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TSA screeners win immunity from flier abuse claims: U.S. appeals court (reuters.com)
191 points by devy 35 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 134 comments



The opinion is here (should be up on the CA3 website later today): http://s000.tinyupload.com/index.php?file_id=310762278918844.... The relevant discussion starts at 12-13.

The gist of the suit is this: Ordinarily, you cannot sue the federal government (sovereign immunity). The Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA), broadly waives sovereign immunity for tort claims. An exception to that waiver of immunity is where the agent of the government commits an intentional tort (e.g. federal employee punches you, as opposed to accidentally running over your dog, which would be a negligent tort). However, that exception does not apply to law enforcement officers--under the FTCA, the federal government takes responsibility for the intentional torts of law enforcement.

Ordinarily, even if you cannot sue the government, you can sue the individual officer in his personal capacity. Under the Westfall Act, however, the FTCA is the exclusive remedy for torts of federal agents acting within the scope of their employment.

That leaves a loophole: you can sue federal law enforcement officers under the FTCA for both intentional and negligent torts. But if the federal agent is not a law enforcement officer, you can only sue her for negligent torts. The issue in this case is whether TSA agents are law enforcement officers such that you can sue the federal government for their intentional torts.

The majority holding is probably correct as a matter of statutory interpretation. Still, it puts TSA in a weird loophole, where they act like law enforcement officers (including all of the power-tripping that can result in commission of intentional torts), but can't be held liable under the FTCA like law enforcement officers. The dissent makes a good point:

> Circuit Judge Thomas Ambro dissented from Wednesday’s decision.

> “By analogizing TSA searches to routine administrative inspections, my colleagues preclude victims of TSA abuses from obtaining any meaningful remedy for a variety of intentional tort claims,” he wrote.


If they are not law enforcement, can you actively resist arrest and detainment with self defense?


TSA screeners are not authorized to make arrests or use force in the course of their duties. They will, however, call airport police, who are law enforcement officers, to do those things.


Would this be the same airport police that drags bloodied fliers from planes?

I’m a magnet for random checks in the EU - getting my laptop swabbed for bomb-making material because oooh scary stickers or something. It may very well just be my luck, but regardless I’m staying the hell away from the US just on the basis of these TSA horror stories.

You can keep your legal weed and I can keep my teeth.


> I’m staying the hell away from the US

I think that's wise. It is far from clear that, as a practical matter, the U.S. is still governed by the rule of law.

(I am a naturalized U.S. citizen, but even that doesn't give me a whole lot of confidence that the government won't fuck with me. I am having to think long and hard nowadays before saying anything critical of the U.S. government on line.)


Only come to the US if you really have to do so. I also think conferences should move elsewhere in more neutral and accepting places.

US under the name of nationalism has become quite a racist country. I have a common surname and I always get stopped and questioned because I have a certain surname. Half an hour extra for every international flight even though I am a permanent resident here.

It’s just stupid. Traveling to/from US is a menace.


I'm in roughly the same boat (I also got dogs brought out to sniff my luggage, the whole package). When I went through the US, it was surprisingly not much worse. Of course, at the time I did not really go into the states, I just made a stopover. I did have to grab my luggage in one place and take it somewhere else, going through the security everyone else had to go through (again). I got bomb swabbed, dogs were brought out, they asked me some hairy questions and I had to power all my electronics and explain what every cable in my bag did. It was terrible, but I wasn't physically harassed. I never flew through the states again.


>If they are not law enforcement, can you actively resist arrest and detainment with self defense?

There is a substantiated legal opinion that DHS men are not law enforcement officers, and thus you can. I wonder, if anybody actually tried.


Nobody has tried because nobody has ever been arrested by the TSA. The TSA calls the airport police or local police and they arrest you. It's hard to imagine a scenario where airport police will not take the TSA's word for it.


"Nobody has tried because nobody has ever been arrested by the TSA. The TSA calls the airport police or local police and they arrest you. It's hard to imagine a scenario where airport police will not take the TSA's word for it."

I was in a situation very shortly after (as in, Oct/Nov 2001) 9/11 wherein the TSA (or whatever they were at that disorganized point) called the police over and the police officer openly derided and made fun of them for both not being actual law enforcement and having no idea what to do with the situation at hand.

Things are different now, of course ...


Yeah, this makes more sense to me.

Also, the police are probably monitoring the checkpoint from somewhere in the back anyway. So they likely have you on camera before they even get to the scene.


