Foiled Paris attack sparks fresh calls for US rail security

Foiled Paris attack sparks fresh calls for US rail security
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A pair of Democratic senators is calling for the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to secure the nation's railways after a thwarted attack by a heavily armed gunman on a high-speed train in Europe.

Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerNewsom endorses Kamala Harris for president Trump tweets video mocking Dems not cheering during State of the Union Former Virginia Gov McAuliffe writes book about confronting white nationalism MORE (D-N.J.) are urging the TSA to "to implement security and safety improvements ... to our country’s public transportation and passenger rail systems" that the duo said were "mandated by Congress in 2007 but still not implemented." 

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"This effort comes on the heels of an attempted terrorist attack on a Paris-bound train last week in which three Americans successfully subdued the attacker," Blumenthal's office said in a statement previewing an appearance by the Connecticut senator at Hartford's Union Station. 

Three Americans were honored in France after they stopped the gunman and saved hundreds of passengers on a train from Amsterdam to Paris.

The U.S. residents were vacationing in Europe when they encountered the gunman on a train.

The suspect, Moroccan citizen Ayoub El Khazzani, 26, had just fired upon a passenger and was attempting to use his AK-47.

Blumenthal's office said the incident highlights "the need to ensure that adequate safety and security protections are in place for the tens of millions of people who rely on [U.S.] public transportation systems every day." 

TSA officials say they work "closely with law enforcement agencies at every level, including the FBI, to ensure the security of all modes of U.S. transportation, including the rail system.

"TSA’s Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response (VIPR) teams are deployed across the United States, in close coordination with local security and law enforcement officials, to augment the security of transportation systems," the agency said in a statement that was provided to The Hill.

"The VIPR program consists of teams of Federal Air Marshals, Behavioral Detection Officers, Transportation Security Specialists-Explosives, Transportation Security Inspectors and Canine teams who work closely with federal, state, and local law enforcement partners and stakeholders in the transportation sectors,” the TSA statement continued. 

—Updated on Aug. 26 at 9:46 a.m. 

-Kristina Wong contributed.