Expert: patdowns aimed at making travelers take body scan

LOS ANGELES (CBS/AP) — The head of the Transportation Security Administration is asking travelers for their cooperation as the government tightens security during the busy holiday travel season.

The body searches are at the center of a national debate over whether security concerns should trump individual privacy and civil liberties. Mounting outrage online has prompted several campaigns urging passengers to forgo flying during the Thanksgiving holiday, what is traditionally one of the busiest flying weekends of the year.

Meanwhile, cabinet secretaries, top congressional leaders and an exclusive group of senior U.S. officials are exempt from toughened new airport screening procedures when they fly commercially with government-approved federal security details.

Travel expert Rudy Maxa, host of Rudy Maxa’s World on KFWB NEWS TALK 980, gives some holiday travel tips to KFWB’s Michael Shappee.

Here are some additional suggestions to help keep your holiday flying experience both safe and private:

  • Despite the police-type uniforms, TSA “screeners” are not law enforcement officers they have no police powers and no immunity from any state or local laws. At some airports, including San Francisco (SFO) , they aren’t government employees but rather rent-a-cops employed by a private contractor. They cannot legally arrest or detain you, but they can call the local police.

SLIDESHOW: What Not To Wear In TSA Security Line

  • When in doubt, push record.  Photography and recording in airports and at TSA checkpoints violates no Federal law or TSA regulation, and you have the First Amendment right to photograph, videotape or otherwise document any public area of an airport, including security checkpoints.

  • If at any time you believe a TSA screener may have gone too far, you have the right to make a criminal complaint and/or a citizen’s arrest of someone who assaults you, and/or to sue them for damages.
  • Most major airlines are obligated to provide a full and unconditional refund if the airline refuses to transport you for failure to agree to a pat-down or body scan. If the airline refuses to give you a full refund, you may opt to sue them for damages and request that the U.S. Department of Transportation investigate and fine them.

(TM and © Copyright 2010 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

Comments (12)
  1. Al Dente says:

    The TSA Program to Examine Random Voyagers has attracted some rather unsavory characters to their ranks….SHOCKING story at:

    Happy Thanksgiving, and Peace! 🙂

  2. Marcus says:

    Just as you can make a citizen’s arrest, so can any TSA agent, so they do have the legal right to detain you (you can sue for false imprisonment, but so can they). At any rate, if they call for the local police, you won’t get far in the airport.

  3. Al says:

    “Meanwhile, cabinet secretaries, top congressional leaders and an exclusive group of senior U.S. officials are exempt from toughened new airport screening procedures when they fly commercially with government-approved federal security details.”

    Why are they exempt??? If a US Army Major can go nuts, shooting and killing over a dozen people with multiple weapons on an active US military base (Ft, Hood), who says with any degree of certainty that these “exempt politicians” can’t do the same thing in an airport or on an airplane? Search ’em all. While I think it was crazy that Sen. Ted Kennedy (RIP) was harassed because his name was on a ‘no-fly’ list (probably suspected Sinn Fein), he and others should still have to go through the same basic screening processes the rest of us have to go through.

  4. Thomas Bleming says:

    The bureaucratic thugs and quasi gestapo of the so-called “Homeland Security” have other plans, yet to be implemented, that call for body cavity inspection of those passengers which come under additional scrutiny.

    Hand held anal cavity inspection. “wands”, measuring 5 m/m in diameter are the next items to be tried out on the unsuspecting and dumbed down flying public and of course. the unfounded and bogus threat of “terrorism” and “security” will be marketed by these thugs to get the public to go along with all this.

    “Homeland Security” will also introduce such items as paper thin, bio-degradeable garments that will be given to those who are. selected. to undergo these anal inspections.

    Welcome to the “Land of the Free”.

  5. Sweaty Fat Guy says:

    Who thinks they can convince a small claims judge that the airline refused to transport them? Good luck with that one. I’ve never read an airline’s contract of carriage but I’ll bet a donut that passengers are obligated to get through security and present themselves at the gate in order to travel.

  6. Gmacker says:

    If you dont want full security via a body scan or a pat down…then dont fly. Take a bus or train. How does that sound?

  7. Amy says:

    This report didn’t mention the fact that TSA pays the airport police to be stationed at each and every security checkpoint hence a passenger will not have the time to make a citizens arrest on a TSA agent because WITHIN SECONDS of him/her trying airport police will be called by TSA. Keep in mind that every inch of every security checkpoint is monitored by cameras and that is the first thing airport police officers will check…and they always tell the passenger “they were following TSA protocols and there was no crime committed”. And I don’t work for TSA…I fly 3 times per week out of LAX and see/hear this happening ALL THE TIME.

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