The Transportation Security Administration , which has been known to release a video of a confrontation with a passenger to refute claims of harassment, isn’t sounding too good in a recording made by a man being questioned at the St. Louis airport. I guess turnabout is fair play.
Steve Bierfeldt triggered the record function on his iPhone to capture his conversation with a TSA agent who had taken him aside in March to question him about more than $4,700 in cash he was carrying, CNN reports. The money was from the sale of political T-shirts and other paraphernalia. Bierfeldt, director of development for the Campaign for Liberty, which CNN called “an outgrowth of the Ron Paul presidential campaign,” didn’t believe he was legally obliged to explain that.
The recording catches the TSA agent swearing at Bierfeldt and threatening to handcuff him and turn him over to police.
The American Civil Liberties Union, which has taken up the case, contends the TSA has succumbed to mission creep. “We think what happened to Mr. Bierfeldt is a reflection that TSA believes passenger screening is an opportunity to engage in freewheeling law enforcement investigations that have no link to flight safety,” Larry Schwartztol of the ACLU told CNN.
So, there’s the question. We’ve all accepted that we’re subject to searches in airports without probable cause in the name of air safety. If the search turns up something that is unusual but not in itself illegal, how thoroughly are we required to explain ourselves to the TSA?