Saturday, October 29, 2011

Dangerous Threads

Virginia is at it again. The title of Virginia's new book is DANGEROUS THREADS and it has lots of action, twists and adventure as usual. She and her husband Andy along with her friend Donna are in search of the 1933 Sears quilt contest winning quilt that was displayed at the Chicago Worlds Fair. It was later given to Mrs. Roosevelt and then it disappeared. That part is true, but in the story, it contains something of great value to the government and others who will stop at nothing to get their hands on it, including murder.
I finished the book and it is at the publisher for release in the fall of 2012. .

Monday, October 24, 2011


Traveling these days, especially by air can be trying. The airlines can be a royal pain but the real trouble can be the TAS guards. Notice I called them guards and not officers. They are NOT police officers! 

TSA personnel at airports and other places are like Mall security guards. They have as much arrest authority as Joe Public. They are government rent-a-cops.

TSA arrest authority derives from 49 USC 44903(d)(2):
[The] Secretary of Transportation may authorize an individual who carries out air transportation security duties– (2) to make arrests without warrant for an offense against the United States committed in the presence of the individual or for a felony under the laws of the United States, if the individual reasonably believes the individual to be arrested has committed or is committing a felony.

John Q Public can do this too, and John Q Public can also do it for state crimes where the TSA guard can not. 

With respect to searches and denial of transportation, Federal law at 49 USC 44902(a) allows an airline to refuse to transport:
(1) a passenger who does not consent to a search under section 44901(a) of this title establishing whether the passenger is carrying unlawfully a dangerous weapon, explosive, or other destructive substance; or (2) property of a passenger who does not consent to a search of the property establishing whether the property unlawfully contains a dangerous weapon, explosive, or other destructive substance.
In addition, 49 USC 44902(b) authorizes the denial of transportation to anyone or anything “inimical to safety”.
Nothing in either of these sections purports to grant any authority for search, to require consent for search, or to authorize denial of transportation, except on the basis of safety.  

To date, courts reviewing TSA actions have assumed that TSA searches were limited to searches for weapons, explosives, or other threats to aviation security.  Most recently, for example, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in 2007, en banc, that “the scope of such searches is not limitless. A particular airport security screening search is constitutionally reasonable provided that it ‘is no more extensive nor intensive than necessary, in the light of current technology, to detect the presence of weapons or explosives [ ] [and] that it is confined in good faith to that purpose.’” (USA v. Aukai, quoting US v. Davis, 9th Cir. 19

You do not have to comply with any TSA guards orders except as noted. 
They can also legally look at a government issued photo ID and your boarding pass to verify you are authorized to enter the secured area and that you are actually the person with the boarding pass. If you are not, they can prevent you from entering the secured area or getting on an airplane. That is reasonable.

Beyond that, they are limited to what they can do. The TSA thinks they can by executive order they can do more, but all they can LEGALLY do, if you have weapons, explosives, or other threats to aviation security is call the police and stop you from getting on an airplane.