Power to strip search passengers claimed by Feds

In a breathtaking statement delivered in an official court proceeding, the federal Department of Homeland Security (DHS) claims authority to strip search every airline passenger; and to begin such a practice without even soliciting comment from the public.

This outrageous statement recently was delivered to the American people by a DHS lawyer in arguments before the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, which is considering a challenge to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) nude body scanner devices. The suit was brought by the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC).

Currently TSA, which is a component of DHS, claims authority to subject passengers to either an intrusive hand searches or to x-ray scans that reveal a nude image of the passengers’ bodies. Many, including this author and EPIC, consider such searches unconstitutional as violative of the the Fourth Amendment to our Constitution, which prohibits “unreasonable” searches, because they are being conducted without any suspicion at all that such passengers are attempting to bring weapons or explosives on board commercial aircraft.

The U.S. House is scheduled to open hearings today on TSA searches and authorities.

Most observers expect the D.C. Appeals Court to uphold TSA’s current practices. This would leave only the Congress to put a stop to these outrageous, privacy-invasive and unconstitutional searches by the federal government. If TSA and DHS are permitted to continue unchecked, then truly the Fourth Amerndment will have been gutted; and with it, the single most important and effective check on government power enjoyed by the American People for over two centuries.

by Bob Barr — The Barr Code

54 comments Add your comment

Matt

March 18th, 2011
5:47 am

Of course DHS claims that authority. If they don’t have the authority to strip search every airline passenger one at a time every day all day, EPIC’s case against the porno scanner is much simpler.

DHS doesn’t care about the Fourth amendment, and they don’t have use for any of the other top 9 either. They do care about expanding their authority, and their budget along with it. The reality is that every real airline terrorist threat in the US has been thwarted by the passengers, or not at all.

jt

March 18th, 2011
7:20 am

The Drug War gutted the fourth Amendment long ago.(thanks Mr. Barr).

Do you really expect the Federal Government to limit the power of the Federal Government?

dave

March 18th, 2011
8:03 am

The more we clamp down on security, the greater the chance that a terrorist will hide explosives in his body cavity or via surgical implant at some point in the future. It has already happened in Saudi Arabia. Where there is a will to do this, there is a way.
The question is how far will we go. After strip searched comes body cavity searches. Mandatory colonoscopy exams for travel?

Carlosgvv

March 18th, 2011
8:23 am

dave

You have pointed out what most people don’t want to hear. We are in a “can’t win for losing” situation. If we ease up, it’s just a matter of time before a terrorist blows something up. If we crack down even further, more of our liberties go out the door. Having to decide between life and liberty may become one of the hallmarks of the 21st Century.

the watch dog

March 18th, 2011
8:38 am

Where is the democratic process. The rush to take away the democratic right to freedom of privacy is certainly a reality. Government is going through the twilight of our most sacred right , freedom of privacy. When noon comes and the full sun is on the landscape, no where will anything be seen resembling our freedom of privacy.
We should disentangle ourselves from the forcesses that are systematically stripping the citizens of their 4th Amendment rights.
We should advance our 4th Amendment rights at every single opportunity.
Nothing diminishes the human spirit more quickly than the unheralded search and seizure at any hour of day or night.

Eric

March 18th, 2011
9:06 am

Good article once again!

Tigers Woody

March 18th, 2011
9:47 am

Does anyone remember when the biggest complaint about air travel was the lousy food they served for free in coach class and peanuts and pillows were free? …..Proper security is prudent. However the TSA’s unfettered authority is typical of how the government’s intervention “to do things the right way” runs amuck (and now throw in a TSA union). We can’t plan for every eventuality. At some point we have to take our chances…like when you get in your car and put on a seat belt. Otherwise, colonoscopies may become a new TSA security proceedure.

Bryan G.

March 18th, 2011
10:38 am

The problem is that TSA has no discretion. When I was in New York last year, I saw a 70 year old man have to get patted down. Are you kidding?

I don’t want to use the word “profiling”,.but the TSA needs to be able to use…um, statistical evidence of who likely is and isn’t a threat. Old man getting patted down: not a threat. Someone half his age: could be a threat.

LeeH1

March 18th, 2011
11:01 am

This isn’t real security, it is pretend security. After all, trucks go out to parked airplanes all the time without being inspected, as well as airline staff and many others. Only passengers are held up for look-see security checks, which spent more time looking for fingernail clippers than hijackers.

All of this pretend stuff is only to make passengers think they are safe and to keep the industry flying.

Me? I stay hoe or drive. Not only are most places close enough for a one or two day drive, but the drive, meals and gas and motel are still cheaper than airplane tickets.

