DC Trawler

The TSA wants you to know they’re not thugs, which is why they’re confiscating your camera

Here’s the latest TSA video everybody’s talking about:

YouTube Preview Image

At the official TSA blog, Blogger Bob — yes, that’s right, Blogger Bob — responds:

A video is being widely circulated showing a shirtless boy receiving secondary screening from a Transportation Security Officer (TSO). A passenger filmed the screening with their cell phone and posted the video on the web. Many are coming to their own conclusions about what’s happening in the video which is now perched at the top of the Drudge report and being linked to in many other blogs and tweets. We looked into this to find out what happened.

On November 19, a family was traveling through a TSA checkpoint at the Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC). Their son alarmed the walk through metal detector and needed to undergo secondary screening. The boy’s father removed his son’s shirt in an effort to expedite the screening. After our TSO completed the screening, he helped the boy put his shirt back on. That’s it. No complaints were filed and the father was standing by his son for the entire procedure.

It should be mentioned that you will not be asked to and you should not remove clothing (other than shoes, coats and jackets) at a TSA checkpoint. If you’re asked to remove your clothing, you should ask for a supervisor or manager.

However, the guy who shot the video says:

Lets get the facts straight first. Before the video started the boy went through a metal detector and didn’t set it off but was selected for a pat down. The boy was shy so the TSA couldn’t complete the full pat on the young boy. The father tried several times to just hold the boys arms out for the TSA agent but i guess it didn’t end up being enough for the guy. I was about 30 ft away so i couldn’t hear their conversation if there was any. The enraged father pulled his son shirt off and gave it to the TSA agent to search, thats when this video begins…

After I finished videotaping the incident I went through the check point myself. I collected my things and went over to talk to the father and son. Before I could get to them a man in a black suit who had been talking with the other TSA officials approached me. He asked to speak to me and I obliged, wondering what was to come. He then proceeded to interrogate me about why I was videotaping the “procedures of the TSA”. I told him that I had never seen such practices before on a young child and decided to record it. The man being frustrated at this point demanded to know my plans with the video, of which I didn’t respond. Repeatedly he asked me to delete the video, hoping his mere presence could intimidate me to obey, but I refused. By this point it became obvious that he felt TSA had done something wrong and that I caught it on tape. After the interview, I left for my gate. I called my brother who told me I should put the tape on YouTube because this had been a recent hot topic in the news.

My gate was a long way off, but about 15 minutes after arriving 2 TSA agents came and sat 15 feet or so away from me. I stood up and moved so that they were in front of me and then took a picture. A 3rd and then a 4th agent came and sat down with the others. They would occasionally glance at me and talk on their walkie-talkies. I don’t know why they were there or if it was a huge coincidence but they stayed for 30-45 minutes and left just before I boarded the plan. Interesting to say the least, intimidating? Maybe a little…

Courtesy of Verum Serum, who also notes that there was yet another incident at the same San Diego airport where John Tyner made the junk-block heard ’round the world. Kimberly Dvorak at Examiner.com reports:

In what can only be described as TSA handlers gone wild, the San Diego Harbor Police arrested an area resident for refusal to complete the screening/security process yesterday…

This time the defendant, Sam Wolanyk, says he was asked to pass through the 3-D x-ray machine. When Wolanyk refused, Transportation Security Administration (TSA) personnel told him he would have to be patted down before he could pass through and board his airplane.

Wolanyk said he knew what was coming and took off his pants and shirt, leaving him in Calvin Klein bike undergarments.

“It was obvious that my underwear left nothing to the imagination,” he explained. “But that wasn’t enough for the TSA supervisor who was called to the scene and asked me to put my clothes on so I could be properly patted down…”

Once Harbor Police arrested Wolanyk, he was handcuffed and paraded through two separate airport terminals in his underwear to the Harbor Police office located inside a different terminal at the airport than Wolanyk had originally gone through during his TSA security process.

The incident was confirmed by Harbor Police Sergeant Rakos who said Wolanyk was arrested on two misdemeanors, “failing to complete the security process; violation code 7.01 and illegally recording the San Diego Airport Authority (they confiscated his iPhone); violation number 7.14 (a).”

A woman who was recording the incident was also arrested.

If people are confused and frustrated because they’re being treated like terrorist suspects for the crime of buying a plane ticket, the best thing to do is arrest them. It’s simply the best PR move possible.

Just as a reminder, the name of the Undiebomber is Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab. Before he tried to blow up that plane, he had just traveled to Yemen. Not that those two facts have anything to do with anything, of course. It’s racist to even bring them up…

We’re constantly being reminded that not all Muslims are terrorists. Well, how many small American children are terrorists?

  • Koala

    Blogger Bob needs to experiece what it feels like to be violated. It may not be a big deal to the stupid adults but the feelings of the children that are being frisked must be considered. Are we training children to accept this kind of molestation?
    Luke 17:2
    “It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones”

  • Koala

    Everyone must record all TSO interactions. If 50 people record what they see how many agents can TSA spare to harass them? If everyone who can record airport screenings everyday what can they do? Ban all recording? They probably will. But it is not only a right we have but an obligation to maintain freedom. Overwhelm the Beast.

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  • gregwbrooks

    No less than Blogger Bob himself weighed in on the legality of photographing TSA agents. Apparently individual airports can have varying rules, but the only real TSA restriction is that you can’t photograph the monitors on the equipment.

    Just for grins, I shot a photo at Ontario Airport while in California. Three shots — maybe 10-15 seconds total — and no visible monitors in the frame. In fact, I was already through with screening and on the secure side of the terminal.

    Sure enough, one agent called for another and someone came over to ask me — albeit politely — not to shoot photos (Insert grandfatherly tone: “We generally don’t like photos being taken.”). Since my camera was put away by that time, I shrugged it off.

    When I boarded my flight, there were no less than four uniformed TSA agents (including the guy I talked to) standing around, watching us board. I didn’t think anything about it at the time, but I wonder if I was getting the same eyeballing treatment as the guy in the story.

  • tree hugging sister

    An explanation may also be found in the administration’s casual pronouncement that really surprised us on World News Tonight Monday evening:


    Did you know that? All these years I never knew. I always thought it was a service I CHOSE to pay for. I guess we’re just goofy that way.

    And thank YOU, Mr. President and all your toadies, for clarifying my limitations as never before.

    • tree hugging sister

      (Dang it!!! The exact opposite, in fact.)


      So bent out of shape, I’m typing backwards.

  • memomachine


    Since when is it illegal to videotape law enforcement officers in their public duty … in public? I believe Glenn Renyolds (Instapundit.com) covered numerous examples of this kind of thinking and has pointed out that the courts have upheld the right of private citizens to videotape public servants in the performance of their public duties.

    I support the police and other LE agents in their jobs because it’s a tough one that we need them to do well. But there is no situation, other than perhaps involving undercover work, that should preclude the public from videotaping them on the job.

    • oeno

      Actually a libertarian friend usually posts stuff about police and videos. I think it depends on the state (some states have made it illegal). Different rules for the TSA.

  • Liberty for All

    You have to start blaming the individual agents for this blatantly anti-american behavior. What fool would harass a 7 year old or a nun? Just do a cursory pat and move ’em on. These guys must really believe in their mission. I was so pissed when they took my kid’s toothpaste 3 years ago. They should be ashamed.

  • DevonMcBride

    If you use a smartphone to record TSA gropings you can post the video immediately online, before TSA can intimidate or arrest anyone.