Category Archives: 4th Amendment

An Introduction to TSA Complaints and Abuses

In two days, me and the boys are flying the friendly skies to visit my Mom and Dad.  This flight is our first since the Invasion of the Body Scanners.  The hour is already late, so I’ll not rehash concerns over TSA policies.  I previously posted on TSA issues here, here, and here if you are interested.

I want to make a comprehensive list of known TSA abuses, but that will have to wait.  Too many links need compiling.  This post will serve as an introduction.

Problems at the security checkpoints are unlikely, but one must prepare for eventualities.  Fortunately, this guy has done the work already, creating a TSA regulation cheat sheet.  Important facts include:  1) TSA agents cannot detain you; they must call local authorities for detention.  2) TSA must inform you how you’ll be touched before they touch you.  3) Touching is restricted to the minimum necessary to detect weapons or explosives.

Did you know that TSA has its own blog on Blogger?  Yep.  It’s so homey and nice; it almost feels like everyday people run the site.  Their latest post is about a new program that uses “Automated Target Recognition” to turn naughty nakey images into crude outlines.  Very private . . . unless the automated program ends up creating false positives that necessitate more of those invasive pat downs.

Me and the boys will go through the body scanners rather than “opt out.”  So, the only way we’ll run into trouble:  if we need patting down in addition to the body scanner, and that pat down includes areas within my sons’ underwear.

I won’t consent to that.  I’ll have to forgo my flight and drive instead.  A very unlikely scenario, that.

Still, I prefer to mentally draw a line before being confronted with the situation.

Anyway, I hope to post a comprehensive list of complaints against TSA soon.  Of course, this list will be limited by what I find on the internet.  According to this article, when the ACLU solicited complaints last November, they received over 900 in the course of one month.   Snippets from these complaints can be read hereMore recent TSA problems include the unreasonable pat down of a six-year-old, as well as the arrest of a mother for having a stern tone and bad attitude.

Hmm.  I have a six-year-old.  My “stern tone” could rival a Gunny’s.  And bad attitude?

Maybe I should be nervous after all.

While scanning TSA search results, I got to thinking:  has anyone made a FOIA request for official complaints against TSA?

Ding ding ding, the answer is yes.  Judicial Watch has indeed made a FOIA request for all records of complaints about TSA’s new pat down process.

The TSA response was rather cheeky:  define complaint.

Because you know, it all depends on what the definition of “is” is.