, 2011 at 10:07 AM

Why would they go through all the trouble of sabotaging the train when they can just sabotage the tracks? We gonna put real time security on thousands and thousands of miles of trackage?

Limerick on May 9, 2011 at 9:59 AM

Here is the news!

Shy Guy on May 9, 2011 at 10:07 AM

Could you start with the guy that smells like alcohol and BO that always seems to want to sit next to me?

hawkdriver on May 9, 2011 at 10:08 AM

You can tell by that picture that Chuck is very proficient in firearms. /s

mizflame98 on May 9, 2011 at 10:08 AM

mizflame98 on May 9, 2011 at 10:08 AM

Beat me to it. I was just going to say his elbows don’t seem to be ‘locked’.

Sir Napsalot on May 9, 2011 at 10:17 AM

Tracks, and the culverts and bridges they run over are the real exposure for trains, not the passengers.

MTinMN on May 9, 2011 at 10:20 AM

Want to increase security on trains? Allow conceal carry permit holders on the train. Not that it would make a difference with a bomb.

jerryofva on May 9, 2011 at 10:21 AM

You can tell by that picture that Chuck is very proficient in firearms. /s

mizflame98 on May 9, 2011 at 10:08 AM

It is a combination weaver/isosceles/ WTF am I doing stance.

fourdeucer on May 9, 2011 at 10:22 AM

Remember the bit when Ali G asked the CIA official if they were worried about terrorists hijacking a train and crashing it into the white house.

Pablo Honey on May 9, 2011 at 10:25 AM

I used to ride from Austin to Dallas on Amtrak. It took 5 hours on a good day, 6 hours on a bad one.

I once got trapped at the Fort Worth stop because some smart ass had written Allah Akbar on the restroom mirror in lipstick and we all got question and searched. Roughly, I might add. Then, it took three hours to get another train to Fort Worth. Amtrak provided no food or water. Kids were crying, and people got pretty snippy with each other.

I never rode another train again, nor will I. They don’t need a no-ride list, they need a no-train list.

Dino64 on May 9, 2011 at 10:33 AM

As a regular Northeast Corridor Amtrak rider I hate the idea of being at the center of an Obama-Osama Venn Diagram. Nothing at all is good about it.

MTF on May 9, 2011 at 10:35 AM

What more would you expect from this country’s premiere Nanny-Nation advocate, a man who suffers from the liberal delusion that the only solution to any terrorist threat is a complete limitation of individual freedoms?

pilamaye on May 9, 2011 at 10:41 AM

Chuckie is seeing dollar signs from all the contributions from another bunch of greedy union government workers that this will mean. Follow the money.

slickwillie2001 on May 9, 2011 at 10:47 AM

Chucky must actually use Amtrack.

obladioblada on May 9, 2011 at 10:50 AM

Uh, how many billions of dollars will it cost and how many properties will have to be taken to expand highways and airports in the Northeast if Amtrak is abolished?

Take away the trains, and you’ll need 18 more highway lanes into and out of Manhattan.

Glenside on May 9, 2011 at 11:13 AM

A system that reduces travel times and increases mobility.

Such a system exists. It is called the automobile.

unclesmrgol on May 9, 2011 at 11:30 AM

Love the picture, old Chuck looks like a natural!!!!

Cindy Munford on May 9, 2011 at 9:45 AM

LOL. It’s pretty hard to look like a pu$$y holding a cool gun, but Chucky manages to do it.

mrsmwp on May 9, 2011 at 11:43 AM

You can tell by that picture that Chuck is very proficient in firearms. /s

mizflame98 on May 9, 2011 at 10:08 AM

No doubt, he’s a firm believer in the Second Amendment and the Right to Keep and Bear Arms.

/sarc/

Solaratov on May 9, 2011 at 11:47 AM

When Sen. Shumck says manifold, doesn’t he mean manifest?

WoosterOh on May 9, 2011 at 11:52 AM

Schumer demands “Do Not Ride” list for Amtrak after OBL intel

Then Schumer will demand a “Do Not Boat“ List – who knows what someone may put in the water.

Maybe a “Do Not Walk” list to stop people from walking around with bombs or groceries or strollers or……….

