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Passenger Says TSA Agents Harassed Him

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posted on Jun, 20 2009 @ 10:43 AM
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Passenger Says TSA Agents Harassed Him


www.cnn.com

Steve Bierfeldt says the Transportation Security Administration pulled him aside for extra questioning in March.

Bierfeldt is director of development for the Campaign for Liberty, an outgrowth of the Ron Paul presidential campaign. He was returning from a regional conference March 29 when TSA screeners at Lambert-St. Louis (Illinois) International Airport saw a metal cash box in his carry-on bag. Inside was more than $4,700 dollars in cash -- proceeds from the sale of political merchandise l
(visit the link for the full news article)




posted on Jun, 20 2009 @ 10:43 AM
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The screener saw a metal box containing a large amount of money in his bag and they decided to question him about it.


The TSA wouldn't comment on the lawsuit, but said in a statement that the movement of large amounts of cash through a checkpoint may be investigated "if suspicious activity is suspected."


Now he recorded the conversation with the officers.

excerpt:


Officer: Why do you have this money? That's the question, that's the major question.

Bierfeldt: Yes, sir, and I'm asking whether I'm legally required to answer that question.

Officer: Answer that question first, why do you have this money.

Bierfeldt: Am I legally required to answer that question?

Officer: So you refuse to answer that question?

Bierfeldt: No, sir, I am not refusing.

Officer: Well, you're not answering.

Bierfeldt: I'm simply asking my rights under the law.





Officer: So these are campaign contributions for Ron Paul?

Bierfeldt: Yes, sir.

Officer: You're free to go.



Ah, there it is. If he would have just answered the question, there would not have been a problem. Bottom line.

Cooperation, cooperation, cooperation. If you're not breaking the law, then just cooperate and there's no problems. I just don't understand people who want to whine and cry because they feel their rights are being violated, I just dont' get it.



www.cnn.com
(visit the link for the full news article)



posted on Jun, 20 2009 @ 10:47 AM
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Oh, and to be fair and do complete reporting, yes one of the officers swore...


On a recording a TSA agent can be heard berating Bierfeldt. One sample: "You want to play smartass, and I'm not going to play your f**king game."


The conversation was recorded using his phone.

So what, he swore, the guy was refusing to answer any questions.



posted on Jun, 20 2009 @ 11:08 AM
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Transportation Safety Authority

... is now tasked with verifying the amount and source of cash a passenger carries onto or with them on a commercial flight?

... and just How was this passenger's carry-on cash any sort of potential "threat" to the Safety of the flight he was boarding?

The agent overstepped the bounds of their "jurisdiction", if you will. If anything, and if they Truly felt it warranted further investigation, they could have just as easily, AND without incident, simply passed the information along to DHS, FBI, or the DEA.


There are no restrictions on carrying large sums of cash on flights within the United States


As for the manner and demeanor with regards How things were handled in the "interrogation room"...

The TSA says disciplinary action has been taken against one of its employees for inappropriate tone and language

... and rightfully so.



posted on Jun, 20 2009 @ 11:10 AM
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reply to post by 12m8keall2c
 


I'm not saying they "over stepped", I just don't have a problem with them questioning people.

I have a problem with the people being questioned, getting upset and going to the media, etc.



posted on Jun, 20 2009 @ 11:12 AM
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Sounds like the guy was exercising his legal right to know why he was being questioned. The TSA has no restriction on large sums of cash, so they had no cause to hold him.

You've got to be careful with this sort of thing or it gets way out of hand. You can't hold and question someone without just cause. Truth is, he was unlawfully detained. The fact that your employer happens to be a three letter acronym doesn't allow you to detain someone at will.

Regardless of what might have been easier, this man took the hard road and stood up for his rights. Maybe if more people did that, the TSA and agencies like it wouldn't think they could get away with violating our rights at a whim.

