- Law Cases
by Sharon Rondeau
(Aug. 16, 2013) — On October 21, 2010, The Post & Email published an article detailing a search carried out by members of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) at Dulles National Airport in Washington, DC.
The TSA is a division of the Department of Homeland Security, whose secretary, Janet Napolitano, recently announced her resignation.
A TSA blog entry dated March 31, 2009 which states that videotaping of TSA agents’ actions while they are on duty is allowed is still posted.
A TSA worker mentioned “confidential security information” to the traveler, at which point he was told to stop videotaping. He was then threatened with detention, “disorderly conduct” and “obstructing justice” by both the TSA and the local police department which had been summoned.
During the exchange, the TSA worker covered his identification badge so that his name could not be seen.
The traveler discovered more than a month ago that his video of the event was removed by YouTube for an alleged violations of its Terms of Service,” the link for which brings the reader to a list of categories of material which YouTube reportedly prohibits.
The Post & Email recalls the video and can state that it could not have been considered “Hate Speech,” “Impersonation,” or a “Dangerous Illegal Act,” to name a few of the prohibited topics.
The traveler told The Post & Email, “It’s been 30 days without a response since I sent an email asking who and for what reason was the video taken off youtube and that I want my video reinstated.”
Another shorter video embedded in our October 21, 2010 article remains on YouTube.
Two months after the TSA report went to press, an advocacy group for the disabled claimed that the TSA “has been committing acts of felony molestation against people with disabilities, children, senior citizens, and disabled veterans on a continuing basis for some time now – despite current laws in place to protect us.”
Other complaints against the TSA involving adults, the disabled and disabled children have made national headlines over the last several years. A public comment period which closed on June 24 allowed members of the public to express their opinions and experiences with the full-body scanners used by the TSA at airports.
Obama has said that the practices of the TSA are “necessary to assure airline safety.” However, Obama’s family does not have to undergo such screenings in their worldwide travels and vacations at taxpayer expense.
The TSA has a “TSA Cares” help line which the disabled and those with medical conditions may call for information prior to arriving at the airport.
Responses received following complaints filed with the TSA have generated “boilerplate” letters which claim that “In your letter you voiced concern that this screening process was a violation of your constitutional rights. But the Fourth Amendment, along with most of the Constitution, does not apply in the airport the same way it does in most public spaces. The courts have found that airline passengers also consent to be searched when they choose to fly. Federal law requires commercial airline passengers to be searched prior to boarding a plane and airlines cannot transport any passenger who refuses. Over the past 40 years, the courts have upheld the constitutionality of airport security screenings as part of an overall regulatory effort to prevent hijackings and other terrorist activity.”
At the time, the website Disabled World also opined:
Please understand that Janet Napolitano and Homeland Security have absolutely no intention of stopping whatsoever. In fact – Janet Napolitano and Homeland Security have just joined forces with Wal-Mart. Soon, you will enter a Wal-Mart store and find a message from Homeland Security at every single cash register, telling you to snitch on anything you think is suspicious. The snitch on your brother campaign makes me wonder just how long it will be before we find the equivalent of TSA Agents standing at the doors to these Wal-Mart stores, and other stores like it, telling us we must be molested in order to go shopping. Janet Napolitano wants to put TSA Agents at train stations, subway stations, and bus stations as well.