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More high-handedness from TSA

Discussion in 'Legal' started by dev_null, Jul 15, 2004.

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  1. dev_null

    dev_null Member

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    http://john.hoke.org/archive/2004/07/my_experience_w.php

    July 14, 2004
    My experience with a TSA Screener


    Last night I was flying from New York LaGuardia Airport to Washington Dulles for a business trip. Being a smart traveller, I went to the TSA's website and downloaded a copy of a PDF that explains what can and cannot be carried on board a plane in checked or carry on luggage.

    I arrived at the airport, check my bags and head on down to the Security Screeners, these supposedly well trained, well mannered Federal Employees. I took both of my laptops out of their bags, and along with my shoes, jacket and carry on bags, placed them on the conveyor belt to the x-ray machine.

    One screener asked to manually inspect one of my bags, knowing that I had nothing in it that was prohibited based on the TSA's own site I allowed the search. This inspector found a lighter that I was given by my stepdaughter for our first Father's Day together. It was a cigar lighter that did not run on Liquid Fuel, but gas. (Unabsorbed Liquid fueled lighters are prohibited based on the above PDF). He looked at it and exclaimed, "Wow I have always wanted one like this". Then proceeded to tell me that he had to confiscate my lighter.

    I calmly explained that it was not on the list of items that are prohibited on his own Department's website. He replied he was allowed to use his judgement (what little of that there apparently is) and he was confiscating it. I requested to speak with his supervisor as he was not wearing any TSA identification, no name badge, not badge at all.

    The supervisor came over and the screener was confiscating it, end of story. Tried to be helpful in that unhelpful supervisory way. I requested to file an official complaint, was given the supervisor's name, his badge number, and the screener's name (after much prodding and causing a scene)... While complaining, "Mr. W." tried to intimidate me from filing a complaint, physically, which made me laugh, literally. I took my "official TSA screener complaint form" and went to catch my plane knowing my stepdaughter will be crushed when I tell her they stole her gift, but what is a citizen to do when they (TSA Screeners) have the power to basically do arbitrarily whatever they please?

    I will be writing (and posting here) a letter to the TSA, even though I was told by the supervisor "Go ahead and complain, there is nothing you can do to us"

    Here is a bit of advice, do not carry anything in your carry on luggage that a TSA screener may want for him or herself as they can apparently steal any personal items they personally wish to own.

    Here is a fashion idea, maybe they should trade in those white shirts with the blue patches on the shoulder for nice tan or brown shirts with TSA Armbands on their biceps... much like other fine security groups from Europe in the 1930's and 1940's? Based on the actions of this "person" it would be a fitting change.

    When I get to a scanner, I will scan and post the complaint form I was given and started filling out, as well as posting the text of the letter to the TSA I am writing.
     
  2. Gray Peterson

    Gray Peterson Member

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    Theft, pure and simple. As soon as you get back from your vacation or whatever, I would call the local authorities and register a theft complaint. Bring in your TSA prohibited items list, and everything you could to them, and they might be able to haul off the thief on charges.
     
  3. 0007

    0007 Member

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    I'm afraid at that point I would have removed the lighter from his hand, laid it across the edge of the table rapped it smartly with the edge of my hand and handed him back the pieces with a smile and "Enjoy, you *&*^$%$&** thief"...:fire: :cuss: :fire:
     
  4. rick_reno

    rick_reno member

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    If you were to do this - you'd be designated as "Improperly Conditioned" and you'd enter one of the reconditioning programs that are funded by our tax dollars. As a citizen of the new Shrub States are not allowed to "reach" toward a person of authority - even something as siimple as a verbal comment can get you a ticket to reconditioning. Wake up folks - 9/11 gave us a police state. Get used to it or move.
     
  5. fix

    fix Member

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    Yep. That's one for NYPD to handle. Clear cut case of theft.
     
  6. Mikul

    Mikul Member

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    Hysterically illegal fantasy deleted by moderator
     
  7. Coronach

    Coronach Moderator Emeritus

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    It would seem that so much drama could be avoided if the TSA had a policy of retaining items that you could then pick up later, and providing you with a receipt for said items.

    That way if someone did take a liking to something and helped themselves to it, you would have documentation of the theft.

    Mike
     
  8. Coronach

    Coronach Moderator Emeritus

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    From the TSA's site:
    Hmmm. So, the options are...

    1. TSA retains it as evidence of a crime.
    2. You take it away with you from the checkpoint and make some other arrangement (trash it, mail it, give it to a friend, secure it in your car, put it in checked luggage, etc)
    3. You "voluntarily abandon" it and the TSA keeps it.

    So, did this guy ask if he could take it away from the checkpoint and they said no? Interestingly enough, there appears to be no 'confiscate' option. In order for it to be confiscated you must, apparently, "voluntarily abandon it." So, it would seem that by maintaining forcefully that you are not doing any such thing as voluntarily abandoning anything, they are forced to either retain it as evidence of a crime, or allow you to withdraw the item from the checkpoint. This could be a good thing, because if they elect to charge you with something they will lose, as the item is, in fact, not prohibited, and you should then have the evidence returned to you. Best case scenario would seem to be just allowing you to take it away and make other arrangements.

    Caveats IANAL and the website is not the same thing as the actual laws and policies of the TSA. So, I dunno if this take is correct or not.

    Mike
     
  9. EOD Guy

    EOD Guy Member

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    I agree that you should have been allowed to make other arrangements for your lighter. However, if you had a gas lighter, it contained unabsorbed liquid fuel and was prohibited under the TSA rules you had in your possession. The fuel is in liquid form in the lighter and is released as a gas.
     