In a lot of airports he police are at a podium right behind security watching anyways.


I've never seen it, but I wonder if that's because the guys who actually knock your head are not ever really seen at an airport security checkpoint until something happens. And then they are everywhere. I have to believe that DHS has already thought of what's being proposed here.


> But if the federal agent is not a law enforcement officer, you can only sue her for negligent torts [and not for intentional torts]

That seems backward: I can grasp the argument that inevitably people will make unintentional mistakes in the course of their job and can't be sued every time. But based on rayiner's comment, they are liable for unintentional errors but not for intentional harm?

What is the point of that? Is there some context or history in which it makes sense? Or do I misunderstand?


It's really the difference between negligence and justifiable harm.

If the officer is negligent, they're not immune. That seems to make sense to me.

If they intentionally harm you, and that harm is justified in the course of their duty (say, they hit you with a nightstick and break your arm in order to stop you from attacking someone else), then they're immune. That seems to make sense to me as well.

The problem is when they claim that the harm was necessary and justified, but that they could have -- just as safely -- de-escalated the situation another way. Then it becomes a judgment call: was this harm justified-intentional or negligent? Unfortunately the review boards and courts err on the side of the LEOs nearly universally on this one.


We're not talking specifically about non-LEOs. Remember that the GP says,

> if the federal agent is not a law enforcement officer, you can only sue her for negligent torts [and not for intentional torts]


Ugh, I meant to type:

We're talking specifically about non-LEOs

Sorry.


So if I'm a TSA agent and being sued for accidentally punching someone in the face (e.g. I tripped), I guess now it's a worthwhile defense to claim I did it intentionally and with utmost malice.


Wait..so, a federal employee, if they are not a law enforcement official, can punch you as part of their job and not get into legal trouble?


No, a federal employee can punch you while carrying out their job and the federal government does not get into legal trouble. (Is the way I understood it from reading the post above.)


If punching someone* is within the scope of their employment by the federal government and the person doing the punching is not a law enforcement officer, you cannot sue that individual for intentional torts.

*not sure why it would be, if you weren't a law enforcement personnel


An example is a military servicemember or police officer who needs to assault you to prevent you from assaulting someone else. Normally you could sue but because they're preventing you from committing a crime by use of force they have immunity.


> An example is a military servicemember ... who needs to assault you to prevent you from assaulting someone else.

A military service member has no more authority or right to do that then a Hacker News member.


If its a police officer, you can sue for intentional torts because it was committed by a "investigative or law enforcement officer".

Intentional torts against "investigative or law enforcement officers" are specifically permitted by the FTCA.

The loophole is when a federal employee is specifically not a law enforcement officer.


Sorry, I don't know who upvoted me but you're obviously right.


Just out of curiosity, doesn't this leave a large loophole for extrajudicial gangsterism if the government created a job that included, say, punching people who didn't pay their taxes?


It's not a loophole if people follow a law's explicit purpose.


(i'll say i actually gravely dislike the TSA, but think this is clearly the right result)

"The majority holding is probably correct as a matter of statutory interpretation."

Yeah, agreed. Reading this statute, it's fairly clear it was not meant to apply here, but it does raise the sad issue of "we've separated these jobs enough to create a loophole".

If they were designated LEOs, they'd clearly fall under the statute, even when performing administrative searches. By making them line employees with no officer authority, they've avoided this.

While i agree the dissent makes a good point, it's also unclear to me they should be able to make a federal torts case of this given the state of the world. First, dissent is hand-wavy on this point: '“By analogizing TSA searches to routine administrative inspections, my colleagues preclude victims of TSA abuses from obtaining any meaningful remedy for a variety of intentional tort claims,”"

They can and did file a claim with the TSA. The TSA simply denied it.

You need more than them denying it to say "it's not meaningful". IE you can't just wave your hand and say they denied it so it's not meaningful, you'd have to show data that says filing these claims is not producing meaningful results when it should.

Instead, they simply provide data that there have been less than 200 administrative complaints (out of 700 million screened!), and no data about how they have been resolved (and if you aren't getting due process, you can in fact make out a claim about that!)

They also did settle the property damage claim.

Beyond that, while i generally think complaints should be resolvable through a sane process (hence my argument about the data on claims made to the TSA), i strongly disbelieve that every bad interaction with a TSA line employee should be actionable in federal court as a tort.

