To effectively oppose WMATA’s random bag search program at this point, it will be important to study WMATA director statements for indications about their sentiments about the bag search program — and in some cases their misunderstandings of that program. Several WMATA directors spoke about the bag search issue at the January 27 board meeting, including Kathy Porter (MD, alt.), Tommy Wells (DC), Mortimer Downey (Fed), Mary Hynes (VA), Elizabeth Hewlett (MD), and Jeff McKay (VA, alt.). A transcript of one director’s statement (Kathy Porter) is linked to below. It will be helpful if readers transcribe other director statements and share their work in comments; master copies will eventually be added to the list below. [UPDATE: all are done! Thanks ND and KO!]
As noted in the prior post, several board members (McKay, but also Hynes and Hewlett) appeared to be under the mistaken impression that the bag search program was initiated in response to a particular threat, or to special information that the MTPD and/or GM Sarles became privy to or suddenly aware of. This is specifically contradicted by the MTPD in statements about the program: “Why now? […] …there is no specific or credible threat to the system at this time…”
Some directors also seemed to describe the bag search issue as merely one of poor communication with Metro riders. We should be clear with them that this isn’t a public relations issue, it’s a civil liberties and “pretend security” issue.
Videos and (when available) transcripts follow.
Kathy Porter (MD, alt.): transcript
Tommy Wells (DC): transcript
Mortimer Downey (Fed): transcript
Mary Hynes (VA): transcript
Elizabeth Hewlett (MD): transcript
Jeff McKay (VA, alt.): transcript