Friday, April 3, 2009

Incident at St. Louis International Airport

At approximately 6:50 p.m. on March 29, 2009, a metal box alarmed the X-ray machine at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport, triggering the need for additional screening. Because the box contained a number of items including a large amount of cash, all of which needed to be removed to be properly screened, it was deemed more appropriate to continue the screening process in a private area. A Transportation Security Administration (TSA) employee and members of the St. Louis Airport Police Department can be heard on the audio recording. The tone and language used by the TSA employee was inappropriate. TSA holds its employees to the highest professional standards. TSA will continue to investigate this matter and take appropriate action.

Movements of large amounts of cash through the checkpoint may be investigated by law enforcement authorities if criminal activity is suspected. As a general rule, passengers are required to cooperate with the screening process. Cooperation may involve answering questions about their property, including why they are carrying a large sum of cash. A passenger who refuses to answer questions may be referred to appropriate authorities for further inquiry.


Bob

EoS Blog Team

Click here to view Comments 201 & above.

358 comments:

«Oldest   ‹Older   201 – 358 of 358
RB said...

http://tinyurl.com/d55n9a

"Mr. Bierfeldt was traveling from a regional meeting of a conservative political organization know to advocate sound money, small government, civil liberties and belief in The United States Constitution when he was detained and interrogated by Transportation Security Administration officials for having cash in his possession.

TSA agents claim having a large sum of money which could be any amount over $50.00 is cause to be detained and interrogated. When Mr. Bierfeldt asks if the interrogation over having cash is lawful he was threatened with further detainment and investigation by DEA and FBI."

.......................
So it seems belief in the United States constitution starts the TSA suspicion train.

And it seems also that it's not $10,000, not even $4,700 but as little as $50 that is considered a large sum of money and reason to be detained and interrogated by your local TSA chapter.

How long before they will have full three piece rockers on their jackets?

J Riordan said...

It seems that you are suggesting that someone carrying a large amount of cash is unusual, and the fact that it is unusual leads the screeners to suspect criminal activity.

Please let me tell you about my related concern:

I suffer from a physical disability, with the result that my appearance is often perceived as "unusual". My disability is not a common one; if it were, it wouldn't be "unusual".

When I fly, will I now have to answer personal questions about my condition and subject myself to greater scrutiny because of my disability?

It is my understanding that passing through airport security previously involved only objective issues: there were things that you could bring through, and things that you couldn't, and that was that. Now it seems that one has to placate the screener and ensure him or her that there is nothing out-of-the-ordinary. The screening criteria has become entirely subjective- if the screener isn't "used to" the situation at hand, the person is automatically suspected of "criminal activity" and subject to the sort of intolerant and disrespectful language exhibited here.

This is very worrisome for someone like myself who suffers from an unusual physical condition that, unlike cash, cannot be left behind at home.

Anonymous said...

Bob, any comments on the spread of Norwegian scabies (highly contagious) in the TSA staff at Logan?

Anonymous said...

As a general rule, passengers are required to cooperate with the screening process. Cooperation may involve answering questions about their property, including why they are carrying a large sum of cash.

As Steve Bierfeldt asked, in a polite tone, over and over, says who? Why is this seemingly simple question so difficult for the TSA to answer? Are we, or are we not legally required to answer questions regarding the origins of the currency we happen to be carrying when going through a TSA checkpoint? Yes or no Bob?

Oh, and you will, of course be posting the names of the officer(s) involved in this thuggish attempt to bully a citizen, as well as exactly what disciplinary actions were taken against them. (It's far too much to hope that these criminal thugs will be prosecuted.)

Anonymous said...

The purpose of any government department is to ensure its own survival and growth. Since every government department's mission is in some way to help the people, it can best grow when its employees are convinced that its growth helps the public. Clearly TSA employees believe that every action of theirs, including this incident, prevents a terrorist incident, because to believe anything else would threaten their sense of value.

But since the TSA hasn't caught any actual terrorists - if it had it would have broadcast the details far and wide to promote its worth - it has to justify its existence by some lesser means, such as catching other criminals. Therefore they see their local exemption from the fourth amendment right against unreasonable search without probable cause as the license to go on any kind of fishing expedition they can think of. As we're read, this includes confiscating pills and investigating cash. Neither of these pose any threat to the security of an aircraft, but when your mindset has changed from protecting the aircraft to being a pseudo-FBI agent looking for anything that might indicate suspicious behavior, well, watching enough episodes of 24 can lead someone to pounce on just about anything not completely ordinary.

Unfortunately, we Americans rather excel at being out of the ordinary. Something to do with our national character. In other times and other contexts, it used to be seen as a positive quality.

Anonymous said...

Quote: "GSOLTSO said...
Anon said "Don't TSA policies encourage this behavior? I ask because my recollection suggests there are bonuses for TSA employees who initiate a drug or similar conviction. Is my recollection accurate? Would the TSO have been entitled to a financial reward if that passenger was found to be engaged in certain specified illegal behaviors? If so, the TSA has more than the agent involved to scrutinize. Safety ought be the sole mission in this regard. It cannot be overemphasized: You have the public's support when TSA focuses on safety, but a general government checkpoint does not carry with it our public support."

This is wrong, there is no Bonus or other type of reward associated with generating any kind of bust."
--------------------------------
Wrong!! Look up the definition of "On the spot awards". TSA does give TSOs monetary awards for "catches" such as handguns, drugs, etc. found at CP or CB.

RB said...

Is the Kelly on the "Meet the Bloggers" page and KellyMae the same person?

Anonymous said...

The tone of the TSA response is very disconcerting. How about an apology if members representing the TSA acted "inappropriately"?

Why are travelers "required" to answer questions that are irrelevant to passenger safety, such as the amount of cash they carry.

What about carrying money puts someone "criminal activity is suspected" category? Maybe if it's inside to a vile and stuffed up his colon but in a safe box? Give me a fu**** break. Maybe if it had ink stains all over it like stolen bank money, yeah I can see that but in this case, there is no reason period. $4700.00 is not that much and treating a fellow American like he's some sort of drug lord for that amount is well, at best shameful.

Do you really think drug dealers don't use AMEX travelers cheques? Do you do this to everyone using AMEX travelers cheques?

What were the "Other Items" in the box? Receipts perhaps? Dice from the MGM Grand? Semi Automatic?



Are you are or are you not legally required by law to answer TSA questions like that in order to travel? It's a simple question Yes / No. Now everyones asking the same question. Fact is you don't "NEED" to speak to anyone ever on grounds you might incriminate yourself without even knowing it or ever having done anything wrong period.

Which is exactly why he asked the question he did. I would have too, carrying money isn't a crime or a reason to jerk Americans around.

Anonymous said...

"So let me get this straight, the TSO made an "innapropriate comment" yet the law enforcement personel detained this person and were the ones questioning him and the public wants the TSO disciplined / fired / strung up?"

"Yup, and you wonder why we feel as we do toward the public."

If comments like this one don't exclusively point out there was a reason other then the law I don't know what does. To whom ever posted this, you are the public friend and if you acted like it this problem wouldn't have happened.

Greg said...

I am still unclear as to why the TSA believes discussing the punishment is a violation of the TSOs privacy? Every other city agency (law enforcement) is required to discuss disciplinary action. They do this to ensure the public trust. Is the TSA unaware of the fact that the public has no trust in them? The TSA should be working hard to remove the "adversarial" relationship they have created, and this nothing but the opposite.

Anonymous said...

"As a general rule, passengers are required to cooperate with the screening process. Cooperation may involve answering questions about their property, including why they are carrying a large sum of cash. A passenger who refuses to answer questions may be referred to appropriate authorities for further inquiry." (emphasis added)

As a general rule? We do not live by "general rules" -- we live by laws. The guy repeatedly asked "Am I required by law to answer the question?" All the officers had to do was say "Yes, you are required by law to answer the question," or "No, you are not."

Anonymous said...

TSORon said...

"It would be inappropriate to put an individuals corrective action into the public domain. All the public should need to know is that action has been taken. Demands for more are intrusive on the screeners privacy, and will still enjoy the same level of privacy as any other citizen.

April 3, 2009 3:59 PM"


Irony duly noted, thanks Ron.

Sandra said...

Kellymae81, NOW HEAR THIS!!!!!

Be careful of what you say to others about their writing styles. You wrote this, among other things:

EXACTLY!!!!!!! YOUR opinion. How are we to know what someone's intention is with something that COULD harm someone. Maybe not fatally, but if we allow knives to everyone, who does that include? THE TERRORISTS!!!!

Anonymous said...

So where did "What In the Heck Does That Person Do: TSA Customer Support & Quality Improvement Manager (CSQIM)" go?

Gunner said...

"Movements of large amounts of cash through the checkpoint may be investigated by law enforcement authorities if criminal activity is suspected."


TSA definition of sysoected criminal activity: you've got money.

Anonymous said...

Bruce Schneier says something important about security without a TSA-prohibited acronym in the link

Matt said...

"Movements of large amounts of cash through the checkpoint may be investigated by law enforcement authorities if criminal activity is suspected."

I'd like to know what training the TSA receives regarding the detection of financial crimes.

It seems to me that if TSA employees were qualified to suspect criminal activity, they'd be police officers, not TSA employees.

Anonymous said...

A page which links to an article by Bruce Schneier about a certain TSA-prohibited criticism of airline security philosophy.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Gel-pack said...
KellieMae81 @ "To Mr. Gel Pack: In answer to your question, our procedures state that there must be 2 TSOs in a private screening. Period. If there are airports not doing this, they are not following SOP."

So if we take Bob at face value, STL wasn't following SOP.
___________________________________
No, wrong. Two *people* must be in a private screening room. Weather it is a TSO and a police officer or two TSO's.

Anonymous said...

@Paul: "I fully expect the TSA will fire all of the "officers" involved, given their gross violation of the rights of the detained individual."

What makes you expect that?

I expect that the TSA's PR department is hard at work right now, spinning up an appropriate press release that will be published as soon as it's approved by all the layers of TSA and DHS bureaucracy.

The release will first commend the officers for their excellent work at keeping aviation safe. It will go on to remind passengers of their obligation to cooperate fully with the screening process, including providing full and truthful answers to all questions, before stopping just short of declaring the passenger entirely at fault for this incident. It will conclude with a suitably vague statement that an investigation has been conducted and certain TSA procedures will be adjusted as appropriate.

There will, of course, be no mention of any disciplinary action against the officers. And the incident will thus be concluded in the usual TSA fashion.

Anonymous said...

The Bruce Schenier Wikipedia page may one day link to an article of his with a TSA-prohibited acronym on it. Just as the Schneier on Security link on the TSA's blogroll once did.

(Hi, Bob, Sorry about all these short comments, but your comment policy seems inane.)

Bob said...

Greg said... I am still unclear as to why the TSA believes discussing the punishment is a violation of the TSOs privacy? April 7, 2009 12:13 PM
-------------------------------
Greg,

The Privacy Act of 1974, which applies to Federal agencies and not state or local, permits disclosing information about individuals with their consent or pursuant to certain exceptions. In some cases, typically with high-ranking employees, there might be occasion where such information could be disclosed. Read it here: http://is.gd/rgS3

Bob,

EoS Blog Team

RB said...

Bob said...
Greg said... I am still unclear as to why the TSA believes discussing the punishment is a violation of the TSOs privacy? April 7, 2009 12:13 PM
-------------------------------
Greg,

The Privacy Act of 1974, which applies to Federal agencies and not state or local, permits disclosing information about individuals with their consent or pursuant to certain exceptions. In some cases, typically with high-ranking employees, there might be occasion where such information could be disclosed. Read it here: http://is.gd/rgS3

Bob,

EoS Blog Team

April 7, 2009 4:37 PM
......................
Didn't TSA write rules exempting itself from Privacy Act Compliance?

If TSA can write policy so PA rules don't apply to travelers then they can do the same for employees.

Besides, if you have nothing to hide.....

RB said...

"Movements of large amounts of cash through the checkpoint may be investigated by law enforcement authorities if criminal activity is suspected."
....................
Would TSA's definition of suspected criminal activity be something along the lines of a person just wanting to travel by airplane? It would seem so!

Please define "large amounts of cash". Is it $50 dollars, $1,000 dollars, maybe $4,700 dollars? Even more?

Why has TSA determined that United States Currency is "Contraband"? Please note that I did not state an amount since there is no permissable amount of an item declared as "contraband".

Anonymous said...