(i'm also not going to argue about the efficacy, etc of the TSA. As long as air travel remains not a fundamental right, the rest of this legal reality sadly comes along for the ride)

Here, they actually did what they were supposed to - they didn't start a fight, beat this person down, etc. Instead, they went to their supervising officer and said "we believe were were assaulted, please call the police"

There is apparently strong disagreement on the interaction that led to this happening, and the entire suit is about what happened after that (the arrest, etc).

I believe the result is correct as to these people, who did not actually arrest or prosecute them. That decision was made by others, based on review of evidence, etc.

They are not suing any of the people who made those decisions, claiming lack of evidence (i'm aware a bunch of them are immune, but not all of them) etc, they are suing the people that they had the bad interaction with.

They also could have asked the government for westfall certification (They didn't), which would let them sue the screeners personally.

All in all, i just don't see the badness in this ruling that others do.


I wonder if an "administrative complaint" is somehow different from the TSA grievance process. The number of grievances appears to be rising and is far more than 200, in the first three quarters of 2017 they had 6,700 grievances filed.[0]

There are reasons to suspect that the TSA isn't adequately following up on these grievances. I can't find any new data, but in 2013 the Government Account Office (GAO) complained that the TSA didn't really have a process in place.[1]

"TSA does not have a process for conducting reviews of misconduct cases to verify that TSA staff at airports are complying with policies and procedures for adjudicating employee misconduct."

[0]: https://www.travelersunited.org/tsaairline-security/tsa-comp...

[1]: https://consumerist.com/2013/07/30/tsa-misconduct-cases-on-t...


Not making them LEO's is one of the ways they get around the 4th amendment, if they LEO with the ability to criminally charge people well now you are making a Criminal Search and the 4th amendment kicks in.

Law enforcement is not allowed to search people in a free nation unless there is probable cause a crime has been committed.

personally I think the TSA is a 4th amendment violation as they stand but....

>As long as air travel remains not a fundamental right

Freedom of movement is a fundamental Right. Airport security was fine when it was a non-governmental process imposed as a condition of carriage by the private airline companies. It becomes a problem when it is government agents doing to searching.

One should not be subjected to searches by government agents as a condition of being allowed to travel


I don't think this is accurate. First: there are lots of places that actual police officers conduct administrative searches; for instance, any time you go to court. Second: if the TSA finds contraband during a search, you can be arrested for it, and that happens routinely. Yes, the airport police arrest you, not the TSA, but the arrest is based on evidence from the TSA's search.

Do a Google search for [administrative search fourth amendment] for more details.


>>First: there are lots of places that actual police officers conduct administrative searches; for instance, any time you go to court.

This is where we start threading the needle on what a "search" is, the courts rules awhile back that a Metal Detector is not a search and I have never been to a government building where I had to do through more than Metal Detector and they did not Search me beyond that basic metal detection,

TSA however is employing much more than simple metal detectors which should be (and I believe is) considered a search, that is not even talking about the extended "pat down" these are far far far far more invasive than anything done at a court house

>>Do a Google search for [administrative search fourth amendment] for more details.

yes I am aware the Supreme Court has failed in its duty to uphold the constitution as written, and have more or less made Swiss cheese out of every protection from government intrusion in to a citizens life where police and government more or less have unlimited powers today... That has no bearing on my point.

The Constitution today is a document with no authority because the Supreme Court has granted the Government soo many exemptions to every single provision to it that we might as well not even have a Constitution...

Lucky they are starting, slowly and painfully, to claw back some rights for citizens, but the reality we find ourselves in for the US is one of where the Government has far far far far more power and authority than the constitution plainly allows, the TSA is a prime example of that


As long as we agree that we're operating in different planes, mine where the Supreme Court matters and yours where it doesn't, I'm comfortable with us agreeing to disagree here.


Yeah, there aren't that many complaints because they throw them away and most people know there's no point in filing a complaint in the first place. You get assaulted or molested by the TSA, you live with it.


<any supporting data needed>


So who's responsible for abuse by the TSA now or is the TSA and its officers totally immune from illegal acts?


The TSA has an administrative process for filing claims (like most agencies). They went through that and it was denied. There is no claim in that lawsuit that the process was not fair or reasonable.


We investigated ourselves and found we did nothing wrong....

Classic


Not quite - usually these processes are handled by appointed administrative law judges who are not directly associated with the agency.

In DHS's case, i don't remember what they do. But the process is usually not quite that dumb.