What about a “Do Not Cycle” List (Motor or other wise)?

Maybe a “Do Not E-mail” ( or text, or tweet, or phone or…) who know what kind of nefarious information “Domestic terrorists” may communicate to others, etc.

In addition, who can forget the fact that the Dems want to stop people on these secret lists (Placed there without due process BTW) from being able to defend themselves.

Finally Schumer will demand a “Do Not Drive “ list for SUV’s.. [Whoops, shouldn’t of said that – don’t want to give them any ideas]

Chip on May 9, 2011 at 11:58 AM

Speaking people denied their rights:


Railroading of Walter Reddy: Patriot’s Legally Owned Guns Seized

Walter Reddy is the patriotic organizer of the Committees of Safety, arguably a founding father of the modern Tea Party movement, and his right to keep and bear arms has been taken from him. It doesn’t matter that he has committed no crimes, and has not been charged with a crime. A Connecticut judge told him at a hearing that Reddy had no right to an attorney and that “I’m ready to rule” to take his guns away before the patriotic organizer had the chance to say one word in his defense.

The following facts are undisputed by both sides of the legal argument over possession of guns:

Police in Weston, Connecticut, based in part upon an unsubstantiated FBI statement that Reddy was a “person of interest” in a domestic terrorism investigation, executed a search and seizure warrant at Reddy’s home on February 14 that involved the local SWAT team. The police took a pump-action shotgun and an antique revolver from Reddy.

• Walter Reddy has no criminal record of any kind.

Reddy was never charged with a crime, but his legally held guns were taken from him anyway. He is, however, a widely known constitutional political activist and persistent critic of big government.

The search and seizure warrant was based entirely upon the testimony of one individual, Rand McNeil, as well as a vague statement by an FBI agent.

Whatever the reason for Reddy’s listing as a “person of interest” in a domestic terrorism investigation, it has become clear that merely owning guns can be cause for a patriot to have his legally owned firearms confiscated by government.

Galt2009 on May 9, 2011 at 12:15 PM

The line with the highest per passenger subsidy—the Sunset Limited, which runs from New Orleans to Los Angeles—carried almost 72,000 passengers last year. The California Zephyr, which runs from Chicago to San Francisco, had the second-highest per passenger subsidy of $193 and carried nearly 353,000 passengers in 2008.

The answer is easy. Stop all trains to and from California. No one wants to go there, hence the loss, and let’s not let anyone out of there to screw up the rest of the country. Excepting, of course, our HotAir Cali’s.

Big John on May 9, 2011 at 12:27 PM

We need better security on trains, not less security — but we mainly need to stop wasting money on lines that are better served by commercial air so that we can focus security better and become more effective.

Twenty years ago I would have agreed with you on this but having job for a time which involved weekly trips back and forth between London and Paris I started to take the Channel Tunnel trains and have to say that it was a quantum leap over air travel. You go from the center of one city directly to the other without all the transfers involving taxis and other trains. I gained anywhere from a half day to a day in productivity. It was a contentious and expensive project but now you will have a hard time finding people who don’t think it should have been built. I’m not sure if West Coast proposals have the same potential but the North East corridor could use something like this.

Why would they go through all the trouble of sabotaging the train when they can just sabotage the tracks? We gonna put real time security on thousands and thousands of miles of trackage?

Limerick on May 9, 2011 at 9:59 AM

I think that is what the intelligence was suggesting. The plot was to derail a train at a critical point like a tunnel or a bridge.

lexhamfox on May 9, 2011 at 12:32 PM

Or maybe better yet require TSA screening before you drive over any bridge?

Maybe we should spend our money upgrading our failing infrastructure than useless security measures.

nobleclem on May 9, 2011 at 9:45 AM

Shhhh. Don’t give ‘em any ideas…

Big John on May 9, 2011 at 12:32 PM

The federal government’s Terrorist Watch list now has almost a MILLION names on it; most of whom are American citizens.

And these people are not mere criminal suspects; there is constant investigation, with no process of elimination; it is effectively indefinite probation. Thousands of people are added to the list every day, and none are ever taken off.

logis on May 9, 2011 at 12:56 PM

no taking off your shoes.

Why is Mr Obama bitching about taking off his shoes? He does that every Friday at the mosque!