RB is a good example of why the TSA probably doesn't answer more questions around here. Case and point. Bob answers a question about privacy. RB shoots it down with wise-acre comments and rhetorical questions.

Shark Girl said...

Paul, I'm already on the list, so maybe you and I can get the same FEMA train car and discuss what life used to be like in the United States. *grin*

I have a folder on a computer at the Pentagon with my name on it because of my blog. They made the mistake of coming to my blog from within a folder with my name. Doh! I even know I'm listed on the O drive of their computer, and which security agency at the Pentagon is tracking me.

Why? Because I speak out against corruption.

I listened to the recording just like thousands of others will. I'm also a member of Ron Paul's site. Does this make me a terrorists?

Oh please...just give me the red jumpsuit and execute me. I can't believe we have become the terrorists, yet, Obama is over to our enemy's land dissing America and making deals with terrorists.

Yet, Ron Paul is a threat to our nation?

I'll bet TSA is wishing they would have confiscated the phone. That's probably on their next policy list..

TSA 101 Class: Make sure you aren't being recorded before you act like you hate the Constitution.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

RB is a good example of why the TSA probably doesn't answer more questions around here. Case and point. Bob answers a question about privacy. RB shoots it down with wise-acre comments and rhetorical questions.

April 7, 2009 5:34 PM


Nope, TSA specializes in obfuscation not clarity and as such views a straight up answer to any question as being an anathema.

GSOLTSO said...

RB said "Please tell me that was just a slip when you forgot that little detail. :o)"

You got me, I was typing fast and my head got ahead of my hands! The only time that it should be further examination is if the person is travelling out of the US. Whoopsy!

GSOLTSO said...

Anon said "Wrong!! Look up the definition of "On the spot awards". TSA does give TSOs monetary awards for "catches" such as handguns, drugs, etc. found at CP or CB."

I can't speak for what experience you have had with On the spot awards, but they are supposed to be for "going above and beyond the norm, and doing things that are not job requirements". This is not supposed to include finding a gun, knife, etc. because your JOB DESCRIPTION indicates that you are SUPPOSED to find those things. If you have information on people getting OTS for finding drugs or a gun, or a knife then the management of that location has been negligent in their duties. OTS is supposed to be reserved for things along the lines of - saving a passengers life in an emergency situation, designing a new procedure that creates better efficiency for the checkpoint at your airport, etc. I am not Wrong! anon, I am just uninformed about what you obviously have seen before or heard of specifically.

West
EOS Blog Team

GSOLTSO said...

Man, I am having a bad night here, I posted that RB said something, when it was Tomas, I beg forgiveness, and apologize to RB for misquoting.

West
EOS Blog Team

Anonymous said...

There is no illegal amount od cash to carry in or outside the country.Outside you have to decale it coming on or going.

Inside the country any amount is legal also with no forms to fill out.

I'm shocked that so many "TSA" here do not know this

Anonymous said...

The Bill of Rights should not be trampled in the name of security. The government is using fear to control and manipulate people. That is how a fascist country operates. Our government is in violation of our Constitution which is the basis of our country and what sets us apart from the rest of the world.

Scott said...

This is completely unacceptable behavior by both the TSA and the local police.

I thought the TSA was suppose to be there to make planes safe. Why is the federal government wasting my money on people that don't even know there area of the law or even what is dangerous to a plane? Obviously money is not dangerous to a plane and it is nobody's business where it came from.

The TSA is not a police force and they are not trained to be able to determine evidence for a crime. They should stick to their job.

The police where even worse since they should have told him that he was not required to answer any questions about his money. This threatening to take him to the police office (making him miss his plane)and involving other agencies is no better than school yard thug tactics.

The worst part is that instead of doing the job they were at the airport to perform, keeping planes safe, they were distracted by harassing this young man.

RB said...

Anonymous said...
RB is a good example of why the TSA probably doesn't answer more questions around here. Case and point. Bob answers a question about privacy. RB shoots it down with wise-acre comments and rhetorical questions.

April 7, 2009 5:34 PM

..................
Don't you find it the least bit odd that Bob and TSA would hide behind the Privacy Act laws for its own workers all the while having exempted itself from the same Federal Law when dealing with the public?

That's right, when it's a TSA employee they roll out the Privacy Act to hide wrong doing yet if it's a private citizen TSA exempts itself from complying with the same Federal law.

How convenient!

RB said...

GSOLTSO said...
RB said "Please tell me that was just a slip when you forgot that little detail. :o)"
............
Sorry wasn't me, I get plenty of credit here, I don't need extra credit!!

Anonymous said...

Bob:

I remain convinced that one of the gravest acts of injustice perpetrated under the banner of the world on drugs is the pernicious doctrine of "asset forfeiture."

They way it works, no one is accused of a crime---the federal government simply files a Soviet-style civil proceeding against the property and it is left to the hapless owner of the property to prove he or she isn't holding money allegedly "tainted" by drugs.

In many instances, perfectly innocent people have had their cash and homes taken under the tiniest of pretexts.

I'm convinced that this individual was detained and asked leading questions so he might provide just enough dubious "evidence" so the (or the DEA) could pocket his money. It seems to fit the exact pattern of similar forfeiture cases involving travelers.

If I'm wrong about this please clarify the TSA position on asset forfeiture. Does the TSA file forfeiture claims? Does the TSA receive the proceeds from successful seizures? Does the TSA work in tandem with the DEA to file forfeiture claims?

Unless I can be convinced otherwise, it looks like a textbook cash grab by an agency which has long lost sight of its initial mission: ensuring the safety of airline passengers.

RB said...

Looking over some past press releases on the TSA.GOV web pages I noted that TSA is happy to state employee names when one of them finds something at a checkpoint.

Now if the Privacy Act is really in force would it not require keeping peoples personal information private in all cases?

Anonymous said...

Why did the officers have so much of a problem to just tell the kid whether or not he was required to answer their questions? They were obviously just trying to pick on him. And then why didn't the kid demand a lawyer and invoke the 5th?

Police enforce the law, not create it. If you can't uphold your sworn oath to the Constitution and defend a citizen's rights, you have no business being in a position of authority.

Has this thread set a record???

Anonymous said...

Can someone at the TSA tell us exactly how much cash you are allowed to carry with you LEGALLY

Feel free to quote any applicable sections of the Constitution to support your position

While I am not an attorney, this seems like a clear case of unlawful detainment.

Hopefully, he will not get into any trouble if he decides to carry his court settlement in cash!

It will likely be much more than $5,000

RB said...

This question is not specfic to St. Louis but relates to this area more than any other at this time:

My question is about the news report of theft at Philly.

The article I saw stated the individual had not been charged with any crimminal charges.

TSA has LEO components so why would TSA not prefer charges themselves against a federal officer who is accused of theft?

Marshall's SO said...

RB asked:

"Is the Kelly on the "Meet the Bloggers" page and KellyMae the same person?"

Yes, they are and isn't it a shame that one of the official bloggers can't give out correct information as Kelly has stated that cash is not contraband.

TSM - been here for 8! said...

Quoted:
" GSOLTSO said...
Anon said "Wrong!! Look up the definition of "On the spot awards". TSA does give TSOs monetary awards for "catches" such as handguns, drugs, etc. found at CP or CB."

I can't speak for what experience you have had with On the spot awards, but they are supposed to be for "going above and beyond the norm, and doing things that are not job requirements". This is not supposed to include finding a gun, knife, etc. because your JOB DESCRIPTION indicates that you are SUPPOSED to find those things. If you have information on people getting OTS for finding drugs or a gun, or a knife then the management of that location has been negligent in their duties. OTS is supposed to be reserved for things along the lines of - saving a passengers life in an emergency situation, designing a new procedure that creates better efficiency for the checkpoint at your airport, etc. I am not Wrong! anon, I am just uninformed about what you obviously have seen before or heard of specifically.

West
EOS Blog Team

April 7, 2009 6:09 PM"
------------------------------
Uh, West, no disrespect, but You Are Wrong!

All "On the Spot Awards" given out here, at our spokes AND regionally (and further up as I have fone the NDF thing) are vetted by both our Hub and overseen by HQ when we fill out the spreadsheet with the TSOs name and reason for recieving the award. We have NEVER, in 7 years, had one refuted.

And they ARE given out for such things as locating drugs on a passenger, finding a gun or gun components on xray, etc. AS WELL as the other items you mentioned above.

Are you actually located at an airport? Again, no disrespect, but these things are done at an airport level and you may be out of the loop on this.

kellymae81 said...

Sandra, I will agree that I did indeed write that. But this post was written forever ago and it kills me you have nothing better to do than search old archived comments to prove a point that has nothing to do with the topic at hand. That comment was written long before it was pointed out by someone else that over usage of capitals and !!! came across as yelling to readers. Back then, I did not realize that and I merely used capitals to emphasize not yell, but once I realized how it sounded to the reader, I stopped. Now I use italics to emphasize a word but I still use !!!! Now, we are going to end this silliness b/c there are more important issues to talk about. This is not a blog for battle of the wits.

SDF TSO

kellymae81 said...

Anon said:No, wrong. Two *people* must be in a private screening room. Weather it is a TSO and a police officer or two TSO's.

No, you are wrong, anon. Do you work for TSA? Our SOP states that if a private screening is necessary or requested, the TSO involved notifies a supervisor that a private screening was requested. Then, either that supervisor goes or another TSO goes into the private screening area to finish the screening. Either way, both *people* are employees of TSA! LEOs do not come into play of any screening function unless he observes an escalated situation or is called over. So I say again, if airports are not doing this, they are not following SOP.

SDF TSO

Anonymous said...

You can't be arrested for carrying $10,000.01 out of the country, but you CAN be fined AND imprisoned for trying to carry $5.01 out of the country: http://www.usmint.gov/downloads/consumer/FederalRegisterNotice.pdf

kellymae81 said...

I want to clear things up. I guess most of you missed the 2 posts that I already wrote stating my apologies for leaving out the important detail involving taking cash out of country. I fully understand the law stating that taking over $10,000 out of country is only illegal if not declared. I will apologize again for my misleading statements that were not intentional. It was left out by accident and I hope this is the last time I have to state this.
To answer RB's question, yes, this is Kelly from Meet the Bloggers. And Marshall, you can shame me all you want, b/c you completely misunderstood my whole statement about "contraband". Maybe I wasn't clear what I meant but I'm not going to sit here and apologize all the live long day b/c you misinterpret what I say or take it out of context.

Kelly
EoS Blog Team

Anonymous said...

From kellymae:

No, you are wrong, anon. Do you work for TSA? Our SOP states that if a private screening is necessary or requested, the TSO involved notifies a supervisor that a private screening was requested.

Your SOP, since it is SSI and we can't read it means we're working in the dark. You on the other hand have access to it.

Now for a few questions:

Baggage theft at PHL by a lead TSO, is that allowed in your SOP? Probably not, but it happened.

STL illegal interogation techniques of a person carrying $4700 in cash, are the measures heard on tape allowed by your SOP? Again, probably not, but it happened.

Pythias Brown stealing passenger's belongings then reselling those belongings on Ebay - allowed or not per your SOP? Again, probably not, but it happened.

The point I'm making here kelly is that TSA often forgoes the use of the SOP for whatever reason, expediency, criminal activity, hoping that they will be the ones to catch the big one and justify their existence, etc. Waving the SOP around in the hopes of placating us really won't work as we see through the smoke and mirrors used by TSA all too often.

RB said...

kellymae81 said...
I want to clear things up. I guess most of you missed the 2 posts that I already wrote stating my apologies for leaving out the important detail involving taking cash out of country. I fully understand the law stating that taking over $10,000 out of country is only illegal if not declared.
............................
Ok, that is clear.

Since you fully understand the law concerning taking in excess of $10K out of or into the country would you please tell us the following;

When do we delcare this action?

To whom?

An how (what document)?

In that law please tell us where it states that TSA has any obligation or responsibility to act in any way.

Thanks, Kelly.

Orionshallrise said...

Airline passenger rights were suspended not long after September 11, 2001.

We let our politicians throw Habeas Corpus right out the window for the illusion of safety.

Up until I retired in 2007 I flew all over North America and South America and learned real fast just to play by their rules.

Did I like it? No but that's what happens when we get what we ask for.

Anonymous said...

I appreciate that TSA has put this note on the blog. I merely want to add that the evidence of the audio recording is unmistakable: the Transportation Safety Administration, through its employees, acted in a way that disgraces the nation. I hope that we may look forward to a firmer statement soon that makes clear that TSA understands that securing the nation means defending us against bombers and crazies *and* against those who would destroy our liberties from within, out of zeal, ignorance, or just bad manners. I know that I could not sit with a citizen of another nation and listen to that recording without blushing furiously.

