TSA Screeners Check Luggage, Investigate Your Marriage & Personal Finances

by Chris Morran

You have to hand it to the TSA screeners at Philadelphia International Airport. Not only will they look through your stuff to
make sure you're not going to go all explosiony on the plane, they'll
also bring in the cops to call your husband to double check you haven't
embezzled money from him.


The Philadelphia Inquirer has the story of a 43-year-old woman who feels the TSA crossed a line when they went from checking her luggage to
investigating her personal life and finances.


After being pulled out of the screening line for a closer inspection, the woman's carry-ons got an in-depth look from the TSA employee:

“Everything in my purse was out, including my wallet and my checkbook. I had two prescriptions
in there. One was diet pills. This was embarrassing. A TSA officer said,
'Hey, I've always been curious about these. Do they work?'

I was just so taken aback, I said, 'Yeah.'”


Then the screener started reading her receipts.


"I understand that TSA is tasked with strengthening national security but [it] surely does not need to know what I purchased at Kohl's or
Wal-Mart," she tells the Inquirer.


During the inspection of her bag, the screener came across a deposit slip and seven checks made out to her and her husband, worth about
$8,000.


That's when the police got involved, as the TSA screener was joined by to city cops and at least four TSA officers. The woman was eventually
told the police had been notified because the checks were numbered
sequentially, a claim she denies.


She was told that the numbering was "an indication you've embezzled these checks," and that she now appeared nervous.


No shit.


When she told the officer "That's my money," she says he replied by saying, "It's not your money."


She explained that the checks had piled up while she and her husband were on vacation and that she was going to deposit them at the bank's
headquarters during the business trip they were preventing her from
going on.


The officers attempted to contact her husband via cellphone but he missed the call.


Eventually, after determining that her checks, however sequentially numbered they might have been, weren't going to blow up a plane or take
it hostage, she was allowed to continue onto her flight.


But the police continued to attempt to make contact with her husband. When they finally did, they told him they'd suspected "a divorce
situation" and that she was trying to empty their bank account. She
wasn't.


A rep for the police dept. defends the TSA, saying they were right to contact the officers because the check numbers were "almost
sequential... [They were] just checking to make sure there was nothing
fraudulent."


A TSA rep says the woman was singled out because she exhibited a "fear of discovery":

“We need to ascertain whether fear of discovery is due to the fact a person is concealing a
threatening item, be it a dangerous weapon or some kind of explosive...
If the search is complete, and shows individuals not to be a threat to
the aircraft or fellow passengers, they are free to go.”

The TSA rep also said the woman's behavior "escalated" as the investigation went on.


The traveler disagrees:

“When they decided to search me, there was nothing wrong with my behavior... I was trying to
keep a positive demeanor about everything. My behavior didn't escalate. I
did ask questions.”

The Legal Director for the Pennsylvania ACLU thinks the TSA "clearly crossed the line" in this situation, given the lack of probable cause to
examine her checks.


"None of this makes any sense except as a fishing expedition, which under the U.S. Constitution is not allowed," he says. "They can't
rummage through her personal life. I'm not surprised this woman is
outraged. She should be."

http://consumerist.com/2010/08/tsa-screeners-check-luggage-call-you...

Views: 31

Tags: Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, TSA, airport, embezzle, marriage, screeners

Comment by LYNN SHEDLER on July 17, 2011 at 5:05am
O.M.G.  that  is  the  first  I've  heard  of  this!!  And  everybody  wonders  why  the  U.S.  is  losing  revenue  from  other  countries  (Tourists)  -  that  would  do  it!!!  Even  Canadians  don't  want  to  visit  the  U. S.  -  Friends  and  Family!!  Or  a  Vacation.  I  noticed  that  the  Ads  to  come  to  the  U.S.  have  been  taken  of  the  TV.  Or  Canada  will  not  air  them...
Comment by Nikki on July 17, 2011 at 5:20am
It's true, Lynn.  The rest of the world knows we're a police state and they don't want to come here anymore.  And they don't want to buy our foreclosed properties anymore either.

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