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Revenge of the TSA bureaucrats

TSA at work


Katiebird linked to a post by John Tyner describing his experience with Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screeners and supervisors at San Diego International after refusing to go through a full body scan.  Here’s a little bit more of his story:

 

I took a seat in a tiny metal chair next to the table with my belongings and waited. While waiting, I asked the original agent (who was supposed to do the pat down) if he had many people opt out to which he replied, none (or almost none, I don’t remember exactly). He said that I gave up a lot of rights when I bought my ticket. I replied that the government took them away after September 11th. There was silence until the next supervisor arrived. A few minutes later, the female agent/supervisor arrived with a man in a suit (not a uniform). He gave me a business card identifying him as David Silva, Transportation Security Manager, San Diego International Airport. At this point, more TSA agents as well as what I assume was a local police officer arrived on the scene and surrounded the area where I was being detained. The female supervisor explained the situation to Mr. Silva. After some quick back and forth (that I didn’t understand/hear), I could overhear Mr. Silva say something to the effect of, “then escort him from the airport.” I again offered to submit to the metal detector, and my father-in-law, who was near by also tried to plead for some reasonableness on the TSA’s part.

The female supervisor took my ID at this point and began taking some kind of report with which I cooperated. Once she had finished, I asked if I could put my shoes back on. I was allowed to put my shoes back on and gather my belongs. I asked, “are we done here” (it was clear at this point that I was going to be escorted out), and the local police officer said, “follow me”. I followed him around the side of the screening area and back out to the ticketing area. I said apologized to him for the hassle, to which he replied that it was not a problem.

I made my way over to the American Airlines counter, explained the situation, and asked if my ticket could be refunded. The woman behind the counter furiously typed away for about 30 seconds before letting me know that she would need a supervisor. She went to the other end of the counter. When she returned, she informed me that the ticket was non-refundable, but that she was still trying to find a supervisor. After a few more minutes, she was able to refund my ticket. I told her that I had previously had a bad experience with American Airlines and had sworn never to fly with them again (I rationalized this trip since my father-in-law had paid for the ticket), but that after her helpfulness, I would once again be willing to use their carrier again.

At this point, I thought it was all over. I began to make my way to the stairs to exit the airport, when I was approached by another man in slacks and a sport coat. He was accompanied by the officer that had escorted me to the ticketing area and Mr. Silva. He informed me that I could not leave the airport. He said that once I start the screening in the secure area, I could not leave until it was completed. Having left the area, he stated, I would be subject to a civil suit and a $10,000 fine. I asked him if he was also going to fine the 6 TSA agents and the local police officer who escorted me from the secure area. After all, I did exactly what I was told. He said that they didn’t know the rules, and that he would deal with them later. They would not be subject to civil penalties. I then pointed to Mr. Silva and asked if he would be subject to any penalties. He is the agents’ supervisor, and he directed them to escort me out. The man informed me that Mr. Silva was new and he would not be subject to penalties, either. He again asserted the necessity that I return to the screening area. When I asked why, he explained that I may have an incendiary device and whether or not that was true needed to be determined. I told him that I would submit to a walk through the metal detector, but that was it; I would not be groped. He told me that their procedures are on their website, and therefore, I was fully informed before I entered the airport; I had implicitly agreed to whatever screening they deemed appropriate. I told him that San Diego was not listed on the TSA’s website as an airport using Advanced Imaging Technology, and I believed that I would only be subject to the metal detector. He replied that he was not a webmaster, and I asked then why he was referring me to the TSA’s website if he didn’t know anything about it. I again refused to re-enter the screening area.

The man asked me to stay put while he walked off to confer with the officer and Mr. Silva. They went about 20 feet away and began talking amongst themselves while I waited. I couldn’t over hear anything, but I got the impression that the police officer was recounting his version of the events that had transpired in the screening area (my initial refusal to be patted down). After a few minutes, I asked loudly across the distance if I was free to leave. The man dismissively held up a finger and said, “hold on”. I waited. After another minute or so, he returned and asked for my name. I asked why he needed it, and reminded him that the female supervisor/agent had already taken a report. He said that he was trying to be friendly and help me out. I asked to what end. He reminded me that I could be sued civilly and face a $10,000 fine and that my cooperation could help mitigate the penalties I was facing. I replied that he already had my information in the report that was taken and I asked if I was free to leave. I reminded him that he was now illegally detaining me and that I would not be subject to screening as a condition of leaving the airport. He told me that he was only trying to help (I should note that his demeanor never suggested that he was trying to help. I was clearly being interrogated.), and that no one was forcing me to stay. I asked if tried to leave if he would have the officer arrest me. He again said that no one was forcing me to stay. I looked him in the eye, and said, “then I’m leaving”. He replied, “then we’ll bring a civil suit against you”, to which I said, “you bring that suit” and walked out of the airport.