It's a bit ridiculous that the only process for this sort of thing is a recipe for bias and lack of justice. If an agency that is known for incompetence and overreach is simply allowed to investigate itself, without any independent oversight, I don't have much faith that complaints are given a fair hearing.


It's not quite that stupid - see my other comment.

It's usually an ALJ.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Administrative_law_judge#List_...

I admit to not remebering how DHS does it though.

madengr 35 days ago [flagged]

Now, can you assault one without some sort of trumped up federal charge?


"...can you assault one without some sort of trumped up federal charge?..."

???

Genuinely curious here, if a person assaults someone who works for the federal government, (or even the local government for that matter), and they charge him/her for that assault...

is that charge really "trumped up"?

I thought that there were actually laws against that?

Isn't "trumped up" when you DON'T actually assault the federal or local government person and they SAY that you did in order to charge you with a crime?


Assault/battery are state law crimes or civil torts. But 18 USC 111 makes it a federal crime to assault any federal employee (not just law enforcement officers) in the performance of her duties. Presumably, OP is referring to the idea that having special laws to make assault a federal, rather than state, crime is "trumped up."


For the record, citizens have been arrested and tried for assault on a federal employee for passing gas in the presence of TSA, and for having an erection during a pat-down/groping after refusing the millimeter-wave body scan. (of course no weapons or contraband were present.)

Yes, you read that correctly -- a felony charge. it's as absurd as it sounds.


So wait, is OP saying that 18 USC 111 is a "trumped up" law?


"Trumped up" in 99% of cases means "I don't like this law in the incredibly specific scenario I've made up in my head."


99% sounds like a trumped up stat.


> She and her husband had sued for false arrest, false imprisonment and malicious prosecution over a July 2006 altercation at Philadelphia International Airport.

Why does it take 12 years to get this far in a case? It seems like a right to a speedy trial should apply to civil cases too.


The civil suit was filed in 2009, and took 5 years to go to trial. It looks like nobody was in a hurry--the plaintiff filed a ton of motions to extend various filing deadlines. Then the appeal was slowed down because the plaintiff was proceeding pro se. After briefing was complete, the court, apparently not wanting to leave these issues to the pro se briefs, ordered appointment of amicus curiae counsel on behalf of the plaintiff, along with further briefing.


> It seems like a right to a speedy trial should apply to civil cases too.

It doesn't apply to civil cases, and it doesn't apply to the suing party in any case: it applies to the defense (only) in criminal cases. Read the Sixth Amendment.

If you’d like to change that, there is a process for Constitutional Amendments. There are good reasons attached to the impacts of pending criminal charges (which can include pre-trial detention or restrictive bail terms) why speed is prioritized over other factors as a right of criminal defendants and not litigants generally, though.


It's also worth noting that most defendants never go to trial, and those who do mostly waive the right to a speedy trial.

Speedy trial is more a right in theory than in practice these days.


More and more most rights seem to in theory only, for example a person is suppose to have to right to be free from searches unless there is probable cause they have committed a crime... except <<<insert a list 1000 miles long of other times government can search you>>>


> It's also worth noting that most defendants never go to trial, and those who do mostly waive the right to a speedy trial.

In terms of the right to study and public trial, that's kind of the ideal case, though the first part key be problematic for other reasons. If the government internalizes the speedy trial protection so as to not charge people until it is ready, or nearly do, to prosecute, then delay will usually be in the interest of the defense, who will not likely be prepared in advance of the initiation of the prosecution.

If the right had to be regularly invoked, that would be the sign of a serious problem.


I don't understand, shouldn't them not functioning as “investigative or law enforcement officers” expose them to more liability, not less??


Yes, if it wasn't for another law that protects federal employees in general doing their job from being sued for... doing their job.


I believe LEOs are given immunity so long as they act in "good faith," e.g. the "I feared for my life" defense.


The exceptions to the exceptions to the exceptions on immunity are confusing. You seem to be referring to self-defense cases, which are something else altogether and not limited to law enforcement.


> You seem to be referring to self-defense cases, which are something else altogether and not limited to law enforcement.

You're right, that particular situation is not limited to law enforcement. Really, I'm conflating a number of protections[0] to things like erroneously seized evidence, protection from civil liability, etc.

[0] - http://www.policemag.com/channel/patrol/articles/2007/06/the...


If they are not LEO, then they do not have the power to detain people, do they? That means effectively the false imprisonment is actually kidnapping?