My two cents.



posted on Jun, 20 2009 @ 11:12 AM
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Originally posted by elevatedone
So what, he swore, the guy was refusing to answer any questions.


Not necessarily, it seemed more the he was merely asking if he was Required to answer the particular question posed. He was not.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

While I personally don't agree with those who arm themselves with cameras and microphones and then purposefully frequent border checkpoints and whatnot, much the same as the guy who tailed a speeding sheriff's deputy merely to confront them, this would seem more a case of someone overstepping their bounds of duty. It was of no concern nor business to the agent whatsoever, with regards the source, amount or ownership of those monies. Simple as that.



posted on Jun, 20 2009 @ 11:14 AM
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I understand your points... I really do.


My thing is...

I'm in an airport, for whatever reason I'm pulled aside and being questioned, I'll just answer the question and then be on my way.

It's simple.



posted on Jun, 20 2009 @ 11:17 AM
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Whilst I think I see part of your point, about cooperation and whether or not Mr. Bierfeldt was instigating the confrontation, we would have to wonder exactly why and under what authority the TSA screener needed to know the source of the money!!

The TSA response of "if suspicious activity is suspected" is too broad a piece of boilerplate to withstand the credibility test.

TSA are not law enforcement. Their sole responsibilty, under the jurisdiction and definition of their role, is to screen for banned items/potential weapons.

As you know, the US Customs (now, 'ICE') require notification of amounts in excess of US$10,000 when entering the country. BUT, as a citizen it crosses the line when a representative without a legal reason demands to know someone else's business.

My opinion may be slightly affected by my general disdain for most TSA workers I have encountered over the years. Not their fault -- many are given an inflated sense of self-importance by the culture and training of the organization. I have generally found that those that are under contract for TSA (such as, say, in San Francisco Int'l) are a cut above the average, in professionalism.


ED: D'oh!! All of those great replies while I was composing my missive!

[edit on 6/20/0909 by weedwhacker]



posted on Jun, 20 2009 @ 11:20 AM
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Originally posted by elevatedone
I'm not saying they "over stepped", I just don't have a problem with them questioning people.

I have a problem with the people being questioned, getting upset and going to the media, etc.


I usually take the side of police during most of these posts, but in this case I agree, why did the guy need to know? $4700 doesn't even seem all that suspicious really.

I will always say "yes sir" when confronting hte police but I myself went off on one of the screeners when re-entering the states from Iran. They had a special line for people entering from "certain" countries. I was told to go in that line.

I am an american citizen by birth, and I look the part (swiss/swedish and female) and the guy had the worst attitude and was downright rude. He asked why I visited and I said to site-see, he then asked of I was Muslim and I went off. That is NONE of his business! And I said "I don't think you can ask that" and he got mad.

I am a U.S. Citizen and what was he going to do about it? Throw me back on a flight to Germany? I don't think so! I got on the soap box and got loud and started saying "I resent...." and bam he told me to just go through.

That is an abuse of power and it made me furious. He was used to abusing his power because he was used to dealing with traveling foreigners that were scared they would be sent back and they would have wasted their money traveling here (I would have been equally concerned, and ultra polite, if the airport officials in Iran had done that to me when I was entering their country).

Some of those guys are just jerks and they have NO real authority. I give the police the benefit of the doubt because they have dangerous jobs and see a lot of sick stuff, but airport clerks? I don't think so!



[edit on 20-6-2009 by Sonya610]



posted on Jun, 20 2009 @ 11:28 AM
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I agree with both of you....

It would have caused the man no harm to say where he got the cash. In fact, if they then continued to hammer him about then he would have a story.

At the same time, the TSA has no right to investigate our cash. It's legal tender and we are allowed to carry it however we desire. The TSA might be able to BS me into giving them my bottle of shampoo and water, but if they are going to try and say my cash might be an explosive .. ha .. well few(er) will be flying. Maybe we should start requiring the TSA to have more than a GED to work, unless it's usual protocol to harass anyone with a large amount of cash?



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