Well guess what?

The Transportation Security Administration has opened an investigation targeting John Tyner, the Oceanside man who left Lindbergh Field under duress on Saturday morning after refusing to undertake a full body scan.

[…]

Michael J. Aguilar, chief of the TSA office in San Diego, called a news conference at the airport Monday afternoon to announce the probe. He said the investigation could lead to prosecution and civil penalties of up to $11,000.

TSA agents had told Tyner on Saturday that he could be fined up to $10,000.

“That’s the old fine,” Aguilar said. “It has been increased.”

[…]

Tyner, 31, was on his way to South Dakota on Saturday to go pheasant hunting. He was chosen for a full-body scan and opted out because he thought it was invasive. He was then informed that he would be subjected to a body search. He told the TSA agent, “”You touch my junk and I’m going to have you arrested.”

Tyner likened the proposed search procedure to a “sexual assault.”

When he tried to assert his rights, Tyner was told by a TSA supervisor on tape, “By buying your ticket you gave up a lot of rights.”

[…]

According to Aguilar, Tyner is under investigation for leaving the security area without permission. That’s prohibited, among other reasons, to prevent potential terrorists from entering security, gaining information, and leaving.

[…]

Aguilar said that once a passenger enters the security area, there is a legal obligation to follow through with the process.

ORLY?

The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

So if a guy wants to get on a plane it’s not unreasonable to search him for weapons. But “unreasonable” also applies to the manner of the search. Fondling someone’s genitals as part of routine screening for weapons isn’t what I would call reasonable.

In this case the person refused the overly-intimate search and was told he couldn’t get on the plane, but TSA is asserting that they could go ahead and fondle his junk anyway!

Last time I checked refusing to consent to a search did not give the government probable cause to search. It’s not even reasonable suspicion.

Unlike most search cases there is no evidence in a criminal case that has it’s admissibility at issue. They did not arrest Tyner nor even tell him that he was being detained.

The TSA is asserting some kind of Kafkaesque Catch-22 where the person is free to leave but may be arrested and fined if they do so, based on some “obligation to cooperate.”

That would basically throw what shreds of Fourth Amendment rights we have left out the window.

If we’re not free anymore will the terrorists still hate us?


Q: How many people work at the Transportation Security Administration?

A: About half of them



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33 Responses

  1. The TSA launched their Program to Examine Random Voyagers (PERV) this morning – the SHOCKING story is at:

    http://spnheadlines.blogspot.com/2010/03/faa-tiger-will-work-airport-security_19.html

    Peace! 🙂

  2. Time for a nude protest at the airport.

  3. Thank you for this important post. The TSA’s actions are outrageous and, I think, unconstitutional. The young man should be commended — not sued. Otherwise, the terrorists win.

    djmm

  4. I’m sure this is redundant — the frisking of a 3 yr old little girl, freaking out at being touched so much. Shudder.

    They took her teddy bear away from her, she began crying, then a metal detector went off twice, meaning everyone had to be frisked. Say what?

  5. “Don’t fondle my junk”= “Don’t tread on me.”

  6. Is it just the security line one goes through that dictates whether one has to pass through a metal detector or be in the full-body radiation “globe”? There are not enough of these expensive machines to screen everyone. Or, are special cases sent to them?

    This time leaving Atlanta, I didn’t take what appeared to be the fast security line and got the regular metal detector. Last time when I ran towards the empty-appearing line at one of the ends, I was positioned like the man in Da Vinci’s
    Proportional Study of Man in the Manner of Vitruvius inside the full-body scanner. It was creepy.

  7. Maybe airline passenger screenings can be used to reduce the cost of Obamacare. Might as well kill two birds with one stone. Purchase an airline ticket and get a free health scare screening. Full body scans can be used to look for masses on breasts, lungs, enlarged prostates, etc. While getting patted down get your prostate checked. Might as well check for blood in your stool too. No more need for breast self exams – your friendly TSA agent will check for lumps for you.