And your luggage arrives with you. (DELTA: “Don’t Expect the Luggage To Arrive”)

Dr. Pangloss

March 18th, 2011
11:03 am

Bob keeps talking about nude body images. I think we’ve all seen the images by now. They don’t even look human; they look robots in swimsuits.

As for the 70-year-old who was patted down in New York, how old was Von Brunn when he killed the guard at the Holocaust Museum in 2009?

Larry

March 18th, 2011
11:45 am

You privacy advocates have never lost a loved one to a terrorist or lunatic! The rules changed on 9/11/01, and I don’t need a bunch of legal beagles (not eagles), arguing constitutional language over basic common sense.

They can look at or in anything I have as long as it keeps me and my family safe from these animals! I might turn three shades of red but I’ll enjoy the movie on the flight!

ConcernedCitizen

March 18th, 2011
11:48 am

Mr. Barr, you have reported just about the most frightening news yet. But it is not only the TSA. It is a much larger inhumane Machiavellian philosophy being accepted by far too many who are interested in security. It is an anti-American way of thinking that fundamentally assumes guilt until proven innocent. I read an opinion that now that the police are spreading all kinds of surveillance technologies throughout the cities and towns and neighborhoods, we should consider that the moment we leave our homes we have no privacy. I also read that the army is researching devices for seeing through walls, and the police are watching those experiments. I want to leave. Can anyone direct me to a place where innocence until proven guilty is still the rule of law? It will soon be very hard to tell the difference between the United States, Stalinist Russia and Nazi Germany, though instead of neighbor reporting on neighbor, it will be technology recording our every move. Security does not exist, and is a bottomless money pit. If you tell the bully he can’t do something, he will do it. Give him the challenge and that bully will do it for joy.

The middle two verses of the Bible are very clear that we cannot put trust for our safety and security in government, because government is ourselves. Psalm 118: 8-9.

8 It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.
9 It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in princes.

Notice, this is right at the center of the Bible.

All that the police and security interests are doing now to make us more secure is vanity and quite possibly, since only evil is in the hearts of men, those police and security interests are riddled with corruption. Our congress and courts and president need to stop promoting fear, and they need to step back and look at the picture of what they doing with logic balanced by good ethics and love for their neighbors.

Civilian

March 18th, 2011
11:57 am

Larry …. why don’t you bend over and demonstarte the TSA’s new cavity search proceedure. Maybe your family can watch too, then they will see you doing your part to keep America safe from terrorism and can also prove you don’t have a bomb implanted where the sun don’t shine.

The AJC Stinks

March 18th, 2011
12:20 pm

We give them badges and guns, and they become jack booted nazi goons real quick. Take the law license away from the TSA clown now…..before it is too late. Abolish TSA now, they have not stopped a single terrorist in their entire history of humiliating American citizens.

The AJC Stinks

March 18th, 2011
12:24 pm

I demand a 50% pay cut for everyone at TSA NOW!

captguitarman

March 18th, 2011
12:25 pm

After 9/11, America panicked at the ease with which the Muslim terrorists were able to train pilots (who were not interested in learning how to land aircraft – only flying it) — and the ease with which they penetrated airport security with weapons. So, after that awful tragedy, the DHS and TSA were quickly formed. Never do anything in a panic. Did anyone every doubt or not see the potential power and reach of what would become enormous and powerful federal bureacracies? In fairness, and at that time, no. But, it wasn’t long before air travelers began to see and to understand that the main task of the TSA was to maintain political correctness, with real security as somewhat of an after thought — and today the whole thing has become a hugely expensive and wasteful and costly monument to political correctness — there is just no need to search everyone who flies — and now they want to do unreasonable searches and seizures with x-ray machines and claim they can strip search anyone. As far as I know, only young Muslim males have ever committed or have attempted to commit terrorist acts while flying with our commercial airlines. Yet we waste billions of dollars annually searching everyone who flies, old men and old women, the disabled, children, babies, business people who have been frequent flyers for decades. It’s ridiculous. But now we are stuck with it, and because it is now a federal bureacracy, it will only continue to grow.

scrappy

March 18th, 2011
12:46 pm

“You privacy advocates have never lost a loved one to a terrorist or lunatic! The rules changed on 9/11/01, and I don’t need a bunch of legal beagles (not eagles), arguing constitutional language over basic common sense.

Amusing, yet sad, when compared to Jay’s earlier blog about the NRA and the 2nd amendment.

Conservatives are so quick to jump up and refuse any restrictions, including those based on common sense, to the 2nd amendment – But, the 4th – nah they don’t care about that one.

Ya know, if they whittle away at the 4th, those evil government forces might seize all your guns while you aren’t home… then where will you be? Wishing you still had the 4th there to protect you?