TSA agents don't detain you. They call police who do. The response time is in seconds.


Smells like a loophole. Doesn't that violate the spirit of the law?


Only if you assume that the relevant police are operating blindly at the request of the TSA officer. If they're doing their jobs... then they should themselves be checking that this event does in fact call for detainment.

It would be the same with mall security calling an actual police officer. Or you calling 911 on someone else. The officer should still be operating with autonomy, and can turn down your request to detain when its unnecessary or unreasonable (though I would imagine these psuedo-authorities are provided benefit of the doubt)


This is very unfortunate. I guess there are no chances for this to change in this congress.


The judge was another one of Kennedy's clerks.

No surprise there.


> they do not function as “investigative or law enforcement officers.”

But they can arrest people?


[flagged]


Please don't post flamebait to HN. It leads to off-topic flamewars.

https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html


Sorry! I really hadn't intended it as flamebait, just a mild quip over the absolute futility of the situation. I honestly thought it would fit in with the HN consensus regarding the TSA.


I believe you! But comments like that are the first term of an infinite sequence leading to hell.

The main insight is we're all responsible for what follows what we post. It's a bit weird, but it's a model that actually works. I think of it as similar to how one handles fire in other places, like campsites or gas stations.


Yeah. I had thought that given the topic, I was at a campsite and not a gas station.


And you accomplished nothing. . .

Seriously, most of these people are not "fascist child molesters" and probably already hate their job. Congrats on making them view the general population as people they detest a little more.


>probably already hate their job

These are people who chose to opt into a career where they perpetuate security theater on to millions of fellow citizens, waste our time, offer no tangible benefit, and collect a paycheck and pension for the privilege of doing so.

I _hope_ they hate their job.


>These are people who chose to opt into a career where they perpetuate security theater on to millions of fellow citizens, waste our time, offer no tangible benefit, and collect a paycheck and pension for the privilege of doing so.

These people took an open job because they needed one. Do you believe the people serving you burgers at McDonalds did it because they believe in the corporate mission of the restaurant? Also, all of the things you listed are not things that can be equated with child molestation. At worst they are inefficiencies in our system. Calling someone names does not get rid of those inefficiencies. It just creates more animosity.


That's the point, there are _other_ jobs they should have taken because these jobs were knee-jerk reactionary responses that shouldn't exist to begin with.

I don't support McD's however I'm sure you could be describing a generic fast food place. You really can't compare working fast food to working for the government. People work for the government for a whole lot more different reasons then working fast food type jobs. For one, it's 100x easier to get a job at McDriveThrough then it is to get hired on as a federal employee. I'm talking from personal experience here.

I didn't say anything about molesting children. You are confusing my comment there with someone else's. I'm also not calling anyone names.

At the very _best_ what I'm describing are inefficiencies in our system, and anyone who's working for that system is part of the problem.


They all are!

Normal people just choose another job.


I'm pretty sure "normal people" don't have such a strong opinion about the TSA. I'm also pretty sure these "normal people" don't have the skills or capital to just change jobs on a whim.


Are we supposed to make them feel all happy and warm about violating our rights? They should feel miserable for what they do.


I'm 100% sure this never happened.


That's incredibly cowardly of you.

You're using "fighting words" which is not speech that is protected under the first amendment.

The common response to fighting words like this is a fistfight. In this case you're making a coward's bet that they value their source of income enough not to kick your ass.

A police officer might have (legally) arrested you for trying to start a fight.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fighting_words#United_States


Given that it's political speech, and given that I am unable to state this opinion in the direct venue - while I'm being assaulted and detained by them - I think it's justified. Or at least worth playing the grey areas if we're doing any individual action to stand up for our rights. Also, I was a decade younger.

I don't see how anything you've said supports the characterization of "cowardly", unless you mean I was wrong to say something that could be classified as "fighting words" and then not back it up with fighting.


It's about as brave as a redneck driving by some black kids screaming ###### at them. Seriously, you are characterizing people that may just check some ID's as child molesters. You sound unhinged.


I think it would have been perfectly reasonable for German citizens to make uniformed members of the SS feel uncomfortable and unwanted by means short of violence.

Is this situation different? Is the difference one of quality or quantity?


Are you seriously asking if the situation of the TSA is different than the situation of the SS in Nazi Germany?


Yes.

It appears to be provoking a kneejerk response from people who don't want to address the question.


It's not political speech. It's you being an asshole which, under other circumstances, could well lead to someone punching you in the face.


