Drew Zahn is a WND news editor who cut his journalist teeth as a member of the award-winning staff of Leadership, Christianity Today's professional journal for church leaders. A former pastor, he is the editor of seven books, including Movie-Based Illustrations for Preaching & Teaching, which sparked his ongoing love affair with film and his weekly WND column, "Popcorn and a (world)view."More ↓Less ↑
A video has been posted on YouTube showing a Transportation Security Administration official admitting he detained a passenger purely in retaliation over her “attitude.”
“Wait, let me get this straight: This is retaliatory for my attitude?” the woman asked the TSA agent. “This is not making the airways safer, this is retaliatory?”
“Pretty much, yes,” the official responded.
The video, which has already been seen by tens of thousands of viewers, only lasts 22 seconds, but the person who posted asserts, “It was a little satisfying to get that statement on video.”
“This was inside the terminal at the Houston airport,” the posters’ description of the video states. “I was not allowed to board a plane (even though I had already been through airport security), because I drank my water instead of letting the TSA ‘test’ it.
“The TSA agent finally admitted that it wasn’t because they thought I was a security risk,” the description continues, “it was because the TSA agent, Louis Godeaux, was mad at me!”
The poster explains she was able to get on the next flight out of Houston and thanks United for an upgrade.
“I know this is not really news (it seems like the TSA is retaliating all the time against people),” she claims, “but it was a little satisfying to get that statement on video.”
Though the sound on the video is somewhat garbled, the captured conversation begins with the passenger asking, “Do you think I’m honestly a threat? Do you think that?”
“No, no, no,” the agent responds, “but with your attitude …”
“Wait, let me get this straight, this is retaliatory for my attitude?” she asks. “This is not making the airways safer, this is retaliatory?”
“Pretty much, yes,” he responds.
“Is that legal?” she asks.
“Yes it is.”
Apparently, the passenger had been protesting the TSA’s efforts to chemically test her drink, a practice TSA has had in place since 2007 but made new the news only last week when another video, reportedly from the Columbus, Ohio, airport was also posted on YouTube:
ABC News reports the TSA blog explains: “The test involves a test strip and a dropper containing a nontoxic solution. In case you’re wondering, our officers don’t place the test strips in your beverages/liquids.
TSA also told ABC News that in regards to the woman in Houston, “In our initial review, we concluded that this individual was screened in accordance with standard procedures.”
As WND has reported, the fight over invasive TSA procedures has been raging for several years. In addition to testing passengers’ drinks post-security, the government agency has implemented “enhanced” security screenings that present two options: an X-ray that is a virtual strip search of a passenger and a pat-down that critics have likened to sexual assault in public.
Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, earlier proposed a change in the law that would specify that screeners are “not immune from any U.S. law regarding physical contact with another person, making images of another person, or causing physical harm through the use of radiation-emitting machinery on another person.”
“It means they are not above the laws the rest of us must obey,” he wrote at the time.
“As sheriff, you have the absolute duty to enforce the law uniformly and without prejudice. You are, at best, engaged in selective enforcement by choosing to further ignore these flagrant violations of federal and state law. At worst, you are complicit,” said a message to the 67 sheriffs from the party signed by chairman Adrian Wyllie.
“If you have TSA agents within your county that are violating the law, then you must act. Warn the TSA agents that they are subject to arrest if they continue to violate the law. Should they continue, then you must begin making arrests,” the letter said. “We urge you to remember the oath you took to support, protect and defend the Constitution of both the state of Florida and the United States of America. On behalf of all Floridians, the Libertarian Party of Florida calls on you to do exactly that.”
On the state level, Texas fell narrowly short of moving forward with a bill that would have required “probable cause” for agents to act against a passenger. While the plan was under consideration, the federal government threatened to close down air traffic to and from the state.
U.S. Attorney John E. Murphy asserted that federal agents must be allowed to touch people when and how they want.
“The proposed [Texas] legislation would make it unlawful for a federal agent such as a TSO to perform certain specified searches for the purpose of granting access to a publicly accessible building or form of transportation,” he told Texans at the time. “That provision would thus criminalize searches that are required under federal regulations in order to ensure the safety of the American public.”
Perhaps among the most dramatic expressions of concern came from Miss USA Susie Castillo, who was reduced to tears by federal agents ensuring she was not a terrorist.
Castillo produced a viral video describing her experience at the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport.
“I mean, she actually… touched my vagina,” Castillo said through her tears. “They’re making me … choose to either get molested … or go through this machine that’s completely unhealthy and dangerous. I don’t want to go through it, and here I am crying.”
The director of information policy studies at the Cato Institute, a think tank dedicated “to the principles of individual liberty, limited government, free markets and peace,” has also launched a petition drive to force the Transportation Security Administration to follow the law.