CatchAll on May 9, 2011 at 1:32 PM

Yeah I can see it now. For the boondoogle that is the train between OKC & Ft. Worth, there are about 6 or 7 stops in between.

Just how do they propose to secure those passengers?

Option A: Would there be full-time TSA agents and setup at each stop for a train that runs once a day each way? If you figure a min of 4; 1 to check your ID, 1 to watch the scanner, 1 to direct you and 1 to do enhanced pat-downs, that’ll be nearly $1 million just in payroll & benefits. With the union, they’d demand another position to be filled by a supervisor and for a backup agent.

Then factor in the cost of equipment. And securing the loading platform so that no one without a ticket can get on etc, etc. All that for a ticket that costs about $75 and maybe 50 – 75 passengers on a good day.

Option 2: Traveling TSA agents and a mobile checkpoint would reduce costs, but delay time as the train has to wait longer until all have been scanned. Since the train saves about 30 – 45 mins over driving, I might as well forget about riding a train that now takes an hour plus longer than driving it myself.

Bottomline, the Govt is brain-dead stupid. Just kill AmTrak. And let private companies run a passenger line if they think they can turn a profit.

AH_C on May 9, 2011 at 1:33 PM

no taking off your shoes.

Why is Mr Obama whining about having to take off his shoes?

He does that every Friday at the Mosque!

CatchAll on May 9, 2011 at 1:56 PM

I suppose if AQ was talking about car bombs, we’d have to go through a TSA checkpoint in our driveways?

Farmer_Joe on May 9, 2011 at 1:58 PM

I have to wonder if Senator Chuck Schumer has noticed that planes fly in the air, so to blow one up you have to be on it, or launch a missle at it as they did with flight 800, and trains run on the ground where you don’t have to be on it to blow it up.

OBL info did mention blowing up trains, but it put more emphysis into plans to derail them, or in someway cause them to do so at bridges are valleys where the entire train, not just one of its cars, is destroyed.

Of course Senator Schumer will never mention that since it is not about train safty but actually about expanding control of Obama’s national police force, TSA, that he wants. This is the police force of the peoples army Obama spoke of.

TSA has never stopped a terroist attack and never will unless the old fashsion wand and lugguage xray finds something. It will not do any better on trains either for the same reason; Muslims are not subjected to the same gropeings, molestations, probing and naked scans the rest of us are, even though we are just as offended personally and through our religions as they are. While it is true that most Muslims and Christians are not terroist, most terroist are Muslims.

Since safty is clearly not the concern of Senator Chuck Schumer that leave the real purpose; control. TSA, backed by the ability to cause punitive delays to cause missed flights, arrest for even questioning what they are doing, and law suits if you cause them problems, is conditioning us to accept that we have to submit to a “central” governments demands. That is what Senator Chuck Schumer wants.

Franklyn on May 9, 2011 at 4:55 PM

Nobody remind him of the first attack method on the WTC (or the suicide vests attacks they carry out either).

Pretty soon we will be searched everywhere.

clement on May 9, 2011 at 5:14 PM

When Sen. Shumck says manifold, doesn’t he mean manifest?

WoosterOh on May 9, 2011 at 11:52 AM

Come on now, democratics get a pass on saying stupid stuff like manifold and 57 states. If a Republican said that, it would be the lead story.

slickwillie2001 on May 9, 2011 at 7:37 PM

All our names should be on that list. Amtrak should be put of business.

curved space on May 9, 2011 at 9:10 PM

Well, al Qaeda has a couple choices. Kill a few people per car in the pathetic dramatic routes like LA to NOLA. Or they could go for the Northeast Corridor and get a few more people per car – maybe 200 total. Or they could go for economic chaos, send out a few small teams with sledge hammers and bang on some rail clips (new form of spikes) and let a train derail, bend a lot of track, and inconvenience a large number of people very dramatically going into NY. Or they could play games and figure out how to jimmy a switch so they get a nice head on with two passenger trains. It’d be, oh, a little worse than a short strike.

In the US trains are not a big win for al Qaeda. That’s probably why they’ve not done it yet. They can’t top 9/11.

{^_^}

herself on May 10, 2011 at 5:14 AM