  8. The first time I flew after 9/11, the plane had to be held up for a person undergoing more intense security. The only empty seat I could see was next to me. Imagine my surprise when an 80-plus woman hobbled to it. She apologized because she had a metal plate in her leg. She was a little upset at the scrutiny because she said that her usual activity consists of driving people older than she to their doctor’s appointments.

    P.S. Two new non-laudatory books about Bubbles–“Young Mr. Obama: Chicago and the Making of a Black President” by Edward McClelland and “The Mendacity of Hope: Barack Obama and the Betrayal of American Liberalism” by Roger D. Hodge (summarily fired from his editorship at Harper’s Magazine after he revealed his thoughts on the great fake). A review of the first book says that O’s “metamorphosis from the somewhat self-important, dull speaker of the 2000 period…to the oratorial master of the 2004-2008 years is glossed over.”

    I missed the mastery part. So did the Indian press when the tele-prompters (not needed by Indian politicians) were installed in the great hall. Guess Kerry’s speechwriter gift of Jon Favreau is to be commended. “Yes, we can! Yes, we can! ” is Axelrod campaign redux and frankly, a bit wimpy. Maybe “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for” is Favreau’s contribution to the great orator.

  9. When Memes Collide: Capt. Sully Says There’s No Need For Junk Touching At Airports

    So the TSA says if you don’t want to step into the we-can-see-you-naked x-ray machine, you’ve got to let a gloved TSA employee run a hand over your lady or gentleman parts, all in the name of airport security.

    But wait! In steps every American’s favorite pilot, the Hudson splash-landing hero of Flight 1549 fame, Sully Sullenberger, to say, you know what? Keep your hands to yourselves. “I can tell you from my perspective as an airline pilot for three decades, this just isn’t an effective use of our resources.”

    […]

    On CNN’s American Morning Tuesday, anchor Kiran Chetry asked Sullenberger what he thinks of the pat down policy, paraphrasing John Tyner’s concerns this way: “I don’t want anybody but my wife and maybe my doctor touching me in the places these people are touching me.”

    Sully, by the way, can land a passenger jet in a river without so much as getting a passenger wet, but he couldn’t stop the TSA from hand searching his own wife during a recent trip. (Hands off Mrs. Sully, you goons!) “She was touched in sensitive places,” said Sully.

  10. It is also time to repeal the Patriot Act. Not only can Big Brother grope you and your loved ones at the airport, they can also read your emails, listen to your phone calls, find out what books you read, track what websites you visit. They can even search your house without telling you.

    The fourth amendment was shredded by the Patriot Act.

    • And to think no more paperwork. Next thing they’ll do is fug with our memory, that way you won’t be able to recall or believe anything.

  11. If Osama is still alive somewhere, he must be ROTFLHAO.

  12. I have two filters in my vena cava…will those show and how in the world can I explain them to a TSA agent….will I need to carry a note from my doctor”? Serious question!

    • These scanners aren’t going to catch anything subdermal. Which is why you’re off the hook on this, but mandatory body cavity searches are next on the agenda.

  13. I assume the third-base patdown is because some jerk put a bomb in his shorts. What are we going to do when some bomber places in IED in a body cavity?

    I think every thime they “enhance” a security procedure, Janet Napolitano and every TSA agent should get first hand knowledge of it.

  14. So they are planning a no fly day? Hell, let them walk, ride a camel for all I care.

  15. WOW. If these fuckers seriously think that they can say “But you consented when you walked in here and now you can’t leave without going through with it” they’re about to legalize RAPE. The fucking ESSENCE of consent is that it can be WITHDRAWN and is FREELY GIVEN. It’s the legal precursor to “But your honor, she SAID she’d have sex with me, and then she refused! I HAD to rape her. She was obligated!”

  16. Fuck the TSA and fuck the airline industry. They can suck it. I’m driving or riding a train or a boat, until this shit stops. It’s not safe, and it actually serves no security purpose. I call bullshit.

    • I’m not flying for thanksgiving dinner with the family, I’ve got the key to the highway, not the skyway.

  17. Clueless crone Napolitano should get fired along with witless wonder Eric Holder. ‘Nuff said.

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