TSA Warns: Submit or Pay

by
November 21, 2010

By John Lantigua, Palm Beach Post

If you don’t want to pass through an airport scanner that allows security agents to see an image of your naked body or to undergo the alternative, a thorough manual search, you may have to find another way to travel this holiday season.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is warning that any would-be commercial airline passenger who enters an airport checkpoint and then refuses to undergo the method of inspection designated by TSA will not be allowed to fly and also will not be permitted to simply leave the airport.

That person will have to remain on the premises to be questioned by the TSA and possibly by local law enforcement. Anyone refusing faces fines up to $11,000 and possible arrest.

“Once a person submits to the screening process, they can not just decide to leave that process,” says Sari Koshetz, regional TSA spokesperson, based in Miami.

Koshetz said such passengers would be questioned “until it is determined that they don’t pose a threat” to the public.

Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Teri Barbera said PBSO deputies stationed at the airport would become involved when requested by the TSA.

“We will handle each incident on a case-by-case basis,” she said.

No one will be forcibly searched or arrested “just because they refuse to go through the security procedures,” Barbera said. “That may rise to the level of suspicious behavior for the TSA, but it wouldn’t rise to the level of suspicious behavior for a deputy,” she said.

But Barbera said that if a person is judged to be a possible threat, deputies are legally permitted to detain and search that individual. “The deputies will do it at the airport just as they would do it anywhere else,” she said.

Once cleared by the TSA and deputies, the people will be allowed to leave, she said.

Meanwhile, the American Civil Liberties Union was urging Americans to petition the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees the TSA, to change the new policies.

“All of us have a right to travel without such crude invasions of our privacy,” the ACLU said in a statement. “Tell DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano to put in place security measures that respect passengers’ privacy rights. You shouldn’t have to check your rights when you check your luggage.”

The ACLU outlined ways for citizens to respond to TSA demands at checkpoints and also provided a form letter for filing complaints.

To read more, visit: http://www.sun-sentinel.com/business/sfl-airport-scans-pat-downs-refual-20101121,0,5604032.story

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