Video: Man Threatened With A Civil Suit And $10,000 Fine For Not Submitting To TSA Groin Pat Down

NEW YORK - OCTOBER 22: A TSA officer stands next to the first Advanced Imaging Technology unit during a demonstration at John F. Kennedy International Airport's Terminal 8 passenger security checkpoint on October 22, 2010 in the Queens borough of New York City. The new backscatter X-ray full-body scanners, which are optional, can see through clothing and will screen passengers for metallic and non-metallic threats including explosives. (Photo by Michael Nagle/Getty Images)

Apparently a San Diego man took precautions to ensure that his travel wouldn’t include one of the TSA’s new full-body scanners, checking the TSA website to see where they were being used. When he arrived at airport security he found that they were, indeed, using the full-body scanners so he opted for the standard metal detector and pat down routine.

Except, when the TSA explained that they’d have to pat down his groin, he refused at which point he was told that if he left the security line he’d be subject to a “civil suit and a $10,000 fine.”

…he was threatened with a civil suit and a $10,000 fine if he left the airport’s secured area. An in-depth article from the San Diego Union-Tribune explains that Tyner was wary of full-body scanners for both health reasons and privacy concerns. He even went so far as to check the Transportation Security Administration’s website before leaving for the airport to confirm that Lindbergh Field didn’t use them. (When he arrived, he was surprised to see that the airport did indeed have them.)

The incident itself started when Tyner, 31, was directed toward the full-body scanner in the security line. Tyner refused, opting instead for the traditional metal body scan and a pat-down. When he was told that the TSA agent would have to conduct a kind of “groin check.” Tyner balked, saying, “You touch my junk and I’m going to have you arrested.”

That’s when things got interesting. Various supervisors got involved, Tyner was pulled aside, the police came by, and a supervisor told Tyner that he wouldn’t be allowed to travel unless he submitted to the check. Tyner opted to leave instead, getting a full refund for the ticket, but not before he was told that if he left the secured area he would be “subject to a civil suit and a $10,000 fine.” Tyner left anyway.

Here’s video of the incident recorded on Mr. Tyner’s cell phone which he turned on part way through:

I wonder how many people, even immediately post-9/11, would have thought that air travel would one day necessitate a government bureaucrat feeling up your crotch.

Most of us have been subjected to the ever-expanding indignities of airport security, and I wonder how many truly feel routine crotch screenings are making us any safer. Most of us would be outraged at the notion of cops randomly engaging in crotch pat downs, but we’re supposed to put up with it from TSA? Granted, the airlines ostensibly a private sort of transportation network, but the TSA is government. And the government is saying that you can’t get on a privately-owned commercial jet liner without first being subjected to groping and x-ray scans that show your naked body.

I think it’s high time we privatized airport security. Let the airlines handle it. They have the motivation (nobody is going to fly if the feel unsafe), and if the government would get off their collective backs, they’d have the resources as well.

Airport security, as long as it is in the hands of the government, is going to remain controversial. Why not let the private airlines worry about making their own flights safe, and let their customers determine what level of screening they’re willing to deal with, and leave government to its more traditional role of customs enforcement, etc? I wrote on this for the Washington Examiner not all that long ago, and I think it’s high time the idea was debated.

Of course, this will probably be anathema to most who think that government must solve all problems, but it would be preferable to forced crotch gropings at the hands of threatening government agents.

Meanwhile, I’m going to buy some of these for my flight down to Mississippi this week.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters. He writes a weekly column for several North Dakota newspapers, and also serves as a policy fellow for the North Dakota Policy Council.

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