Jeb

March 18th, 2011
12:47 pm

get over it bob

ga tech 92

March 18th, 2011
12:50 pm

“It is a much larger inhumane Machiavellian philosophy being accepted by far too many who are interested in security. It is an anti-American way of thinking that fundamentally assumes guilt until proven innocent.”

Well put Citizen. We are all long past free in this country.

GEORGIA GOP LIKES A POLICESTATE

March 18th, 2011
1:01 pm

YOU STUPID REDNECKS ARE WELCOMING THE NEW WORLD ORDER/POLICE STATE,RIGHT INTO YOUR HOMES!

YOU CRACKERS ARE GOING TO GET JUST WHAT SATAN HAS FOR YOU,A PLACE IN THE LAKE OF FIRE!

Libby

March 18th, 2011
1:24 pm

Well – seeing as how the TSA has NEVER stopped a terrorist attack please explain how they make you feel safer? Or are they the only ones who would ever touch you – Scrappy?

MC

March 18th, 2011
1:35 pm

The 4th has always been the most important amendment to our Constitution. When it’s gone nothing can protect us. It disgusts me that the 2nd gets so much support when it is the demise of the 4th that will topple our freedom.

MC

March 18th, 2011
1:39 pm

The Patriot Act in all it’s glory.

MC

March 18th, 2011
1:42 pm

“Give me Liberty or give me death” (Patrick Henry) “Those who would give up freedom for security deserves neither” (Ben Franklin) I stand with those 2. I’d rather be dead than live in a police state.

MC

March 18th, 2011
1:46 pm

Well said scrappy. You’re either free or you’re not. Those that want a police state have the right to go live in one.

Mmm Hmmm

March 18th, 2011
1:49 pm

It’s official. We ar eno longer a democracy or even a constitutional republic… we are a fascist state.

MC

March 18th, 2011
1:50 pm

Amazing how all these so called freedom loving “patriots” are so willing to give up everything that makes them different from the countries they rail against. I guess there can be such a thing as a patriot coward though.

VC23

March 18th, 2011
1:52 pm

Hey “scrappy” if you hate this country and all of its freedoms so much I invite you to move to another country where your rights will not exists. Your personal (and stupid) fears will not trample on my rights. CASE CLOSED.

Hambone

March 18th, 2011
1:56 pm

Go ahead – I’ll enjoy seeing the amazed looks on their faces when they see what I’ve got.

Retired DEA

March 18th, 2011
1:57 pm

4th Amendment haters must want to be just like Mexico.

jj

March 18th, 2011
2:30 pm

TSA fiscal 2011 budget is $7,887,003,100…..Terrorists caught ZERO. The total Homeland security budget is just over $56BB

jj

March 18th, 2011
2:33 pm

A few weeks ago flying out of Philadelphia the TSA agent was so fat he was unable to frisk me anywhere below my knees because he couldn’t bend over. He was a very nice man but I don’t feel any safer.

Retired DEA

March 18th, 2011
2:42 pm

Bob, I would just like for someone to tell me what triggers that search. That’s the primary issue involved with all of these 4th amendment busting procedures. Also the ones they are the most secretive about. The problem is always what is justified and what is not. Are these searches documented and available under the FOIA?

seabeau

March 18th, 2011
3:01 pm

I say let the FLYERS PAY FOR THE TSA.

JiveTalker-in-Chief

March 18th, 2011
4:19 pm

Our hearts and prayers go out to to people of Japan and Libya during this time of crisis.

BUT HEY! CHECK OUT OUT MY MARCH MADNESS BRACKETS YO!!

[...] Power to strip search passengers claimed by Feds | The Barr Code. This entry was posted in Constitution, Opinion, TSA, US Government and tagged Administration, [...]

killerj

March 18th, 2011
6:35 pm

Sorry Bob,we need to look in your computer for Anti-Government propaganda.

The AJC Stinks

March 18th, 2011
8:53 pm

TSA Goon: “Papers, show me your papers!”
Me: “I stuck them up my a ss officer, if you want to see them, you will have to reach in and get them.”
TSA Goon, reaching for his taser: “Are you disrespecting my authority?”
Me: “No sir, I respect your authority to reach into my as s hole, just be gentle, I need to take a dump real soon.”

The AJC Stinks

March 18th, 2011
8:57 pm

Solution to tsa a ss check: Explosive Diarrhea!

Jack

March 21st, 2011
9:44 am

Dr. Pangloss – You said “I think we all have seen the images by now. They don’t even look human…” Well, you may be naive enough to believe those are the images they see, but the TSA doesn’t want to release a REAL image, according to them, because they don’t want terrorists to know what they see,,, ehem… Have a look at this: http://www.rupture.co.uk/Terminal%204.html

Strip searching passengers is unconstitutional, unethical, degrading, humilating, and outrageous. The government has other means to detect explosives and therefore I will not let them strip search me or my kids.