Sure, I'll take the characterization of being an asshole. But I don't see how that's much of an indictment, as the situation is well beyond the point of social decorum.

Which is the whole problem - the "breach of the peace" occurred when the uniformed gang setup shop to assault, detain, and molest people. What I did was to just not entirely peacefully assent to their rule, which necessarily involves shooting from behind trees. We certainly could use more of it, lest we want to end up having to literally shoot from behind trees.


There are much more effective ways you could protest the TSA. Mouthing off to random employees in a grocery store was clearly not chosen based on effectiveness but laziness, so don't lie to yourself about the lack of venues. It's cowardly because you wouldn't use fighting words like this in a context where you believed they might respond like many reasonable people would: with a punch in the mouth.

You're hiding behind their own civility and restraint. The same way many women think they can freely attack a man under the assumption that many men don't want to hit a women. It's cowardly to use someone else's self-control as a weapon against them.

And you should realize that your personal opinion that they're fascists and child molesters is not even close to a proven fact. It's a slanderous and exaggerated characterization that very few reasonable people would agree with, even those that do not like the TSA at all. Try reporting their "child molestation" to any law enforcement anywhere in the world. No judge and no jury would convict them of your charge. It's not so much different from calling a doctor that checks a child's testicles for problems a molester. Context makes all the difference legally and ethically. You disagree with the ethics but that doesn't make you right. Legally there's no question that you're wrong.


> There are much more effective ways you could protest the TSA

I didn't ask myself the best way to protest the TSA, and then choose to go find some agents in a grocery store. I was there to buy groceries, which I still accomplished.

> you wouldn't use fighting words like this in a context where you believed they might respond like many reasonable people would: a punch in the mouth

I think our disagreement is fundamentally based on your considering it reasonable for someone to respond violently to a verbal insult? This is going to depend entirely on personal and local culture, and I do not have such expectation. I'm used to the response being a quicker retort, and going your separate ways. If someone resorts to starting a fight it's an automatic loss in the court of public opinion.

> your personal opinion that they're fascists and child molesters

They're patently fascist, having power due to the synergy of government and corporations. Ping-ponging between the two legal regimes is the basis of being able to force you into a warrantless search, yet still dole out federal penalties.

And they're plainly molesters - both with the rummaging through our personal effects, and every time one of their hands brushes my nuts. I personally don't have direct evidence to warranty "child" (although I would imagine they would have to be fondling them too?), but it is a concept our society understands.


>It's cowardly because you wouldn't use fighting words like this in a context where you believed they might respond like many reasonable people would: a punch in the mouth.

Fighting words - with regard to insults - is a purely childish concept. No reasonable person would punch someone in the mouth over an insult. The word you're looking for is immature - not reasonable.


>* The best interaction I ever had with the TSA was when I came upon a pair openly wearing their uniforms around a grocery store, so I was able to call them fascist child molesters right to their faces.*

I'm no fan of the TSA, but do you think that was productive?

Maybe direct your ire at the people at the top who make these policies instead.

There's been progress on that front with several Trump administration officials confronted while dining for example.


First, and more clearcut, I don't think ire should be limited. Those who voluntarily participate in enforcing the current system are not exempt from the fallout of their choices any more than much of HN would suggest engineers be exempt from the ethical decisions of our employment. Look recently, people are saying Microsoft employees should quit because MS sells office products to ICE. If that's the line in the sand we're drawing, "working directly for the TSA" seems pretty well and truly over it. (Full disclosure, I'm actually not sold on this "hard" stance, but TSA seems more of a slam dunk than office products in terms of complicity, and if I regardless put myself in the eyes of someone who DOES believe this stance...)

There's a fair discussion about "was the way you confronted them that of a professional adult" but at the end of the day, I'm finding it hard to honestly be too upset at the language used outside of a very token "tsk tsk". TSA has not had a history of treating my wife and I respectfully so it's difficult to reciprocate, and can even see the argument that by adding social friction to working there you erode their ability to push policies like this if workers go "wait this may be a bad idea that may make people really angry at us." ESPECIALLY now that there's no real legal recourse outside of petitioning congress.

(An anecdote: I was very sick going through security recently, extremely sleep deprived and falling over without support, they pulled us over to secondary screening and refused to let me sit down while they were checking my bags, ended up vomiting into a trashcan while the agent gave me lip. Turns out all this was over a pair of nail clippers the wife forgot she had packed... and on the RETURN trip.)