Anonymous said...

I don't need Kelly to tell me the customs or financial rules.

What I do what is someone to defend TSA's snooping of Steve Bierfeldt's cash using something other than the $10,000 customs limit.

Anyone? Anyone?

Anonymous said...

Would you people please pay attention please! The passenger was not searched because he had a bunch of money or because he was "under suspicion". He was searched because he had a metallic box that an x-ray machine can't see through, TSA basic checkpoint eticit 101. There were other items in the box other then the cash but once they noticed the cash TSA is required to offer private screening, they do the same thing for jewelers. Because the passenger was nervous and refused to answer simple questions that shouldn't have been such a big deal he was arrested for further investigation under the authority of the POLICE OFFICERS. Yes they were jerks and not really the poster children of customer service wich probably added to the passengers nervousness but procedurely nothing was done wrong here. All you people are looking at is the money and the whole if your suspicious they will violate you kick. He got searched cause they couldn't X-ray his box and then took his very legal tender to a private area where no one else could witness the search which is all nice and happy and safe. TSA is looking for bombs guns and knives ok, maybe a metallic box cramed full of junk and paper looks like a pretty good bomb on an x-ray maybe thats why their procedures are the way they are.

Anonymous said...

A few months back when the banks were all cratering, I cashed out a CD that had $16k in it, from a 401k from an old job.

I'm moving to the other side of the country in a month or so and have been wondering just how I'm going to carry the cash with me. I do NOT want to open an account just to get a cashier's check to then cash once in my new state - banks make you set up an appointment to get that much money, sometimes weeks in advance.

I hate banks.

So... how am I going to take my money with me?

I should add, I have long hair and a beard. Does that and cash automatically make me a suspected drug trafficker?

If I shave and cut my hair and wear a suit, does that make me a suspected white collar money launderer?

It's MY money... whose ring do I have to kiss to be able to carry it with me?

RB said...

Anonymous said...
Would you people please pay attention please! The passenger was not searched because he had a bunch of money or because he was "under suspicion".
.....................
Once the box was cleared of any prohibited items he shold have been on his way. But that's not what happened.

He was repeatedly questioned about how much money he had and where it came from.

Even after LE told him he was free to go the TSO stated he was a supecious person.

Simply put this traveler has TSA and the St Louis airport police by the short hairs and I bet a big payday is in the making.

TSA was wrong and the police were wrong. And as you know two wrongs do not make a right!

Matt said...

[i]I should add, I have long hair and a beard. Does that and cash automatically make me a suspected drug trafficker?[/i]

Oh, man, I wish I was in your shoes (with 401(k) money set loose - all mine is locked up).

You wanna turn that 16k into 100k?

Take it in cash through as many TSA checkpoints as possible until they "catch" you. I'm serious. Book short flights on AirTran and Southwest and pray to God you get stopped and hopefully roughed up. Be sure you know what you can and can't do and say, but let them get away with everything they try. Don't ever resist or they (I'm talking police here, not TSA) will make things up.

Record it all on audio.

Oh, man, what an opportunity! I'm completely serious. Bait them! They can't resist the opportunity to flex their muscle. Some of them haven't beaten anyone up since middle school.

Anonymous said...

I don't think I'm a radical, but isn't there something wrong here?

I mean, isn't the very idea of having government agents who have the power over individuals of the public NOT being known to the public, that the government agents privacy has to be protected FROM the public the very sort of thing we used to say we'd fought a revolution over?

Shouldn't every officer of the government be known to and accountable to the public that THEY WORK FOR?

GSOLTSO said...

TSM been here for... said "Are you actually located at an airport? Again, no disrespect, but these things are done at an airport level and you may be out of the loop on this."

I stand better informed this morning. Here at my airport (yes I am on the floor) we do not normally give those out at this point for the aforementioned situations. I do not agree with that practice, but I have been informed that it is a norm. Sorry, I was (sadly) uninformed.

West
EOS Blog Team

Earl Pitts said...

@Dunstan: "We can just hope that TSOs are not rewarded for bad behavior."

Of course they're rewarded. They get to keep their job so they can continue to abuse the traveling public.

Must be an extremely satisfying job for those individuals.

Earl

Anonymous said...

I just love the fact that after a week and several dozen requests from multiple posters wanting to know what the limit is for carrying cash on an airplane from TSA, of the several dozen responses from TSA members, not one has addressed the question. Lots of other answers, yet not one answer to the perfectly reasonable question that keeps getting asked over and over - just silence and misdirection.

Kind of reminds me of a certain recorded interview ;)

I'll throw my voice in the chorus, because I will be travelling in the next couple of months and I need to know if I should book a train because of the amount of cash I'll be carrying:

So, how much cash can I carry onboard an airplane without getting "special treatment" from TSA? I'd like a hard, fast number please (i.e. $2,500 and below - you can go without being harassed, $2,500.01 - we'll detain you). Even the IRS has hard, fast numbers for declaring cash being taken outside the country, so I'd expect the TSA does as well. So far, the only number I've seen as an "acceptable amount" is $50, but that doesn't strike me as an 'offical number'.

Oh, and if you can't tell us that number because it's "confidential", please let us know that so we can stop bothering you here and take the matter up with our respective congresspeople (and I can start looking at train schedules.)

Thanks.

Anonymous said...

GSOLTSO, thank you for your clarifying comments.

Bob and TSORon, your explanation for hiding the identity and possible corrective action taken against the offending personnel is not satisfactory. Public officials, especially armed officials, are subject to a greater level of openness and scrutiny than the public at large. Public officials accept a limitation of their privacy when they accept office. This is because public office bears increased power and incentive to commit corrupt and abusive acts without recourse.

Please, at minimum, describe what corrective actions were taken and what reprimands were administered.

I have written to my senators and representatives regarding this matter. Thank you for your time, and thank you for continuing to address controversial issues.

TSORon said...

Another Anaoymous poster stated:
"Bob and TSORon, your explanation for hiding the identity and possible corrective action taken against the offending personnel is not satisfactory."

I'm so sorry to dissapoint you, but that TSO deserves his privacy just as much as any other citizen. Just because he is a federal employee does not mean his rights have been revoked.

Anonymous said...

TSORon said:


"I'm so sorry to dissapoint you, but that TSO deserves his privacy just as much as any other citizen. Just because he is a federal employee does not mean his rights have been revoked."


And going through a TSA checkpoint not mean our rights have been revoked...

Ayn R. Key said...

TSO Ron wrote:
I'm so sorry to dissapoint you, but that TSO deserves his privacy just as much as any other citizen. Just because he is a federal employee does not mean his rights have been revoked.

No, but his criminal actions do mean his rights have been revoked.

Anonymous said...

TSORon: I'm so sorry to dissapoint you, but that TSO deserves his privacy just as much as any other citizen. Just because he is a federal employee does not mean his rights have been revoked.

Except, of course, when any other citizen enters a TSA checkpoint, where he or she "voluntarily abandons" all privacy. Said citizen is first strip searched (or has the choice of being groped). And then, purely at the whim of the TSO, their belongings may be dumped onto a table, disassembled, and inspected, all in full view of everyone. And if the search discovers an unspecified amount of cash that the TSO decides is "excessive," the citizen is obligated to provide a full explanation of where the cash comes from and what it will be used for, to the satisfaction of either to the TSO or the police.

So that's why you'll have a hard time getting us to accept the TSA's concept of privacy as a strictly one-way proposition that's piously proclaimed when a TSO needs shielding from accountability, but arrogantly repudiated for "any other citizens." And you'll have an even harder time convincing us to have any respect or sympathy for the "rights" and "privacy" of TSOs who have abused their authority, violated the trust of the public, and tarnished their agency's already rotten reputation. Any federal employee who does that does not deserve to hide behind claims of "privacy."

GSOLTSO said...

Anon said - Bob and TSORon, your explanation for hiding the identity and possible corrective action taken against the offending personnel is not satisfactory. Public officials, especially armed officials, are subject to a greater level of openness and scrutiny than the public at large.

Ummm, the TSO's aren't armed, and there should be the same expectation of right to privacy as any citizen has. When someone is fired from McDonalds they don't print it in the newspaper, when someone that is on the front end of TSA and has a situation like this happen, they should recieve the same consideration. Once again I can't comment on the whole situation, but TSA has an investigation ongoing and will take appropriate action. If management were to publish punishments, disciplines, etc they would never have their lawyers out of court. You don't get to selectively choose who has their punishment published, we are ALL due the same restraints and privacy regulations regardless of what YOU want. If we were to be forced to release the info on what punishments/retraining/disciplinary actions happen here, then the other side of that argument is we should be able to locate you, dig up any and all disciplinary actions taken against you at any point in the past/present. Privacy is a basic expectation of all citizens, not just the ones that don't work for the government or carry a gun.

West
EOS Blog Team

Anonymous said...

The 'safe' amount of anything you take with you on an airplane is zero. Any TSA person can 'see something suspicious' about anything about you and raise a flag, and you are basically powerless from then on.

You could just UPS/Fedex whatever suspicious stuff you need to ahead of your plane trip to the hotel, and it will ironically travel to your destination by air.

It's a culture fostering fear and reinforcing the powerlessness of the people who ride public transportation. You're a nobody, with no rights as soon as you enter the airport.

Since your only alternatives are get on a plane and surrender your rights like a good little peon, versus get behind the wheel and drive a thousand miles or more at a risk to your safety orders of magnitude higher, it's literally become your freedom or your life.

When's the last time you went to the ATM and got $40? I mean, the next higher amount you can possibly get from most machines is $60. What can you do with that? Setting the number so low basically means EVERYONE is a suspect.

Anyway, normal police officers on the ground routinely 'confiscate' cash from people when they pull over cars. It doesn't take much web searching for routine news stories about such abuses, especially with motorists who aren't white driving through the wrong town. The generous laws passed for the 'war on drugs' make confiscating anything simple for the state. It's only natural that such traditions carry over to the TSA as well.

Just like getting pulled over in Mexico and threatened with being taken to jail. Most people will surrender ANYTHING when the guy with the badge and gun begins making threats. It's simply using the state as the weapon for robbery. American kleptocracy in action.

TSORon said...

An anonymous poster said:
"And going through a TSA checkpoint (does) not mean our rights have been revoked..."

Absolutely correct. Your rights are fully intact when you pass through a TSA checkpoint.

Not one single person is going to force you to go through that checkpoint. No arm twisting, no gun to the head. Its totally your choice, you can go through or not. Does this make you feel better?

The only persons I have ever seen taken through a checkpoint against their will were those in handcuff's and being escorted by a law enforcement officer.

So please, feel free to exercise your rights whenever you like, however you like. Heck, if you think you need some assistance in this area just ask, I'll be glad to help however I can. If you are going to stand on your rights, its best to know what they are.

But please understand, that when you place your bag on the X-ray belt, you are exercising your rights as well. You have chosen to allow the TSA to inspect that bag however the TSA feels it is necessary to do so.
That’s that choice you have made. When you walk through the metal detector you have given the TSA permission to inspect your person and property. No one has forced you through the detector, no one has shoved you in. When you buy that ticket you are aware that certain things are not going to be allowed, even if you are not aware you are told this is so. And its your right to say “No, I don’t want them going through my bag, I don’t want them detecting the metal on my body”. You certainly have these rights. Just as the government has the right to deny you entry to the sterile areas of the airport if you refuse. Yes, you have a ticket on a flight, but the airline has told you that to board that flight you must meet certain requirements. You agreed to these when you paid for that ticket, but you still have the right to refuse to comply. You wont fly, you certainly wont enter the sterile area, but you DO have the right to refuse to comply.

Miller said...

West said:

If management were to publish punishments, disciplines, etc they would never have their lawyers out of court. You don't get to selectively choose who has their punishment published, we are ALL due the same restraints and privacy regulations regardless of what YOU want. If we were to be forced to release the info on what punishments/retraining/disciplinary actions happen here, then the other side of that argument is we should be able to locate you, dig up any and all disciplinary actions taken against you at any point in the past/present. Privacy is a basic expectation of all citizens, not just the ones that don't work for the government or carry a gun.