Keep my butt on the ground.

March 21st, 2011
1:23 pm

Sunday on the Washington channel, TSA officals said that people would have to go to their web sites to see what their rights are. They said that if they put the rights up at the screnning centers, their would be to many signs up. I think that is a bunch of bull s—t. they like to think they have all the power and the law backs them up. How many people know that they can not hand seardh you along if you want someone with you. They cannot seperate a child from their guarding to seach them. What items are allowed to be taken on the plane. We need to demand to have the right posted at every check point. It is up to you, I have to much metal in me to fly. When I go threw the dectors, alarms go off all over the world, thay call in the swat team because the steal plate in my left arm looks like a small gun under my skin. They don’tlook at the fourteen screws going into my bones. The doctor had to of had a good joke to say about that when he bolted it in me. For all you flyers, keep good air under your wings, tires rolling to a stop and know your rights when you fly, Go to the TSA website and check them out.

[...] Bob Barr at the Barr Code: [...]

[...] March 21, 2011 | Leave a Comment tweetmeme_style = 'compact';tweetmeme_url='http://dailylibertarian.com/2011/03/21/bob-barr-power-to-strip-search-passengers-claimed-by-feds/';Bob Barr at the Barr Code: [...]

[...] his blog for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Bob Barr has written about privacy and searches of travelers. Barr is a former congressman and presidential candidate (for the [...]

Erik

March 23rd, 2011
9:18 am

If it wasn’t for the fact that my wife’s family are in British Columbia and we’re in the middle of the US, I’d easily never have to fly again. I’m over 150# so flying is uncomfortable at best and costs 2-3 times as much as driving does. I’ll be damned if I’d let any of the TSA ‘officials’ I’ve personally seen anywhere near my <12 year old son. How much longer before we start being able to qualify as refugees from political extremism when we go across the border into Canada?

Next time I have to fly for business I don't plan on showering and then forcing them to do the strip search. May as well make it as pleasant for them as it is for me.

[...] Security, in its defense of airport scanners and patdowns, has said that, if it chose to do so, it could strip search every airline passenger, without any 4th Amendment scrutiny. I guess it’s only out of their own kindness that [...]

[...] Security, in its defense of airport scanners and patdowns, has said that, if it chose to do so, it could strip search every airline passenger, without any 4th Amendment scrutiny. I guess it’s only out of their own kindness that [...]

NordicOnTheEdge

March 24th, 2011
3:11 am

It strikes me that that one of the most simple, yet effective way of dealing with the TSA goons is being overlooked.

When you see the TSA and those who sport the badge of such vermin, shun them.

Give the goons the old stink eye when you see them in the market or on the street. Make your attention plain for all to see.

Have no commerce with those who wear the sack cloth of the TSA, or with them that would commerce with the agents of the TSA. Make you choice known to the vendors you are leaving, along with the reason why.

Make the TSA and the fools who take the coin of the TSA pariah among decent people.

[...] Power to strip search passengers claimed by Feds By Bob Barr 18 Mar 2011 In a breathtaking statement delivered in an official court proceeding, the federal Department of Homeland Security (DHS) claims authority to strip search every airline passenger; and to begin such a practice without even soliciting comment from the public. This outrageous statement recently was delivered to the American people by a DHS lawyer in arguments before the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, which is considering a challenge to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) nude body scanner devices. [...]

[...] has said that, if it chose to do so, it could strip search every airline passenger, without any 4th Amendment scrutiny. I guess it’s only out [...]

9/11 Truth

March 24th, 2011
6:34 pm

None of this would be happening if enough people had simply gotten off their duffs and researched 9/11. They would have found that:

1) Steel buildings have never totally collapsed due to fire alone.
2) Osama bin Laden could not make NORAD completely stand down for the first time in its history.
3) The FBI confiscated video cameras aimed at the Pentagon which could have shown what hit it on 9/11, and to this day has refused to release the footage.
4) No plane parts, bodies, luggage, etc were found at the Shanksville, PA crash site of Flight 93.

among hundreds of other mysterious anomalies. No, instead people laughed at those who WERE investigating 9/11 and called them tin-foil hat conspiracy nuts. Well, you’ve just gotten your come-uppance. Because you never looked into 9/11, and realized that it was an inside job and that this whole war on terror is a fraud, you now have to put up with TSA goons depriving you of your 4th amendment right to privacy every time you board an airplane. You’ve gotten exactly what you deserve, and I for one have no sympathy at all for you.

[...] [Full article] [...]

[...] [Full article] [...]