> Turns out all this was over a pair of nail clippers the wife forgot she had packed...

Nail clippers are not allowed now!? I fly with nail clippers all the time (including to/from the US) and have never had an issue. Looking at the TSA site, nail clippers are explicitly permitted as well [1]. Was the agent actively looking to hassle you?

[1] https://www.tsa.gov/travel/security-screening/whatcanibring/...


To be precise: These were the type that look like "tiny curved scissors" with a ~half inch long tip that curves along the end of the finger, not the "squeeze to close" types. [0] (From my googling, maybe "eyebrow trimmers"? I have no idea. In either case, a hilariously impractical weapon, I can see how someone might construe it as "real scissors" if I'm being very generous, but the way we were handled was unacceptable.)

[0] https://www.alamy.com/stock-photo-chromium-scissors-scissor-...


This is just one of the many problems with the TSA: their policies are randomly and inconsistently enforced.


I wouldn't put it past them.


I mean, do you stop and harangue off duty police officers? Members of the military?

Both are complicit in far worse IMHO.


I would have taken that opportunity to throw up on the agent.


Please don't do this here.


I think you may be underestimating the number of agents who have been thrown up on. (And the number who have had to call for cleanups for vomit that did not land on them, and medical personnel for the ill traveler, is even larger.) The thing is though, that's what they signed up for. If they can't handle vomit, they should look for another job.

From a certain point of view, it's better for the TSA agent to be soiled with vomit than it is to allow a potentially contagious passenger on what may be a very long flight.


Actually, I made no estimations at all. In this person's scenario, I would have simply enjoyed throwing up on them.

It's the little things. As he stated, the agent wouldn't let him sit down and it was over a pair of nail clippers. Perhaps the vomit wouldn't have made them blink at all, doesn't mean I wouldn't get some form of enjoyment out of it. Sounds like the agent was being a prick. Are we surprised?


It's not an either-or ;-)


Heh point taken.

I'm no slave to civility by any means, but I am mindful that screaming at a couple off duty agents trying to shop, who I've had no prior interaction with, probably does not help my cause ;-)


I didn't "scream", but stated. They ended up making the scene, I did not. We've all got pent up frustration, but when dealing with thugs they're inevitably going to try to escalate - so you need to remain calm.

I do think it is useful to influence what is perceived as being the general consensus. Both generally for public opinion, and specifically to undermine the organization's morale. In fact, that's also what my comment was doing here - given that courts have no problem continuing to bless this fascism, it's about the only hope we've got.

How much of the support for say the Iraq war was due to simple herd consensus - that feeling that you expect any arbitrary person to be in general support of it, and thus talking about it will likely just lead to an irreconcilable argument? "Support the troops" is a motte-and-bailey setup.


So you simply stated, in a polite way "Excuse me, but I'd just like to note that, in my estimate, you two are fascist child molesters. This concludes my political statement of opinion. Good day."? I'm just having trouble imagining how you politely call someone a fascist child molester.


> There's been progress on that front with several Trump administration officials confronted while dining for example.

Normalizing the harassment of elected officials is dangerous and it puts us on a direct path towards politically-motivated random acts of violence.


You mean like when the now president of the United States did it?


> You mean like when the now president of the United States did it?

Is this in regards to the "birther movement" or was he harassing politicians in the real world?


There is a difference between exercising your freedom of speech and the social justice warrior crusading that the parent commenter is advocating.

Nobody is above criticism, that much is certain, but we shouldn't cross the River Styx into a world where random acts of violence is the preferred method of political expression.


"There is a difference between exercising your freedom of speech and the social justice warrior crusading that the parent commenter is advocating."

Tell us, what exactly is that difference? What's the difference between going up to Scott Pruitt (when he was the EPA director) and telling him what an awful job he's doing, and when Trump tweets out a gif showing him performing wrestling moves on a personified CNN? Or when he calls journalists the "enemies of the people"?

"Nobody is above criticism, that much is certain, but we shouldn't cross the River Styx into a world where random acts of violence is the preferred method of political expression."

And where the hell is violence being done? Last I saw, the calls for violence have been from the Trump camp.


Sure. But when the government is forcibly separating asylum seeking families up, and putting the children in cages.

And the response from the government is that either it's fake news or that they just don't care.

To a lot of people this is an injustice. And they have no avenue to demand change.

These people ruin lives. Imagine what kind of mental trauma these children will have for the rest of their lives.