That is fine West, but you (TSA) is in a position of both authority and trust of which were violated in this case. Before trust towards TSA returns, the traveling public must be given assurances that this sort of thing won't happen again. The over reach of authority, again demands a public answer to what was done to remedy this situation. TSA wants the authority but none of the responsibility of dealing with repercussions of that authority being abused.

Mr. Gel-pack said...

GSLTSO:

I, for one, don't care much about publicizing the disciplinary actions against the foul-mouthed TSO. What I do care about in this incident is TSA publishing the relevant rules well enough so we passengers can recognize when a TSO is not following the rules.

From "Why you should never talk to the police" and "How to Avoid Going to Jail under 18 U.S.C. Section 1001 for Lying to Government Agents" it looks like passengers might be better off not answering any TSO's questions and waiting for local police:

"To begin with, you are not qualified to know whether you are innocent of wrongdoing under federal criminal law."

It seems especially true if you are being interrogated about your compliance with TSA's SSI SOPs against metal boxes, $4710, or some arbitrary and ill-defined 'suspiciousness'.

If I am to have no expectation of privacy about my money at a checkpoint, I at least want to see the law that says I don't.

Anonymous said...

TSO Ron said
Absolutely correct. Your rights are fully intact when you pass through a TSA checkpoint.

Not one single person is going to force you to go through that checkpoint. No arm twisting, no gun to the head. Its totally your choice, you can go through or not. Does this make you feel better?


This is no different from "do you want to fly today". My rights seem to vanish once I enter the checkpoint because the SOP's are SSI and they are not rules, they are guidelines. Which can be subject to interpretation. So tell me Ron if I am traveling inside the United States and I have cash in my carry on baggage, How much money is considered suspicious and will warrant my be questioned by a TSO?

Anonymous said...

So, TSORon - you are basically saying that once we enter the checkpoint, we revoke our right of protection under the law and subjugate ourselves to the opinions of the TSA. Basically (back to the never-ending question about how much cash is too much for TSA), if I am flying from LA to DC or NYC, the TSA might not consider 2 or 3 as an "excessive" amount, but if I have a connecting flight in Podunk, OK, anything over fifty bucks makes me "suspicious" if the TSA deems it? I sincerely hope this isn't the case. If it is... all I can say is, I was treated better in the Navy; we at least had the UCMJ setting order around this sort of thing. Nice outfit you guys are running there. I'm booking my train.

RB said...

Privacy is a basic expectation of all citizens, not just the ones that don't work for the government or carry a gun.

West
EOS Blog Team
.............................

Privacy?

Apparently not at a TSA Checkpoint.

Strip Searches, Pat Downs, qustions about how much cash a person has, where a person is going going, medical histories.

I think the TSA Glass House is about to shatter.

Tomas said...

GSOLTSO wrote...
Ummm, the TSO's aren't armed, and there should be the same expectation of right to privacy as any citizen has.

When someone is fired from McDonalds they don't print it in the newspaper, when someone that is on the front end of TSA and has a situation like this happen, they should recieve the same consideration.

Once again I can't comment on the whole situation, but TSA has an investigation ongoing and will take appropriate action. If management were to publish punishments, disciplines, etc they would never have their lawyers out of court. You don't get to selectively choose who has their punishment published, we are ALL due the same restraints and privacy regulations regardless of what YOU want.

If we were to be forced to release the info on what punishments/retraining/disciplinary actions happen here, then the other side of that argument is we should be able to locate you, dig up any and all disciplinary actions taken against you at any point in the past/present.

Privacy is a basic expectation of all citizens, not just the ones that don't work for the government or carry a gun.
(Breaks added to improve readability -- Tom)

West, that I why I really hope this incident makes it into court. That is the only way to get the visibility and answers needed.

Without this making it to a court, and the information becoming public record, it will all just vanish behind the "them or us" line that has been built by the TSA.

A court needs to settle, once and for all, if a TSO (and in turn the LEOs called in by the TSO) can badger, bully, and interrogate a traveler when that traveler has done NOTHING unlawful in any way.

Putting his unlocked cash box he was hand carrying through the TSA's x-ray machine? Perfectly legit.

Asking if he was required BY LAW to answer specific questions? Perfectly legit.

Remember, he willingly provided his ID, responded to all LEGITIMATE questions from his interrogators, and had no "contraband," illegal items or items that are prohibited onboard ant aircraft - he just had more than "pocket change" for most people. (When I lived in NJ/NY I generally had about $2000 in my wallet.)

No matter how this is spun by TSA I fail to see a legitimate reason for a TSO to ask where the money came from, why he had it, or what he was going to do with it.

Likewise I can see no legal requirement for him to provide those answers.

Having money is NOT adequate "probable cause" for an interrogation about the money.

The most I've carried on me in cash on a flight was $14,000 to purchase a car about 300 miles from home. I flew there in order to drive it back.

Luckily, this was before TSA and therefore before being patted down like a criminal to board a plane. Had there been a TSA at the time, it would have been none of there business why I had $14,000 on me, nor would they, absent other probable cause, have any legal right to demand I explain my having that money with me.

I really do hope this ends up in court, just to make it all public record, under oath, and to settle some of the questions that the TSO refuses to answer.

====

Welcome to the EoS staff, West! Your answers in the past before becoming a member of the team were for the most part enlightening and honest. May you continue in the same vein.

Tom (1 of 5-6)

George said...

@TSORon: Absolutely correct. Your rights are fully intact when you pass through a TSA checkpoint..... But please understand, that when you place your bag on the X-ray belt, you are exercising your rights as well. You have chosen to allow the TSA to inspect that bag however the TSA feels it is necessary to do so..... [Y]ou still have the right to refuse to comply. You wont fly, you certainly wont enter the sterile area, but you DO have the right to refuse to comply.

In other words, "Do you want to fly today?" That's what it always comes down to. And that's why we have so little respect for the TSA.

I honestly don't know how to respond to that except to say RUBBISH!.

It's technically true that nobody is forcing us to enter the checkpoint where we "voluntarily abandon" our rights and our privacy. But that's nothing more than a semantic nicety, useful only for TSA apologists who pretend that their policies and procedures fully respect our rights and privacy. The truth is that we too often have no choice of transportation other than flying. We may not have a week and a half to drive across the country, gamble on multiple Amtrak connections, or ride Greyhound. And for many destinations, there is no alternative to flying at all. The swim from California to Hawaii is just too long for most people. So we have no choice but flying if we want to get to many places. And we have no choice but to "voluntarily" submit to the TSA "if we want to fly today."

The TSA is restricting our freedom to travel. That's not necessarily a bad thing. There is a serious threat to aviation, and some measures need to be in place to defend against it. But it becomes a bad thing when the restrictions appear senseless and capriciously enforced, and the TSA insists that there are valid but secret reasons for everything they do. It becomes a bad thing when the restrictions put us at increased risk of theft, and now an increased risk of communicable disease. It becomes a bad thing when the restrictions operate under secret rules that encourage its officers to act arbitrarily, and holds them unaccountable for abuses. And it's particularly a bad thing when independent audits and undercover tests consistently show that we're not getting effective security for what it's costing us in hassle and dollars. I'm not disagreeing with the need for restrictions, but only with the way the TSA implements them.

That said, the fact that we have to "voluntarily" submit to whatever hassles, intrusions, interrogations, and indignity the TSO chooses to inflict "if we want to fly today" certainly does NOT mean we have to quietly accept it outside the checkpoints. That's why we post comments to this blog and elsewhere. That's why we write to our elected representatives in an attempt to correct what we see as wrong and abusive.

TSORon said...

Another anonymous poster uttered:
“So, TSORon - you are basically saying that once we enter the checkpoint, we revoke our right of protection under the law and subjugate ourselves to the opinions of the TSA.”

I just love it when people try and paraphrase, specially when they don’t really know what they are talking about.

No Annon, that’s not what I said. Its called “Implied Consent”. By placing your bag on the X-ray belt and walking through the metal detector, you are giving consent to being searched. You can revoke that consent anytime you like, but there will be a response. What that response is depends on your actions.

“Basically (back to the never-ending question about how much cash is too much for TSA), if I am flying from LA to DC or NYC, the TSA might not consider 2 or 3 as an "excessive" amount, but if I have a connecting flight in Podunk, OK, anything over fifty bucks makes me "suspicious" if the TSA deems it?”

Once again, you err in your statement. You can travel around the country, all week long if you like, with enough cash to choke a prize bull, and the TSA should not be saying anything to you. The moment you get a ticket that has a non-US destination and are taking along more than $10,000 you are going to get questions.

Now, bear in mind that I know of no one that can look at a wad of cash and know exactly how much is in there without investigating. So if you put a big lump of cash in your bag and have a ticket to Singapore, we are going to ask a LEO to investigate. If you have more than $10,000 then I hope you have filled out the proper paperwork, but then again I hand you off to a LEO and they are the ones that get to find out, not me. If you have less than $10,000, well then you don’t need paperwork, but I’m fairly sure that the LEO is going to ask more than a few questions.

“I sincerely hope this isn't the case. If it is... all I can say is, I was treated better in the Navy; we at least had the UCMJ setting order around this sort of thing. Nice outfit you guys are running there. I'm booking my train.”

The TSA is also looking at trains. Sorry to pop your bubble.

TSORon said...

George spasm’d and said:
“In other words, "Do you want to fly today?" That's what it always comes down to. And that's why we have so little respect for the TSA.”

I’m honestly sorry to hear that George, but once again you paraphrase without knowledge of the subject. Kindly research the term “Implied Consent” at your nearest legal library.

”I honestly don't know how to respond to that except to say RUBBISH!.”

Funny, I was thinking the same thing as I read your post.

”It's technically true that nobody is forcing us to enter the checkpoint where we "voluntarily abandon" our rights and our privacy. But that's nothing more than a semantic nicety, useful only for TSA apologists who pretend that their policies and procedures fully respect our rights and privacy.”

Wrong again George. It’s a fact. Nothing more and nothing less. You don’t have to enter the checkpoint. You don’t have to abandon your personal items. It’s a pretty simple equation.

“The truth is that we too often have no choice of transportation other than flying.”

Also wrong George. You have every choice available to anyone anywhere. YOU DON’T HAVE TO FLY. I like driving. I hear that trains are pretty nice as well. And for every mode of transportation you can think of there is also a set of rules, just as you have when you fly. That’s why I was thinking “rubbish” to your statement.

“We may not have a week and a half to drive across the country, gamble on multiple Amtrak connections, or ride Greyhound. And for many destinations, there is no alternative to flying at all. The swim from California to Hawaii is just too long for most people. So we have no choice but flying if we want to get to many places. And we have no choice but to "voluntarily" submit to the TSA "if we want to fly today." “

Also rubbish George. Planning. Thinking things out. In 1900 there were no planes, but people went places anyway. The lack did not stop them, they were just a heck of a lot better at planning than you seem to be.

”The TSA is restricting our freedom to travel.”

The term “rubbish” just is not strong enough for a statement like that. I’d have to go to “balderdash” for that one.

“That's not necessarily a bad thing. There is a serious threat to aviation, and some measures need to be in place to defend against it. But it becomes a bad thing when the restrictions appear senseless and capriciously enforced, and the TSA insists that there are valid but secret reasons for everything they do.”
I’m amazed George. A reasonable statement.

There are valid reasons George, you need only put some thought and maybe a bit of research into it to come to the realization that the TSA policies are not only reasonable but needed.

“It becomes a bad thing when the restrictions put us at increased risk of theft, and now an increased risk of communicable disease.”

OK, now we are back to rubbish again.

“It becomes a bad thing when the restrictions operate under secret rules that encourage its officers to act arbitrarily, and holds them unaccountable for abuses.”

If you feel that you have been abused George, contact the supervisor. Or his supervisor, or his. The possibilities for complaints are endless.

“And it's particularly a bad thing when independent audits and undercover tests consistently show that we're not getting effective security for what it's costing us in hassle and dollars. I'm not disagreeing with the need for restrictions, but only with the way the TSA implements them.”

There are things I’m not happy about either George. My background in aircraft security extends far beyond my time with the TSA, and there are things I would do differently if I could. But the TSA is only 7 years old. It has come far from where it was in the beginning, and it still has a way to go. As with anything it takes time.

”That said, the fact that we have to "voluntarily" submit to whatever hassles, intrusions, interrogations, and indignity the TSO chooses to inflict "if we want to fly today" certainly does NOT mean we have to quietly accept it outside the checkpoints. That's why we post comments to this blog and elsewhere. That's why we write to our elected representatives in an attempt to correct what we see as wrong and abusive.”

