Here’s to new beginnings

Christopher Elliott at the German Clock Museum. Photo by Aren Elliott.
Christopher Elliott at the German Clock Museum. Photo by Aren Elliott.
I’ve published this site since 1997, which is half an eternity on the Internet.

You’ve seen features come and go, from my first foray into travel commentary — as ABCNews.com’s Crabby Traveler — to my adventures in mainstream media columnizing at The New York Times, Washington Post and USA Today.

If you’ve followed this site, you know that the only constant is change. But today’s changes are so significant that they merit their own story.
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Summer road hazards your government won’t warn you about

Studioarz/Shutterstock
Studioarz/Shutterstock
With the frenetic summer travel season just around the corner, here’s a little warning about a road hazard you might not expect: a checkpoint staffed by Transportation Security Administration workers.

The so-called VIPR teams (shorthand for Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response) are special TSA units that search — and sometimes detain — travelers at bus terminals, railroad stations, subways, truck weigh stations and special events such as NFL games and political conventions.
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Can I tell you a secret about airport security?

hyxdyl/Shutterstock
hyxdyl/Shutterstock
If you think the American government keeps too many secrets, you should meet Jose Lacson.

Lacson lost his job as a federal air marshal in 2011 after allegedly disclosing “unauthorized” information to the public. The TSA says he published what it calls “sensitive security information” (SSI) in a website forum.

But here’s the interesting thing: In an appeal to his dismissal, Lacson claims the posts were fictional. The information referenced the number, deployment, and attrition rate of federal air marshals hired at various times and deployed at various duty stations, according to a report.

I repeat: Lacson says he made it all up.
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