And they get upset that people don't treat them with respect when they go about their lives.


It's a slippery slope to "politically-motivated acts of violence" in this country. Boom. A direct, slippery, direct path. We better watch out. Yelling at a bad person eating in a Mexican restaurant could be the new Fort Sumter.

Anyway, gotta jet and get home. Probably gonna walk past the only abortion clinic within 500 miles that has bulletproof glass windows and got firebomed for like the 30th time last week and over the past 20 years by right-wing terrorists. This is normal and not strange at all. I do it every day I'm not working from home.


> politically-motivated random acts of violence

Or see it headed off by declaration of martial law.


It's the exact reason the Roman Republic failed!

The powerful political actors realized they could just physically intimidate and impede their opponents with gangs. No one that believes in a functioning society should support politically motivated violence of any kind.


What do you think a war is, if not "politically motivated violence"?


Politics in this context clearly means internal politics but there are many different causes of war. Many wars have been fought in self-defense, for example to challenge a foreign invasion.


Do you believe the US is in a state of civil war?


"Maybe direct your ire at the people at the top who make these policies instead."

These agents still choose to carry out those policies.


> There's been progress on that front with several Trump administration officials confronted while dining for example.

What is the progress / outcome? Have there been any changes in policy resulting from public confrontations?


Nope. Just a bunch of people circle jerking over accosting officials in public and recording it.


The resignation of Scott Pruitt.


> The resignation of Scott Pruitt.

I hadn't realized that was his stated reason[0] for doing so.

Thank you for providing a real answer instead of just downvoting and moving along!

[0] - https://www.cnn.com/2018/07/05/politics/scott-pruitt-epa-res...


> There's been progress on that front with several Trump administration officials confronted while dining for example.

No there hasn't. It just makes everyone think these are petulant children. They ask for respect and equality of others but don't wish to give it to anyone who doesn't agree with their ideology.


"They ask for respect and equality of others but don't wish to give it to anyone who doesn't agree with their ideology."

In this case, "doesn't agree with their ideology" actually means, "Believes that many classes of people don't deserve human rights".


What's funny about your comment is that it's ambiguous whether you're calling the Trump officials or the protestors yelling at them petulant children.


Why does it have to be either/or? It could be both/and.

But in the instance of the comment in question, I think it was pretty clear that it was the protesters who were acting like petulant children.


That's it. I'm never gonna come to United States.

I no longer see United States as free, democratic and safe country to visit. United States usurps itself power to do whatever they want with me upon its soil. My electronic devices searched through, my social accounts surrendered, my belongings damaged or stolen on a whim of TSA without right to appeal or get reimbursed, I can be detained for however long U.S. wants without any judicial procedure.

Working in IT for large companies, I have been asked to come to US on few occasions but fortunately I have always been able to avoid this. Now I am going to straight decline based on the fact that I don't feel safe coming there.


Hate to say it, but that's exactly what Trump wants (you to not come to the States) :/


"“For most people, TSA screenings are an unavoidable feature of flying,” but it is “squarely in the realm” of Congress to expand liability for abuses, Circuit Judge Cheryl Ann Krause wrote."

How on earth is the TSA not already covered under those laws? This is why I can't get behind "originalist" judges; they interpret the laws and the Constitution too literally. Because the TSA wasn't explicitly named under the act (likely because they didn't exist back then), they don't qualify?


An orginalist would rule the TSA unconstitutional on several fronts... not the least of which 4th Amendment, 10th Amendment, Article I Section 8, etc.


Not if that's not the question before the court.


So in other words not only can the tsa arrest and likely even beat, shoot, and kill you, but as a citizen you have no recourse, not even the recourse you would have against normal police. In other words, they truly are above the law even more so than police. Please tell me I misunderstood this article. I'd like to know how this lady got arrested. Shouldn't they just have kicked her out of the airport instead? Or did they know they would not be held responsible and just went ahead and kidnapped her anyway?


The TSA aren't armed so I'm curious how they'd ever shoot anyone. When has a TSA officer ever killed someone in the exercise of his or her duties?

Detention at an airport security checkpoint is not kidnapping.


It's not part of TSA duties to arrest someone either, but they did it somehow, so that means they could pack their own gun and kill people too or do any number of things that is not part of their duties.

https://www.tsa.gov/blog/2016/07/03/tsa-myth-busters-do-tsa-...


No they don't. They call the police and the police arrest you.




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