The TSA didn’t allow the 9/11 terrorists through the checkpoints on that day George. The TSA didn’t make up most of the rules that they are required to enforce. Thank your congressperson for that. The TSA deals with a hard situation with reason and patience, depending on the entire community associated with the different venues of transportation to work together to prevent another terrorist attack on our country. Its not a perfect system, and never will be, but for now its far better than we had on that day, and its future is bright enough to require “shades”.

Anonymous said...

I hope the TSO's in this situation eventually understand that the man who recorded them and made the recording public is standing up for OUR rights. All of us, including them. Judging by the responses on here by TSO's, it doesn't seem as though they feel it's that big a big deal. The line gov't agents can't cross has to be somewhere, and if people don't defend that line, it moves on us. Even a few standing up and saying "HERE IT IS! This is the line!" can stop it moving. Well, at least slow it down.

We are all people with rights first and foremost. Whatever else any of us is--computer geek, jackass, political campaigner, TSO-- comes after that.

Anonymous said...

To TSORon

No one is forcing you to work for the TSA.

You can just choose another job.

GSOLTSO said...

RB said - Privacy?

Apparently not at a TSA Checkpoint.

That is correct, when you enter the checkpoint you (knowingly or unknowingly based upon what you read/don't read) submit to the screening process. This means that you, your items and even your pet are subject to screening and the required resolutions needed to make certain that the above mentioned items/persons are clear to proceed.

Anonymous said...

TSORon:

Not one single person is going to force you to put on the TSA uniform. No arm twisting, no gun to the head. Its totally your choice, you can go to work or not. Does this make you feel better?

So please, feel free to exercise your rights whenever you like, however you like. Heck, if you think you need some assistance in this area just ask, I'll be glad to help however I can. If you are going to stand on your rights, its best to know what they are.

But please understand, that when you put on that uniform and enter a sterile area you are exercising your rights as well. You have chosen to work for the TSA.
That’s that choice you have made. When you put on the uniform you should give the TSA permission to inspect your person and property, and hold you publicly accountable for your official actions. No one has forced you to put on the uniform and accept the responsibility. No one has shoved you in. When you accept the jobyou are aware that certain things are not going to be allowed, even if you are not aware you are told this is so. And its your right to say “No, I don’t want this job, I don’t want to be held accountable for my actions”. You certainly have these rights. Just as the government has the right to deny you the job and access to the sterile areas of the airport if you refuse. Yes, you have the badge and the uniform but the government should tell you has told you wear that badge and that uniform you must meet certain requirements. You agreed to these when you accept the job, but you still have the right to refuse to comply. You wont work for TSA, you certainly wont get to keep the badge and the uniform, but you DO have the right to refuse to comply.

GSOLTSO said...

Tomas thanks for the welcome! I try to be as enlightened as an old Army knuckledragger can be...

This particular situation was wrong in many ways, the organization has denounced the actions of the TSO and they are doing an investigation. That is the correct response to this and I applaud them for that.

The passenger always has the right to refuse to respond to any questions past identifying themselves. There is never a question of that, it is every single persons right to remain silent.

On the other hand if a TSO has a situation that has to be resolved based on a threat/questionable item/etc and the passenger is non-communicative then the situation will naturally escalate because the TSO is unable to resolve the situation without it.

This was a bad situation all around and will be handled, but I still don't agree with the publishing punishments. I understand that the TSO is in a position of authority and that generates being held to a higher standard, but that doesn't mean that we should publish all of the punishments. We are not a law enforcement organization, we are a security organization and there is a big difference. Law enforcement have the ability to detain and arrest, we have the ability to control access.

TSO Tom said...

Anonymous said...
So $4700 is now the amount that will get you investigated? I thought it was $10,000. How much money am I allowed to carry before I have to fear an investigation?

Also, will the public be told the result of the investigation and any actions taken against the TSAs in question, or will it be quietly handled in the background and no punishment will ever be meted out, or acknowledged to the general public?
***********************************
In my experience as a TSO, management takes this type of incident very seriously and whether or not the public is informed of the outcome, the TSO's in question will likely face some type of discipline, whether a letter of reprimand, suspension or removal from Federal service, it really depends on the history of those involved and whether there have been other incidents in the past with the same employees.

Matt said...

GSOLTSO wrote...

When someone is fired from McDonalds they don't print it in the newspaper, when someone that is on the front end of TSA and has a situation like this happen, they should recieve the same consideration.


Um, it /could/ be published in the newspaper but it's just not newsworthy. There is nothing that prohibits McDonalds from releasing the names of disciplined employees.

When someone is on the public dole, their employment situation should be EVERYONE's business. We're paying for it.

Finally, there is no "right" to "privacy".

TSORon said...

Wow, seems that there are a few people out there that do not like my personal posting style. Being an experienced Usenet poster this is nothing new to me. If you are unable to deal with the facts then please feel free to ignore every post I make from now on. I’ll never sugar coat things for you, but I will provide the facts and a legitimate TSO’s perspective on the questions/comments made here.

If that is to much for you to deal with, then may I suggest a puppy? I have absolutely no contempt for the flying public, they have places to go and people to see. They have a legitimate need to fly, and I am here to make sure that they get the chance to survive the experience. I can’t say that for some of the posters here. I am not a TSO to coddle a few malcontent’s who refuse to think for themselves. I do not post here because I want to answer questions from those who make an active choice to forgo common sense and insist on rights that they do not have. I post here because I can answer legitimate questions, give a different perspective, and generally get a sense of the issues the flying public has with TSA’s policies or procedures.

Now, with that being said, I have a question. How many of you have researched the legal term “Implied Consent”? RB? George? Gel-Pak? Implied Consent directly affects you each and every time you go through a checkpoint, knowing the boundaries might be a good idea.

Anonymous said...

TSO West sez:
"If we were to be forced to release the info on what punishments/retraining/disciplinary actions happen here, then the other side of that argument is we should be able to locate you, dig up any and all disciplinary actions taken against you at any point in the past/present."

Then TSORon pipes in:
"But please understand, that when you place your bag on the X-ray belt, you are exercising your rights as well. You have chosen to allow the TSA to inspect that bag however the TSA feels it is necessary to do so."

You two forgot one big distinction between your average McDonalds burger flipper and a TSO (easy to mix them up, some might say, but let's not go there....)

Unlike the burger flipper, you have the awesome power of the United States Federal government behind you, your opinions (often, as seen on this board, mistaken about simple matters such as whether it is illegal to carry on your person $10,000.01 in cash), your interpretations or your whims.

That's why all agents of the United States Federal government operate under restrictions much more onerous than those suffered by burger flippers.

No, your lame agency does NOT have the RIGHT to locate me, dig up any disciplinary actions taken against me or anything of the sort. The United States Federal government has too much awesome power to allow that kind of witch hunt power. For that reason there are laws that restrict what you can and cannot do.

Moreover, part of those laws (again, not something the burger flipper has to face) require full public disclosure of your actions, because the people must know what their government is doing with all that awesome power. Did you participate in the illegal detention of a citizen? Expect to read about it in the paper, because when you did it, the United States Federal government did it, and people have a right to know about that.

Think you can inspect that bag however you feel it is necessary to do so. No way, Jose. Your agency has the right to perform a warrantless search of that bag for the purpose of keeping dangerous items that might threaten the safety of other travelers. That's it. As for the rest of it, mind your own damn business.

IMHO, just stating these unacceptable views makes me suspect that you two are not fit to be agents of the United States Federal government, and I would hope you would receive a lot more training, pronto, or be invited to find a job in the private sector.

Anonymous said...

ITS IMPORTANT TO KNOW THAT IT WAS ONE TSA OFFICER AND THE REST WERE LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS. IT IS NOT CLEAR WHO THE LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS AND WHO IS THE TSA OFFICER. SO TO STRICTLY SAY IT WAS ALL TSA FAULT IS JUST WRONG, FROM MY UNDERSTANDING IT WAS LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS NOT TSA THAT THREATEND TO BRING HIM TO JAIL. ALSO IT WAS LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS THAT CARRY AND ARE EQUIPED WITH HANDCUFFS. SO THE MEDIA NEEDS TO GET THE FACTS STRAIGHT. THE MAIN PROBLEM WAS THE LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS NOT THE TSA

Anonymous said...

... THE MAIN PROBLEM WAS THE LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS NOT THE TSA
----------------
What I, and many others, say the problem is, is with the TSO. Becuase there doesn't seem to be any justification (probable cause) for the LEOs to be brought into the picture. In the United States of America, not answering questions is not grounds for probable cause.

I guess the question (which has been asked many times here) is: Are we required to answer ANY AND ALL questions asked by a TSO at a checkpoint?

Sandra said...

"To begin with, you are not qualified to know whether you are innocent of wrongdoing under federal criminal law."

And yet one cannot claim ignorance of the law as a defense.

Wow - talk about a no-win situation, but so typical of the TSA.

Anonymous said...

TSORon said:

"... but I will provide the facts and a legitimate TSO’s perspective on the questions/comments made here..."

Like the "fact" you repeatedly posted that it was illegal to carry $10,000 in cash out of the country?

You were wrong on that "fact", so why should we trust anything you say?

Anonymous said...

TSORon said:

"I’ll never sugar coat things for you, but I will provide the facts and a legitimate TSO’s perspective on the questions/comments made here."


You mean facts like you provided below?



" RB, it is against the law to take $10,000 or more in cash out of the country. Has been for a long time.

You can disagree with my other statement as much as you like, the fact is that I am correct."


Fact is you were incorrect about the facts.

You can try and sugarcoat it anyway you like, but that is a fact.

RB said...

If TSORon is representative of the typical TSO then TSA has much bigger problems than I thought possible.

RB said...

Anonymous said...
ITS IMPORTANT TO KNOW THAT IT WAS ONE TSA OFFICER AND THE REST WERE LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS. IT IS NOT CLEAR WHO THE LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS AND WHO IS THE TSA OFFICER. SO TO STRICTLY SAY IT WAS ALL TSA FAULT IS JUST WRONG, FROM MY UNDERSTANDING IT WAS LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS NOT TSA THAT THREATEND TO BRING HIM TO JAIL. ALSO IT WAS LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS THAT CARRY AND ARE EQUIPED WITH HANDCUFFS. SO THE MEDIA NEEDS TO GET THE FACTS STRAIGHT. THE MAIN PROBLEM WAS THE LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS NOT THE TSA

April 11, 2009 6:37 PM
......................
No, the main problem is some TSO getting worked up over a person with a little bit of money that could not jeapordize the aircraft he was going to board.

The TSA's superbly trained TSO is at the root of this problem.

It is another clear demonstration that TSA is a failed agency.

Matt said...

TSORon Said: "If you have less than $10,000, well then you don’t need paperwork, but I’m fairly sure that the LEO is going to ask more than a few questions."

And that is precisely the problem. He's not entitled to answers to his questions and shouldn't even be asking them. Further, he shouldn't be treating someone who refuses to answer as a ciminal - as though refusal to answer the question is grounds for suspicion.

Anonymous said...

TSORon said: Implied Consent directly affects you each and every time you go through a checkpoint, knowing the boundaries might be a good idea.


Um, Ron, I agree that knowing boundaries is the issue here, but it's the TSA that went beyond them.

This is about an object carried by a passenger that was indisputably (a) legal and (b) harmless.

The TSA does not get to use "implied consent" to justify the unconstitutional seizure and arrest of this passenger and his property.

Passengers' implied consent extends to reasonable safety-related searching of their property and persons, nothing more.

Anonymous said...

I dont know about anyone else, but I get a kick out of TSORON. Most of you need a 3.4 oz syringe of Reality injected in your brains. Keep it up TSORON, I like to see these "Keyboard Warriors" ask answered questions repeatedly. Its fun to see when they are in the wrong.

Now as far as the matter at hand goes... It was VERY wrong of the TSO to interrogate this passenger. I have no doubt that this TSO takes his job very serious and is good at what he does, but he did overstep his bountries. TSO's should take from this a new perspective of what is expected from the public regarding customer service.

I look forward to more of TSORONs comments here. :)

Jim Huggins said...

West writes:

If we were to be forced to release the info on what punishments/retraining/disciplinary actions happen here, then the other side of that argument is we should be able to locate you, dig up any and all disciplinary actions taken against you at any point in the past/present.

One could argue that this is already occurring, with the advent of SecureFlight and the infamous
no-fly list. Passengers are evaluated every day against their past actions, in order to determine whether or not they should be permitted to fly. And, since we don't have any way to know how the no-fly list is built, there's no way to know how intrusive those criteria are.

