Your Aug. 18 editorial “Festering TSA” wrongly claimed the Transportation Security Administration is expanding the reach of its Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response program.
VIPR teams were authorized by the 9/11 Act, which was enacted in 2007 to implement recommendations of the 9/11 Commission. The teams were created after the 2004 Madrid train bombings, which killed 191 people and wounded more than 1,800. The program is not new and its mission is not expanding.
Since VIPR was established, Congress has appropriated funding for teams that work at the request of state and local law enforcement authorities. They enhance the security presence during specific alert periods or major events such as presidential inaugurations or Super Bowl games.
Given the size and scope of global terror networks, deploying VIPR teams is a crucial element in security — an effective and visible deterrent to anyone attempting to plan an attack on high-profile targets.
TSA’s mission always has been to secure all modes of transportation. VIPR teams are an important part of our multilayered approach to keep the traveling public safe.
Director Federal Air Marshal ServiceU.S. Transportation Security Administration Arlington, Va.