Filmmaker Colin Gunn routinely travels the world with only incidental complications, until he ran into a blockade by Transportation Security Administration officers in Texas.
There, he was threatened by police and then completely refused access to his flight.
Gunn, whose film "Indoctrination: Public Schools and the Decline of Christianity in America," has sparked intense interest in the debate over the role of educators, said he tried to appeal to the agents' recognition of a common humanity.
"I tried to reach their consciences. You hope they have a conscience," he said.
To no avail, he said.
He reported he eventually was "frogmarched to the door."
The issue was that he had declined to go through a machine making invasive scanner images of travelers, instead opting for the pat-down, which also is invasive. But that's "about all you can do," he said.
Something set off an alarm after his pat-down, and when his personal belongings all passed a further inspection, he was told by the TSA, "I was going to receive a more invasive pat-down."
"I refused," said Gunn, who reported having been traveling for 20 hours, with eight children at home waiting for the European chocolates he'd brought for them. "It obviously was a false alarm."
As a result, he faced a team of TSA agents "hell bent on intimidating me" who then recruited local police officers who "threatened me," he said.
He dug in, calling their actions unconstitutional.
Officers threatened worse, suggesting they could come up with "probable cause" and arrest him. Then he would have to submit to more searches, they suggested.
They even suggested he might have to be arrested. And what kind of search would he undergo at booking?
He stood his ground.
Then came the frogmarch.
"This is just so sad. You travel the globe, and come back to Texas you meet these … I don't know of to say," he said.
His startling video production "Indoctrination" features interviews with whistleblowing teachers, administrators, students, parents and others on the state of America's public schools.
The project is part documentary, part testimonial. Ted Baehr, founder of Movieguide, said it focuses on "an issue that must be addressed and put to rest forever."
"'Indoctrination' is an extremely important movie," he said. "Every church in American should show 'Indoctrination.' Every Christian should show "Indoctrination' to their friends."
WND has reported for years on the controversy over the invasive searches – both scans and pat-downs – conducted on unwary citizens by the TSA.
While it was months ago when the most invasive of the X-ray scanners – which produced essentially nude images of travelers – were removed from airports, the controversy isn't likely to go away.
Critics say the TSA violates the 4th Amendment through its procedures, which may or may not make travel any safer.
It actually was in Texas where lawmakers proposed a law that would require "probable cause" for agents to act against any passenger. But while the plan was under consideration, the federal government threatened to close down all air traffic to and from the state.
Multiple court cases have come up over the issue.
In one, the government insisted that a "secret" order containing "sensitive security information" guided TSA policy. It refused to make public the document outlining the procedures, according to John Whitehead, president of the Rutherford Institute.
Institute attorneys had argued that since the TSA "order" has remained "secret," there has been no opportunity for the public to comment on it. They said "passengers and pilots are not only being deprived of their Fourth Amendment rights, but also their due process right to a fair hearing on their challenge to the secret TSA policy."
"This ruling does not bode well for attempts to ensure transparency in government or efforts to safeguard Americans against virtual strip searches and other excessive groping of our bodies by government agents, especially when there's no suspicion of wrongdoing," Whitehead said at the time.
"When civil liberties are tossed out the window – by government agents or by the courts – we all lose. No American should be forced to undergo a virtual strip search or be subjected to such excessive groping of the body as a matter of course in reporting to work or boarding an airplane when there is no suspicion of wrongdoing," he said.
Former Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, 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.
WND subsequently reported when the government made plans to expand such searches beyond airports.
The Fox News report:
The RT America report:
WND reported earlier that some of the TSA screeners might be criminals.
It was in May 2012 when Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., released a report titled "'Not on My Watch': 50 Failures of TSA's Transportation Security Officers."
"While in the last decade TSA has employed many dedicated public servants who truly have a deep desire to serve our country, they have also hired an alarming number of individuals who in many cases would never have passed a simple background check," Blackburn's report stated.
"This problem has only exacerbated itself since 2005 when TSA administratively reclassified airport security screeners as Transportation Security Officers. To make matters worse, TSA upgraded TSOs uniforms to reflect those of federal law enforcement officers, complete with metal officer badges. Despite their new title of officer, TSOs receive zero federal law enforcement training and … many TSOs have displayed little respect for the titles they hold and the uniforms they wear."
Her report detailed 50 crimes for which TSA employees had been arrested from 2005-2012, including theft, stealing, accepting bribes, felonious sexual assault, assault, threats, murder, smuggling, drunken driving and impersonating a federal officer.