Privacy is a basic expectation of all citizens, not just the ones that don't work for the government or carry a gun.

Personally, I'm not asking for the TSO's name. (To the best of my knowledge, that information has not been made public.) How would it be a violation of privacy to announce the administration actions (if any) taken against this TSO, if his name is not made public?

If it is, then TSA is guilty of much the same violations of privacy in all of its little snippets on the main TSA website which proudly announce when a TSO discovers a suspicious item and refers it/them to law enforcement.

what ever said...

If a police officer pulled a car over with large amounts of cash or white powder, you better believe they are going to investigate it - and that's why TSA calls the police for these things. How do you think a lot of the cash terrorists use gets into the US. It doesn't all go through banks – that’s traceable... So, would you rather people be questioned briefly (if there's nothing to hide, why not cooperate) or that a terrorist use our airports to transfer their finances? What about the sick people with the kiddie porn - okay to let them bring their money home in their wallet too - after selling their contraband? It may not be TSA's "job" to enforce these issues, but I personally think it's EVERYONE'S job to keep drugs, terroritst and kiddie porn off our streets (along with anything I left out) and to report it!!! Answer the questions, and then go on about your day and know that your 5 minutes of inconvenience could be the difference between getting another drug dealer, terrorist or kiddie porngrapher off the streets of this great country. Not too much to ask, is it really? If you listen to the recording you HAVE to wonder why the guy was recording it in the first place – Because he KNEW he was going to provoke TSA, and unfortunately he did just that.
I agree that the TSO’s cursing was way out of line, but the actions of one are not the actions of all. To wish all of TSA to lose their jobs ("This is only one of the reasons the public would like to fire every single one of you. You are arrogant, rude, mean. " comments etc.) is just stupid and childish. These TSO's do not come to your place of employment, belittle you, argue with you, set you up on recorders, defy and argue with the procedures just to provoke you and wish for you to lose your job - stop doing it to them!!!

what ever said...

Oh, I almost forgot. Amber alerts are none of TSA's business, so they should probably just let an abducted child get on a plane with someone the child shouldn't be with - because afer all, TSA should just stick to security and not report things that aren't their business. (being sarcastic)

Anonymous said...

Basically people large amounts of cash can be used and have been used in the past to fund terrorism...

Anonymous said...

Anonymous @ "I guess the question (which has been asked many times here) is: Are we required to answer ANY AND ALL questions asked by a TSO at a checkpoint?"

Just apply Bob's weasel-word rule: "As a general rule, passengers are required to cooperate with the screening process. Cooperation may involve answering questions about their property, including why they are carrying a large sum of cash. A passenger who refuses to answer questions may be referred to appropriate authorities for further inquiry."

...and you get the weasely TSA answer: If you want to fly in the next hour or two, yes, you are required to answer the questions.

Anonymous said...

TSORon obfuscates:

"No Annon, that’s not what I said. Its called “Implied Consent”. By placing your bag on the X-ray belt and walking through the metal detector, you are giving consent to being searched. You can revoke that consent anytime you like, but there will be a response. What that response is depends on your actions. "

I never questioned the implied consent of having my bag searched for explosives, chemicals, or anything else that might cause a hazard to the plane or it's occupants. I question the TSA looking at a perfectly legal amount of cash that to some people wouldn't be excessive at all being classified as "suspicious". It's obvious to me that the LEO's were on a fishing expedition (legalese for 'trying to get someone to admit to a crime when there is no evidence of a crime'), but it was the TSA that determined that "suspiciousness". I would assume that there is a hard, fast amount that the TSA has set for being cash amounts being "suspicious". Either that, or it's left up to the individual screener - and that's where the problem lies.

"Once again, you err in your statement. You can travel around the country, all week long if you like, with enough cash to choke a prize bull, and the TSA should not be saying anything to you. The moment you get a ticket that has a non-US destination and are taking along more than $10,000 you are going to get questions."

So, the official word from TSA is there is no limit that will get "special treatment" from TSA, and the actions of the TSO were rogue. Can you provide a link to a statement or policy from TSA that states this? Thanks.

"Now, bear in mind that I know of no one that can look at a wad of cash and know exactly how much is in there without investigating. So if you put a big lump of cash in your bag and have a ticket to Singapore, we are going to ask a LEO to investigate. If you have more than $10,000 then I hope you have filled out the proper paperwork, but then again I hand you off to a LEO and they are the ones that get to find out, not me. If you have less than $10,000, well then you don’t need paperwork, but I’m fairly sure that the LEO is going to ask more than a few questions."

Oh - so the official word from TSA is now "Carry as much as you want, but if I can't count it quickly - we're calling the police". In what way, again, does a large amount of cash threaten air travel? This guy wasn't travelling to Singapore - he was travelling domestically from St. Louis to DC. He could have had $50,000 in banded bundles of $20's and wouldn't have violated any law (not nearly the same as opening that metal box and finding a kilo of coke).

The problem here, TSORon, is that the TSA oversteps it's authority. I think that is self-evident both by the actions in St. Louis and by the comments here. Just because you can get away with it most of the time doesn't make the abuse any less abusive. As posted above - nobody is forcing you to do this job; you do it of your own free will. Either you agree that TSA oversteps, and you are - by default - allowing it to happen, or you think this sort of behaviour is acceptable and within the TSA's realm of authority, in which case I encourage you to read The Aviation and Transportation Security Act - the piece of legislation that allows you guys to exist. All you can do is liaise with intelligence and law enforcement on threats to air safety - not be the ears and ears of intelligence and law enforement for all things "suspicious". All of my research shows that the TSA only has the authority to act on "suspicion" with flights in and out of the country - not domestic flights.

"The TSA is also looking at trains. Sorry to pop your bubble."

Why.. you almost appear gleeful at that prospect. At that point, I just start driving. Or is the TSA planning on driver checkpoints too?

Anonymous said...

The TSA/LEO distinction is a canard (and I don't mean a large yellow bird that quacks). But I've seen it happen too many times when I travel - TSA officers know what their limitations are and follow them to the letter. But show any strength or resolve in asserting your rights and the TSA agent is all too quick to motion to the omnipresent LEO standing nearby to intervene. Then it quickly escalates into a law enforcement matter. The TSA sanctimoniously washes their hands of the matter (Easter brought the Pontius Pilate image to mind) and the LEO then detains you and forces you to divulge whatever information you initially had no obligation to provide. Either way, TSA "has ways of making you talk."

Tony Tone Deaf said...

Everyone missed the point. The money was not the reason why the person was detained. He had a mysteriouse metal box containing a mass which could not be penetrated by the xray. The person was offered a private screening because he had a large amount of cash in the box with whatever else was there. That was why he was detained. Everything thing else happened because the customer and the screener were not able to communicate.
Communication with the general public has always been a weakness in most government agencies. It has and never will be illegal to travel with cash. However if something comes through the xray that a screener can not identify it is that persons job to find out if it presents a danger. Period end of story.

Joe said...

Why were cops called when the guy only had $4700? What was the security threat? What does it say in your policy about this? What is being done internally to stop this nonsense from happening again?

Anonymous said...

Tone Deaf Tony:

Exactly. He was detained once the box was opened and cash was found. Perfectly legal cash mixed in with some bumper stickers and some checks. No threat to air safety at all. The TSO thought that the contents were "suspicious" and detained him while getting the police. Either the cash or the bumper stickers trigged the suspicion; the metal box stopped being suspicious once it was opened. Remember - these guys get cash rewards for finding criminals (not to be confused with terrorists), so it's in thier best interest to call "Suspicious!" whenever they feel they can get away with it. That's the problem.

Anonymous said...

TSO Ron, what is the name and phone number of your supervisor?

Mr. Gel-pack said...

TSORon @ "Now, with that being said, I have a question. How many of you have researched the legal term “Implied Consent”? RB? George? Gel-Pak? Implied Consent directly affects you each and every time you go through a checkpoint, knowing the boundaries might be a good idea."

By placing my bag on your x-ray, I'm implying consent to search for weapons, explosives, and the other things on your prohibited items list, I'm not consenting to have you grubbing through my cash and quizzing me about it.

One very important boundary when dealing with federal agents as compared with McDonalds workers is that saying anything wrong to a federal agent can land you in jail, while lying to a fast food cashier about whether you have a smaller bill in your pocket isn't a crime.

Who the heck is TSA? Are they law enforcement? Are TSOs federal agents? Can TSOs interrogate you? Are passengers required, as Bob stated in his general rule, to cooperate by answering TSA's questions about their property?

We should always remember that TSA is federal, and we "are not qualified to know whether you are innocent of wrongdoing under federal criminal law," especially since TSA's rules are SSI and arbitrary.

GSOLTSO said...

Anon said - IMHO, just stating these unacceptable views makes me suspect that you two are not fit to be agents of the United States Federal government, and I would hope you would receive a lot more training, pronto, or be invited to find a job in the private sector.

That is the good thing about your humble opinion, you are entitled to it. I have the opinion that there should be the normal expectation of privacy for all parties involved. I understand that I work for the Federal Government, and that I am held to a different standard. I also understand that the legal/justice system here does not change because you work for the Feds. We are entitled to the same rights to trial, the system still has the same burden of proof against us as it would you. Just because this TSO works at a checkpoint for TSA doesn't mean that you get to change the rules for him because it sounded bad - he is entitled to the same process as you would be.

Matt said...

@Tony Tone Deaf:

He WAS detained because of the money or more specifically, because he wouldn't answer TSAs unlawful questions about it. THAT is the point.

Of course they are entitled to look in the box: Just long enough to ensure it contains no threat.

"Period end of story"

TSORon said...

Anonymous said...
“TSORon obfuscates:”
Wow, clear factual statements are obfuscation. Interesting. Are you an Area 51 buff? Flying Saucers? Bigfoot? All of those would be the next logical step in your statement.

“I never questioned the implied consent of having my bag searched for explosives, chemicals, or anything else that might cause a hazard to the plane or it's occupants.”

So, if we see kiddie porn in your bag we should say nothing? And while we are at it, what level of expertise do you have in aircraft security / safety to determine those things that may or may not be harmful to an aircraft or its passengers? Personally, I and most others would be far more likely to trust the government in this area rather than some anonymous poster to a blog.

“So, the official word from TSA”

Never said I speak for the TSA. I am not a blog team member. By making that assumption you bring to mind and old saying…

As I said initially, much earlier in this thread, I have serious issues with how the TSO acted in this incident. He was wrong in what he said. As a Federal Officer he had a duty to report what he thought was possible illegal activity to Law Enforcement (every citizen has that duty IMO), but the way he went about it disgraced not only himself and his airport, but the TSA as a whole. He did not overstep his authority in any way, nor that of the TSA, only the way he interacted with the passenger.

Another opinion is that this passenger went to the checkpoint expecting to be confronted about his cash, and that he was looking to make an issue out of it. He was wanting a problem.

Tomas said...

what ever wrote...If a police officer pulled a car over with large amounts of cash or white powder, you better believe they are going to investigate it - and that's why TSA calls the police for these things. How do you think a lot of the cash terrorists use gets into the US. It doesn't all go through banks – that’s traceable... So, would you rather people be questioned briefly (if there's nothing to hide, why not cooperate) or that a terrorist use our airports to transfer their finances?________________

The argument of large amounts of cash being transported through airports to support terrorists is simply a straw dog.

For the very, very few instances where one can actually SHOW that a large sum of cash going through an airport is directly in support of terrorism (can you show ANY?) there are quite literally MILLIONS of quite legitimate uses for and reasons to carry what you might consider large amounts of cash.

Those other uses are not of themselves suspicious, and there is no legal requirement that questions about any amount of cash traveling within the United States be answered absent OTHER enunciable suspicions or probable cause.

Without a specific reason that can be stated and is sufficient to provide probable cause ("he has a lot of money," "he wouldn't answer all my questions," or "he just didn't look right" are not sufficient), there is no valid legal reason to detain a traveler who has presented valid ID and boarding pass - at least not based on having any amount of cash not artfully concealed.

Specifically, the traveller in St. Louis had a small metal cashbox in his carry-on and that cashbox was legitimately sent through the x-ray machine per TSA's instruction. That the TSA x-ray can't adequately see through the small metal cash box is expected.

Opening the small, unlocked metal cashbox and finding cash of all things in it, and nothing of any danger to flight, SHOULD have been the end of the "problem" unless the TSO needed to remove the cash because it might have obscured other contents.

