Many of you will be traveling in the United States this week for the annual Thanksgiving celebrations. At this point no one can be unaware of the new government policy regarding Backscatter X-Ray machines and the option to suffer a humiliating full body pat down (or groping) by TSA agents. Thanks to Matt Kernan, it seems that those of you with sufficient patience and knowledge of the your constitutional rights may have a third option. It’s well worth reading his entire blog post — this is just a taste:
I said, “I am aware that it is policy, but I disagree with the policy, and I think that it is unconstitutional. As a U.S. citizen, I have the right to move freely within my country as long as I can demonstrate proof of citizenship and have demonstrated no reasonable cause to be detained.”
Policy restatement. “You have two options – the Backscatter or the pat down. It is your choice, but those are the only ways you can go through security.”
I asked if I could speak to his manager.
“I’m the supervisor here.”
“Do you have a manager?”
“Yes, but he’s very far away at the moment. And he’ll say the same thing I am.” Policy restatement.
At this point, I took out my iPhone, activated the voice recorder, and asked The Supervisor, “Per my constitutional rights, I am not allowed to be detained without reasonable cause for arrest. Now, am I free to go?”
He answered, “If you leave, we will call the APD.”
I asked, “Who is the APD?”
“The Airport Police Department.”
I said, “Actually, that’s probably a good idea. Let’s call them and your manager.”
The Supervisor turned and walked away without saying anything. I stood and waited, chatting to The Technician about how they aren’t allowed to wear radiation badges, even though they work with radiation equipment. He said, “I think I’m a couple steps ahead of you regarding looking out for my own health.”
I stood and waited for 20 minutes. Two cops showed up. Big ones. I admit, I did not want to be handcuffed by these guys…