  10. Can'thavenuthingood

    Can'thavenuthingood Member

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    You left the screening area and boarded the aircraft. The TSA will call that "Voluntary abandonment" and weasel out by saying you had other options.
    Weak supervisor leadership is what the system thrives on and promotes. He could have put an immediate stop to the crap and chose to let his underling make the decision.

    They can make your life miserable on a whim, detaining you for further "inspection". Which cause's you to become more irate and words get heated as you are passed around from inspector to inspector. You miss your flight, charges are pressed, you get attorney and go to court.
    They don't care. The arrogance is displayed daily.

    We are there for their enjoyment, keeps them off the streets.

    Vick
     
  11. ojibweindian

    ojibweindian Member

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    TSA is why I no longer fly.

    Also, the TSA is just another indicator of the brewing storm.
     
  12. MrAcheson

    MrAcheson Member

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    Yeah not a bright idea to think that the TSA is just going to let you through on a technicality. They enough discretionary power that they don't have to.

    That said there needs to be some additional due process at the TSA to fix this. Either store the thing at the airport for later or put a UPS kiosk up somewhere so they can ship it home. You have a right to just compensation from the government so they cannot be allowed to just confiscate items like this.
     
  13. Mute

    Mute Member

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    Perhaps a civil suit against the individuals involved (instead of TSA) might work. And if it does, this could send a message to future TSA thieves that they'll be held accountable and won't have their employers to back them up when they steal under the color of authority.
     
  14. Mr. James

    Mr. James Member

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    a bit of poetic justice

    Once, while flying out of Dulles, the TSA found a tiny pair of mustache scissors - the collapsable kind, mebbe 3/4" long - in my dopp kit (I'd forgotten they were in there). The petite little TSA inspector moves to discard them in a wastebasket.

    "Not so fast."

    "What do you mean," she asks quizzically.

    "That's my personal property, and you may NOT throw it away."

    With much disgust, she tells me I do, in fact, have the option of checking the deadly man-killing sabers, which I indicate I will do.

    I move to get my bag to carry it back out when, with even more disgust, and dread, she tells me only she may carry my bag out of the security area.

    Folks, it may have been a carry-on, but that bag weighed a ton. With great groans and gutteral grunts, she humps my bag all the way around the security area with me in tow. Felt bad for her ... for maybe a millisecond.

    "Have a nice day, ma'am."

    No reply. :D
     
  15. Bacchus

    Bacchus Member

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    Following this thread closely. Please do post a scan of your letter of complaint.
     
  16. rock jock

    rock jock Member

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    If the author wanted to test the limits on what can be carried (which he was surely trying to do), why would he do it with a family gift? I guess a $.99 lighter from a convenience store would not have the same "outrage" impact, hmmm?
     
  17. DragonRider

    DragonRider Member

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    This is exactly why I travel, I have 2 evenlopes with 5 dollars of postage on them. No way am I giving up on of my Surefires, Drafting Pencil with the metal tip, Wilderness Belt, etc.

    Just a thought

    John
     
  18. Hawkmoon

    Hawkmoon Member

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    There was another TSA thread about a month or six weeks back, in which a TSA supervisory type became rather upset with some of for suggesting that the TSA might have some problems. What was interesting was that he says the TSAs web site rules are only "advisory," and that the real rules do allow the screeners unlimited judgment as to what they deem unsafe.

    Naturally, we serfs are not allowed to see those rules.

    Sounds like another typical gumming Catch 22. I've seen it before.

    "You can't do that."

    "Why not?"

    "Because the rules say so."

    "May I see the rule that says so?"

    "No, that's against the rules."
     
  19. Standing Wolf

    Standing Wolf Member in memoriam

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    That's also known as "honest looting."
     
  20. standingbear

    standingbear Member

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    this is why I wont use an airline to go from point A to B.I hate dealing with bereaucratic wanna be people that left their common sense at home and bring their ego to work.Id rather drive,the ride is much more scenic and cheaper.
     
  21. Waitone

    Waitone Member

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    My daughter gave me a pocket knife which I failed to remove from my pocket before a recent day trip. Snagged at security. The supervisor said I had several options I could exercise.

    --Go back through security to check-in and check the knife as baggage then come back through security.

    --Go back through security and take my knife back to my car parked in the remote lot. Then come back through secrurity.

    --Go back through security and find someone who could mail it to me at my destination (I was on a day trip with no checked baggage).

    --"Surrender" the knife at security and be done with it. I opted to let TSA "confiscate" my daughter's knife. Carrying pre-stanped envelopes is and excellent idea.

    My fault for not cleaning my pockets before entering the cordon sanitair.
     
  22. Carnitas

    Carnitas Member

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    Two words......

    General Aviation.
     
  23. Cool Hand Luke 22:36

    Cool Hand Luke 22:36 member

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    Since this was a Federal Official enforcing Federal law, I think the US Dept. of Justice would also have jurisdiction, and so a complaint filed with them and the FBI would also be a good idea.
     
  24. Warren

    Warren Member

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    Ummm,

    for those of us a bit slow we'll need more than those two words.

    What is needed is a network of private plane owners who would be willing to take people places.

    Probably illegal in these government heavy socialist times but it would be hard to police.

    There may even be a work around, if the plane owner cannot charge you for the "trip" maybe he could sell you a Coke for 100 or 200 bucks. :D
     
  25. Carnitas

    Carnitas Member

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    Ok, how about....

    Go get your license. Instead fo taking off your shoes and submitting yourself to a govt. thug, take off at the time of your choosing and submit yourself to your being master of your own destiny. Fly w/ knitting needles, lighters, sicsors, knives, and even guns. Hell, long guns if you choose to.
     
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