If that were the case, a private room would have been appropriate so as not to flash the travelers cash in the presence of the rest of the passengers, but once the contents of the unlocked metal cashbox had been cleared of hazards, that should have been the end.

There was no reason, and no legal authorization, for the TSO or LTSO or whatever to demand information about where the money came from, what it was to be used for, or why it was in the possession of the traveler.

THAT is the point the TSA overstepped it's bounds.

Calling in the LEOs was a further uncalled for imposition on the traveller.

On the recording the TSA representative can be clearly heard explaining to law enforcement that not getting answers to those questions were his entire reason for having law enforcement question and detain the traveler, and for not allowing him through "his checkpoint."

That needs to be addressed and corrected system wide.

Those who do not understand that do not understand a country based on rule of law.

Tom (1 of 5-6)

Anonymous said...

TSORon says:

So, if we see kiddie porn in your bag we should say nothing? And while we are at it, what level of expertise do you have in aircraft security / safety to determine those things that may or may not be harmful to an aircraft or its passengers? Personally, I and most others would be far more likely to trust the government in this area rather than some anonymous poster to a blog.So is TSA going to begin searching hard drives, thumb drives, CDs and DVDs as well?

Anonymous said...

GSOLTSO said...

"... he is entitled to the same process as you would be..."

So you are saying the TSA ex-judicial fines are illegal?

Anonymous said...

"By placing my bag on your x-ray, I'm implying consent to search for weapons, explosives, and the other things on your prohibited items list, I'm not consenting to have you grubbing through my cash and quizzing me about it."

That alone tells me you do not understand what "Implied Consent" is. Better brush up on it, as what YOU are implying is not what TSA is implying. And I think they would have a leg up in court over you.

Unless you had a good lawyer...

Anonymous said...

"TSO Ron, what is the name and phone number of your supervisor?"

Why? You don't like Ron's answers? You trying to intimidate him? Stop asking, or better yet, cough up your phone number first so Ron can call you.

Seriously, Bob, why post stuff like this?

Anonymous said...

Tomas said:

For the very, very few instances where one can actually SHOW that a large sum of cash going through an airport is directly in support of terrorism (can you show ANY?) there are quite literally MILLIONS of quite legitimate uses for and reasons to carry what you might consider large amounts of cash.If a person wants to transfer money nearly instantaneously then all they have to do is to contact a trusted money changer, give them the money, make a phone call to verify the money transfer and it is done. This is a very common way of moving funds throughout the middle east. $4700 in cash is pretty small and shouldn't have raised much if any alarms.

Ronnie said...

Look out TSO Ron, looks like Anon is after you now too. LOL

Ronnie TSO DEN

Anonymous said...

As a general rule, passengers are required to cooperate with the screening process. Cooperation may involve answering questions about their property, including why they are carrying a large sum of cash.

Still didn't answer the original question. Do you legally have to answer?

Anonymous said...

Hi
What are the rules for plants and flowers from a security perspective?

Can I carry a flowering orchid plant in a 7" pot on board?

What about a bouquet of flowers packed by a florist as a gift?

GSOLTSO said...

Anon said - So you are saying the TSA ex-judicial fines are illegal?

I said nothing of the sort, the fines are a part of the system in place by Federal regulations. They are levied based on items carried or specific behaviors that are demonstrably disruptive like carrying a firearm. This is not an area that I have a great deal of education on as the regulatory section of TSA levies and enforces those fines.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous @ "That alone tells me you do not understand what "Implied Consent" is. Better brush up on it, as what YOU are implying is not what TSA is implying. And I think they would have a leg up in court over you."

From USA vs Aukai: "Although the constitutionality of airport screening searches is not dependent on consent, the scope of such searches is not limitless. A particular airport security screening search is constitutionally reasonable provided that it "is no more extensive nor intensive than necessary, in the light of current technology, to detect the presence of weapons or explosives [ ] [and] that it is confined in good faith to that purpose."


So, TSA feels that the an interrogation about the reasons a person might be carrying $4700 isn't any more extensive or intensive than necessary to detect the presence of weapons or explosives and is confined in good faith to that purpose.

I disagree. TSA could have flipped through the stack without counting it and thoroughly determined that the stack was not a weapon or explosive. This search doesn't meet the first two tests of United States V. Davis.

Aukai also says the requirement for consent for isn't reasonable in a post-9/11 world, but you still have to limit the search to dangerous items.

If you want to defend this search interrogation, and the TSO's 'after-the-fact "suspicion" show me the law that TSA uses to call $4710 a weapon.

TSORon said...

Another Anonymous poster quibbled:
“So is TSA going to begin searching hard drives, thumb drives, CDs and DVDs as well?”

Next time you are near a legal library look up the “In plain sight” rules. Rules of evidence would also be helpful. IOW, if during a search we see or discover something we believe to be a violation of the law, we have a duty to investigate it or bring it to the attention of a Law Enforcement Officer. Black letter law.

Bob said...

TSORon said... Another Anonymous poster quibbled: “So is TSA going to begin searching hard drives, thumb drives, CDs and DVDs as well?”Next time you are near a legal library look up the “In plain sight” rules. Rules of evidence would also be helpful. IOW, if during a search we see or discover something we believe to be a violation of the law, we have a duty to investigate it or bring it to the attention of a Law Enforcement Officer. Black letter law. April 20, 2009 3:18 PM

Ron, you're leaving out the rest of the story...

We may be able to examine the actual hardware, but we do not examine the contents/files.

Bob

EoS Blog Team

Matt said...

TSORon said: >>>Another opinion is that this passenger went to the checkpoint expecting to be confronted about his cash, and that he was looking to make an issue out of it. He was wanting a problem.<<<


Even if the kid went there completely expecting the situation to unfold as it did, that only undermines TSA's position. If citizens are /expecting/ TSOs to do stuff like this when they assert their rights, what does that say?

It should NEVER be defense for thuggish behavior that the victim knew, expected or even provoked (within his legal rights) the situation. NEVER.

There was a recent case where a cop in the midwest was caught on tape being VERY abusive to a kid - threatening to make up charges, etc. The kid videotaped the whole thing. Amazingly, some people defended the cop on the basis that the kid had 'entrapped' him. The kid only asserted his rights, nothing more. Somehow the fact that the kid may have expected thuggishness (and thus taped it) was supposed to excuse the bad behavior by the cop. People that do this are doing the public a service! (The cop got fired)

Anonymous said...

The keystone security cops, whre EVERYONE is a suspect, and they cannot even tell us by what law anyone is required to answer their detaining interrogations.
It's simple enough, you have to fly to carry on with your life, so they can do whatever they claim is their general rule, and you have no way to fight it.
Not even the bigshot Bob can give a straight answer, because either he won't or he doesn't have one.
The rule comes down to whatever they decide it is, and whatever they do in their secret room where noone but they can watch.
You're all suspects, the minute you set foot on their federalized security property, the "airport" you are THEIR SUSPECT, and you can be searched, your bathroom "liquid like" personal supplies stolen and never returned, you can be interrogated, threatened with the DEA, the police can cuff you and haul you off, and they will and do, for whatever "suspicion" they claim is "reasonable".
They also have a room where they send in a same sex agent to feel you up all over - because you're a potential terrorist, and they "have a right to feel you up all over".
My advice is don't let them do it, NONE OF YOU SHOULD - there should be a mass rebellion where you all overwhelm and demand it all STOP.
They have a no fly list that is ever increasing, that is good enough for them to use, and it's ALL that should ever be used, and this everyone is a potential terrorist fascist policy is as bad as it gets, as bad as it has ever gotten.
You're all their suspect, and they pick you off, whomever they choose, for their insane stealing and feeling.
It's insane and out of control, and going on anyway - many of you must fly to maintain your lives, your businesses, your livelihood, your families, so you are in a position of absolute submission. They know it, and abuse that, and will go as far as they want in continuing that endless abuse of your Constitutional and Amendment rights, because they CAN.
They have every excuse in the book. Remember, you are ALL SUSPECTED TERRORISTS - that is the rule they play by. They have declared it. They already have their "reasonable suspicion" declared outright, and that reason is "it could be any of you, and you might not even know it" ( their stance that something could be unknowingly put into your carry on).
You've got a fascist state already at the airports, you're all suspects with no recourse other than to absolutely comply. Keep your mouth working for them, keep your attitude perfect or they will take it up a level and really hassle you and make it expensive and very inconvenient and throw you into custody, cuff you, interrogate you and shove into the courts after some jail time.
That's how it works people, that IS WHAT IS GOING ON.
Go ahead and say how I characterize it is ridiculous, but you just wait and see, raise your objections and voice to them and see what happens, see if I'm not right. Of course, you aren't "stupid enough" to do that.
I rest my case.

GSOLTSO said...

Wow, Anon! That was a pretty good rant there, but a couple of points - We are not Keystone security cops, just security, everyone knows we are not cops (even we know that, contrary to popular opinion!).

Uhhh, except for the people the LEO's catch and prosecute, we don't steal anything (as posted before, ANYONE caught stealing should be prosecuted, no exceptions).

Treat everyone the same is the rule as of this point. To do something else would be profiling, and that is illegal.

I don't expect you to not voice disapproval of the process, any situation you find yourself in at the checkpoint or even the government in general. You are welcome to disagree with us on any point you choose - that being said, it doesn't change what rules and regs we have to follow. I have had people stand and argue over a half full soda (four days in a row... the SAME passenger...). I do not like having to tell someone the same things over and over, but it is what SOP states we are to do.

West
EOS Blog Team

Anonymous said...

Hey you TSA boosters, drop the porn and soda red herrings and get back to the money question: Why is $4710 on a domestic flight "something we believe to be a violation of the law, we have a duty to investigate it or bring it to the attention of a Law Enforcement Officer."

From the original post, it seems that the only think inappropriate in the situation is "the tone and language used by the TSA employee."

Anonymous said...

The TSA has gone to great lengths recently to have their screeners emulate Law Enforcement Officers since their inception. Examples include their new uniforms that try to duplicate most police uniforms, complete with shiny new tin badges. The recent re-designation of their screeners as TSO's (Officers)..... all to present the illusion of Law Enforcement Officers. The fact is, they do not even have the legal authority to detain passengers - even if said passengers are caught with illegal / prohibited contraband. Thus, the TSA mandated requirement for the presence of airport LEO's or airport sponsor law enforcement agencies at all checkpoints during screening operations.

Believe it or not, this isn’t even the worst part of what the DHS/TSA is doing to American Aviation. On the public – General Aviation side they are taking away civil liberties at a scary rate. Mandating new “security requirements” that will impact aviation in this country like never before. The DHS/TSA WILL be the death of American Aviation as we know it… all in the name of National Security.

Anonymous said...

This is too scary for me to comment rationally. Why would the TSA be interested in how much money travelers have?? There was a Supreme Court Ruling back in June of 2008 written by Justice Clarence Thomas for someone who had $81,000 under the floorboard of a car heading towards Mexico, as follows: "We agree with (Cuellar) that merely hiding funds during transportation is not sufficient to violate the (money laundering) statute, even if substantial efforts have been expanded to conceal the money."

These TSA guys were way off base and should have just notified the passenger's destination airport officials and let real Law Enforcement officials handle this!!

Anonymous said...

Aren't TSA officers required to take an oath if they are in a law enforcement capacity. Doesn't part of that oath include the constitution. Isn't there this pesky little amendment known as the 5th amendment. I know, the TSA was rushed into existence after 9/11 and you folk may not may not have had a chance to cover that in your intense training, however I can't forget the TSA ID checker who didn't recognize a military ID in Sacramento's SMF two years ago. Sounds to me like there is a lot missing in their training.

Phil said...

Someone anonymously wrote:

"Aren't TSA officers required to take an oath if they are in a law enforcement capacity."TSA "officers" are not law enforcement officers. The title is intended to fool people like this person into thinking they have more authority than they do. Unfortunately, this seems to be working.

--
Phil
Add your own questions at TSAFAQ.net

Anonymous said...

Maybe TSA should start to act like a real federal security agency, and not the customer service wing for the airlines and airports.

Anonymous said...

Please enlighten us how you can accord your assertion that the TSA can exceed the scope of the administrative search with US Supreme Court 4th-Amendment law. The Court has been clear that the subjective intent of law enforcement should not be dispositive of whether the officer had a reasonable basis for probable cause. How can the act of carrying $4700 in cash be objectively considered a reasonable basis for probable cause that a crime has been committed? In this case, the traveler's seizure by the TSA seems objectively unreasonable.

Anonymous said...

The ACLU has filed suit, rightfully so, claiming TSA has violated this man's constitutional rights concerning unreasonable search and seizure. http://www.aclu.org/pdfs/safefree/bierfeldtvnapolitano_complaint.pdf

Tomas said...

Anonymous wrote...
The ACLU has filed suit, rightfully so, claiming TSA has violated this man's constitutional rights concerning unreasonable search and seizure. www.aclu.org



There was also a brief interview and background piece on CNN this afternoon about this.

I'm glad to see this being brought to court in this particular way in order to clarify the powers that TSA/DHS have assumed for themselves.

As to Mr. Bierfeldt's particular experience, the TSA's response upon opening the container with cash and checks in it SHOULD have been to assure that no weapons or explosives were also in it, to close the container, and to wish him a good day as he proceeded to his plane.

What I especially like about this action by the ACLU is that it primarily a request for declaratory and injunctive relief (defining the legal limits that TSA should not step beyond), rather than simply pursuing some sort of punishment for this incident.

By doing it this way it appears they are attempting to set clear limits for ALL of us.

I also enjoyed seeing the quote from this blog (Page 9, Item 30) in their complaint.

Tom

Anonymous said...

TSA staff is often uniformed and they are NOT law enforcement officers who know the law, much less their own regulations. At LAS, I was told I could not bring a small souvenier lighter on board. I went to an airport store that sold these lighters and a clerk accompanied me back to the checkpoint to tell them it was not prohibited and they apologized for their mistake when confronted with someone who knew the regs. (The clerk said the TSA wanted the $20 casino logo lighter for themselves and I believe it.)

Here is the CNN report of the incident..

http://www.cnn.com/2009/US/06/20/tsa.lawsuit/index.html

Richard said...

"Movements of large amounts of cash through the checkpoint may be investigated by law enforcement authorities if criminal activity is suspected."

Well, since we are free citizens and Congress has passed no law against carrying cash while traveling within the United States, what created the suspicion of a crime justifying the investigation of Mr. Bierfeldt in this case? I listened to the tape, and there was no reference to any evidence that might have created such a suspicion. Presumably the mere possession of American currency by an American in America in any amount freely decided by the American does not and cannot in itself imply criminality.

TSA's mission statement informs the public that the TSA "protects the Nation’s transportation systems to ensure freedom of movement for people and commerce." Yet, without any finding the slightest evidence that Mr. Bierfeldt threatened aviation or was engaged in other crime, his "freedom of movement" was impeded.

"Freedom of movement" starts with freedom, including being free from unreasonable questioning by the Federal government. Any Federal form we are asked to complete must be approved by OMB to verify its inquiries are authorized by law. Yet apparently TSA staff, including the statement posted by "Bob" here, cannot provide the specific legal authority for the type of questioning that took place here. A citizen is not "acting like a child" to question such an inquiry and seek to preserve his privacy.

Anonymous said...

Why are TSA personnel not required to wear name badges with employee numbers, like police officers?

It would be a good way to identify those who behave inappropriately, and it would certainly improve the attitude of certain others.

The TSA screening process should not feel like a jail where the travellers are convicts and the TSA employees are our jailers.

But that is PRECISELY the mindset that TSA employees exhibit.

Name tags. Number IDs. I want to know the name and badge number of the rogue TSA employee whom I want to file a complaint on.

Why are TSA screeners anonymous?

I don't think there's an innocent answer to that question, but I'm prepared to consider one.

kellymae81 said...

Anon said: The TSA screening process should not feel like a jail where the travellers are convicts and the TSA employees are our jailers.But that is PRECISELY the mindset that TSA employees exhibit.

I want to clear this up a little. I and many other TSO's on here have explained many times that TSA in general does not treat passengers in this manner. Unfortunately, every work place has its bad apples and this particular St. Louis scenario is ONE "rare" instance of a bad apple in action. Yes, it may seem like these things happen all the time, but it really doesn't. It's just what people like to talk about b/c its more interesting than all the other millions of passengers who get thru security in minutes with no problem whatsoever. Also, more than you think, bad happenings at security are also caused by passengers, not TSO's. This is generally caused when passengers have such a grudge against TSA that they automatically expect the worst when they come thru security, which means that when the smallest thing goes wrong, they think "I knew it, uhh!!" and start ranting b/c it didn't go perfectly. But just to wrap it up, we as TSOs do not think of ourselves as "jailers" and passengers our "convicts" contrary to the belief of many. It is not our mindset at all.

Kelly
TSA Blog Team

Anonymous said...

To Richard:

"Presumably the mere possession of American currency by an American in America in any amount freely decided by the American does not and cannot in itself imply criminality."

http://www.ca8.uscourts.gov/opndir/06/08/053295P.pdf
United States of America v.
$124,700, in U.S. Currency
United States Court of Appeals

Possession of a large sum of cash is “strong evidence” of a
connection to drug activity.

Anonymous said...

Makes me want to start traveling with my aviation law textbooks. So that I can point out their jurisdictional limitations. They do not have cart blanche. There are limitations on how far outside of their mission to keep airplanes safe they can go.

Anonymous said...

He who gives up freedom for safety deserves neither.

-Benjamin Franklin

Matt said...

Kelly: Fine, I agree. But what in TSA's infrastructure caused a TSO to believe that an American carrying cash within the U.S. was reason for suspicion? The bottom line is that anyone can carry AS MUCH CASH as they like and it's neither a crime nor reason to suspect a crime has taken place. Cash is not illegal. In any amount. Period. Debate over.

Anonymous said...

This is absurd. I am one for security and safety, but you are obviously not training your agents properly. On top of that, someone would have to be an IDIOT to not realize that the agents are simply trying to dodge the simple questions that the passenger asked.
Train your people, please. And stop holding up fellow military members for no real reason, while you are at it.

Anonymous said...

Most TSA employees I encounter are generally reasonably respectful and screening usually goes smoothly and as efficiently as can be expected given all of the new requirements imposed during this decade. At some point, we're going to need to ditch the stupid shampoo and toothpaste rules, shoe rules, and gate access rules against accompanying family members who aren't travelling, but it will probably take a long time to recover from the unconstitutional excesses of the Bush regime, and improvement of the security system to eliminate these nonsensical rules that do nothing to enhance security will probably come very slowly. (Tell me it makes sense to say I can't carry a four ounce rather than three ounce bottle of contact lens solution--it's supposed to be okay as a "medical liquid" but have been told it wasn't and had it confiscated--yet it's perfectly okay to allow a smoker to carry a book of matches on a plane)

What concerns me here is the comment from TSA that, "Passengers are required to cooperate with the screening process. Cooperation may involve answering questions about their property. A passenger who refuses to answer questions may be referred to appropriate authorities for further inquiry."

What is missing from that is the word "lawful." It is NOT reasonable to say that passengers should be compelled to "cooperate" with aspects of the screening process that are unlawful/unconstitutional. As many have pointed out, this passenger's cash did not threaten the safety of the flight. The passenger in this incident was NOT legally required to answer invasive questions and had every right to refuse to answer without fear of retaliation and detention. No TSA employee or any other stranger ever has a right to ask a passenger invasive personal questions unless there is a very specific safety-related concern explicitly explained to the passenger.

The primary job of the TSA is to assure that passengers are treated with dignity and respect for their privacy and that they are allowed to get to their flights as safely and as promptly as possible without unnecessary delay.

American Patriot said...

Although I agree with some of the aspects of this situation, I have to make some of the folks aware of some of the reasons why this incident would unfold in this manner. First of, if you think the TSA screeners are there to make you safe, you are correct. That is their sole purpose. With that said, it is also another means (unintentional) to help disrupt illegal activities that may promote the transportation of illegal drugs or related material, ie: drug money or terrorism. I havent listened to or seen the video or recordings, but I can tell you that the person involved was bringing suspicion upon themselves by not being open and truthful. Yes it is their right to carry that much cash, but just say you got it from the bank or something believable. Don't hold yourself all high and mighty and create suspicion. Yes the TSA employees can be rude at times, but what do you expect when day after day they get passengers trying to sneak in prohibited items and act like they have never heard the rules before. Or think that they are better than someone else. Then when asked, many of them get angry and create their own problems, so as they deserve, they get a little extra screening. Some of you Americans have no idea what its like to really be treated poorly by your government. You take our American lifestyle for granted and never once bother to think of someone else other than yourself. Be an adult and understand that we sometimes have to be inconvenienced (sorry for the spelling) to make the world a little safer.

Speaking of the Rolex watch someone may have had on, don't think that every TSA employee is poor and doesn't make much money. Many of them are retired military, retired law enforcement and retired professionals that are only working part time for the good of the country. They don't all need the paycheck, they do it because they are patriotic Americans and its the right thing to do and its the only thing left that they can do to contribute to their country.

Anonymous said...

There are many reasons why officers investigate passengers who carry more than 10,000 cash because they are another line of security for criminals out there who are trying to launder money or use the money for criminal activities such as drug and sex trafficking…Passengers should applaud the officers for stopping criminal activities before it even gets to the streets! And on top of that Passengers should cooperate if they have nothing to hide!

Matt said...

"...And on top of that Passengers should cooperate if they have nothing to hide!"

Wow, spoken like a true sheep. People who think like this get loaded onto boxcars about twice each century.

Tell you what, you give up your freedom but leave mine alone, thank you.

Anonymous said...

I am a TSO, I have not heard the tape recording, but I can say that the initial reason for the "bag check" may be sound. The stacks of money could be explosive sheets, etc... Once it was discovered to be under the amount, they probably should have let him go, but the attitude of not wanting to answer question could be suspious. Like I said, I have not heard the tape, so I don't know for sure, but in my experience, if someone is refusing to answer questions, it is because they are hiding something. It may be something that is none of our concern, but what if it is? We have no way of knowing that until we check it out. I have heard that a lot of TSA employees are power hungry from passengers, but we all are not, but we are bound by our regulations sometimes to do things they may seem intrusive, even if we don't mean to be.

William B. Doyle, anti-terrorism guy said...

Why doesn't this stuff ever happen to me? Dang it! Filthy rich from the civil/criminal litigation alone! Large amount of cash, "why", "none of your business", "calling cops", "okay", Cop-"why?", "none of your business. am I under arrest? if so, what charge?", blah, blah, "calling my lawyer now, thank you". I carried a badge, I know better. TSA, try this with ME. You'll be in cell block C with 300lb Bubba who is very "lonely".

Anonymous said...

I don't feel we've seen anyone else questioned or patted down besides American Citizens. So I'm wondering if this is something our Government is testing to see how much American's will put up with or is it just something TSA was told to doso they could hire more people so the US Government can say they have created jobs. Yes we need security every where not only at the airports so why are the Borders still open??? Make you wonder.
Florida

Anonymous said...

I think that the posting of -a- public statement by TSA is a step in the right direction. However, as other people have pointed out, it clearly does not cover all the mistakes made by TSA in this incident.

Jason said...

I would like a straight answer regarding the obligation to answer questions about employment and possessions. Keep in mind that I think the only thing done wrong here was to not clarify the law one way or another. I'm all for security, and someone carrying money they admitted was not their own is justifiable to question in my opinion. I would just like to know the actual law on it from someone in authority instead of all these anonymous posters please.

English Songs said...

Hello,please note that there was a TSO involved. Singular, not plural. The other voices you hear on the tape are police officers. Many are getting the impression that all of the voices are TSOs. Not so... TSOs do not cuff people or take them to the station.

Anonymous said...

Here's what happened after: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/steve-bierfeldt/how-my-lawsuit-against-th_b_352660.html

Anonymous said...

On a flight out of Orange County, CA airport the TSO checking ID's asked me to tell him my name. I referred him to my drivers license and boarding pass. He told me "you are going to be her for a while." Finally, I told him.

Question: Since when does my 1st amendment right to freedom of expression as expressed in "silence" get nixed when I want to board a plan? I don't have to speak if I don't want to. What right does TSA have to impede my travel by me simply quietly smiling and complying with ALL directions for documentation and physical inspection?

Chauncey said...

Benjamin Franklin
"Those who would give up Essential Liberty
to purchase a little Temporary Safety,
deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."

Melissa said...

Define the term 'properly declared' please. Shouldn't have to declare anything for stateside travel. So is this another 'requirement' pulled out of thin air for domestic trav

«Oldest ‹Older   201 – 358 of 358   Newer› Newest»