San Diego Airport Says Recording TSA Gropings Is An Arrestible Offense?

from the not-cool dept

We already covered the guy who was arrested after stripping down for the TSA, highlighting how one of the charges was his failure to complete the security procedure (after stripping down, he pointed out there was no need for a pat down...). However, there was a second charge that was even more troubling that actually deserves a separate post, which is that he was also charged with "illegally recording the San Diego Airport Authority." I was trying to figure out the exact rule (listed as 7.14a), and some of the folks over at Flyertalk have posted the full 7.14 rule (or you can see the full San Diego Airport Authority rules (pdf) if you'd like):
(a) No person shall take still, motion or sound motion pictures or voice recordings on the facilities and airports under the jurisdiction of the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority (the "Authority") without written permission from the Authority's Executive Director or his or her designee.

(b) Filming of X-ray equipment located on the facilities and airports under the jurisdiction of the Authority is strictly prohibited. Any person(s) caught filming such X-ray equipment may have their film confiscated.
I'm having trouble seeing how this rule can possibly be legal -- especially with all the stories today of TSA agents abusing (or simply not understanding) the new rules. Recording the interactions with the TSA seems like an essential step in making sure that personal liberties are respected. Making that illegal raises all sorts of questions. And while this is specific to San Diego Airport, it makes me wonder if there are similar restrictions elsewhere.

Just a few months ago, we pointed out how law enforcement and the courts were abusing wiretap laws to find people guilty of wiretapping for recording law enforcement in public places. Thankfully, some courts have pushed back on such cases, and it seems like this is a situation where declaring an outright ban on videotaping within the airport is a restriction that doesn't make any sense at all.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    :Lobo Santo (profile), Nov 23rd, 2010 @ 10:21am

    Eh?

    "...and it seems like this is a situatioin where declaring an outright ban on videotaping within the airport is a restriction that doesn't make any sense at all."
    situatioin?

     

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  2.  
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    sehlat (profile), Nov 23rd, 2010 @ 10:27am

    Sure it makes sense.

    John 3:20
    New International Version (©1984)
    Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.

    Short form: You have no right to know how badly we're screwing up.

     

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  3.  
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    bwp (profile), Nov 23rd, 2010 @ 10:27am

    How can this be "illegal"?

     

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  4.  
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    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Nov 23rd, 2010 @ 10:27am

    I can quote two things with this

    1) Who watches the watchers

    2) If you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear.

    As much as the second one should apply to the TSA agents in this situation, I still will have to go with the first.

     

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  5.  
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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Nov 23rd, 2010 @ 10:29am

    Jeez

    Even the TSA, at least officially doesn't go that far.

     

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  6.  
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    bwp (profile), Nov 23rd, 2010 @ 10:33am

    How can this be "illegal"?

    Just because an authority has rules doesn't make breaking them ILLEGAL. I don't see how this person can be charged with anything. Who is he being charged by? If it's the Authority then they have no power to charge anyone with anything. If it's the city or county then what law are they using as the basis of the charge?

     

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  7.  
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    Yaniel (profile), Nov 23rd, 2010 @ 10:36am

    this was what jumped out at me as well when I read your last post and put it in the comments. I guess not allowing recording just guarantees that it's their "word" versus ours, and we know who will win that...

     

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  8.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Nov 23rd, 2010 @ 10:37am

    Holding tactic

    If this is a recent rule. Then it was implemented as a holding tactic to prevent people from filming the screw ups until all the protest about the naked scanners dies down.

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 23rd, 2010 @ 10:37am

    These people have an unusual relationship with their X-ray equipment...

    Precious, precious X-ray machine, yesss... NO! No pictures! No one takes photos of her! SHE'S MINE, YOU UNDERSTAND?!

    ooh yeah, baby, irradiate me again...

     

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  10.  
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    corvettekenny, Nov 23rd, 2010 @ 10:40am

    No charges filed?

    I looked at the San Diego county courts page this morning. There's neither a civil case or criminal case listed for Sam Wolanyk, who was arrested yesterday for that very "offense". Did the DA refuse to prosecute?

     

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  11.  
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    fogbugzd (profile), Nov 23rd, 2010 @ 10:43am

    Apparently TSA can videotape searches, edit out the parts where they look bad, and then release them to the press. But the public can't.

     

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  12.  
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    sehlat (profile), Nov 23rd, 2010 @ 10:55am

    Re: No charges filed?

    If the DA refused to prosecute, he or she is showing a lot more sense than than anybody else involved in the incident.

     

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  13.  
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    Rich Kulawiec, Nov 23rd, 2010 @ 10:56am

    Apropos post on this very topic from Boing Boing

    Please see: http://www.boingboing.net/2010/11/23/call-the-tsas-office.html which explains that photography of TSA checkpoints is permitted by explicit TSA policy and gives the phone number to call if one is unlawfully harassed for doing so.

    I'm thinking that a lot of us need to have that phone number handy.

     

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  14.  
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    weneedhelp (profile), Nov 23rd, 2010 @ 10:57am

    What good fortune for governments that the people do not think.

     

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  15.  
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    Steven (profile), Nov 23rd, 2010 @ 10:58am

    Sound

    Seems it's perfectly within the rules to make sound only recordings. Not that it makes the restriction any more sane.

     

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  16.  
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    AJ, Nov 23rd, 2010 @ 11:04am

    Odd

    I heard somone on the radio say that this was because they don't want the bad guys to see how they are searching. But If this will keep the sheeple safe, who cares? I would think they would want to see TSA groping 3 year old boys, nuns, and a girl with a fake breast, would that not deter them?

    I would be like... "OMG OMAR! They're sticking their hands up a nuns habit!...... DAMN! they made that dude piss himself!... WOW... are they molesting a 3 year old!!!??? These guys aren't playing around!... quick, back to the camel cave to re-thing this!.....

     

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  17.  
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    Matt Ronas, Nov 23rd, 2010 @ 11:05am

    We aren't allowed to photograph TSA molesting others, but they can take nude cancer-inducing photographs of every passenger?

    Yeah, that makes sense /s

     

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  18.  
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    DogBreath, Nov 23rd, 2010 @ 11:05am

    SDAA may find out they don't have a legal leg to stand on when this gets to court...

    if this interesting post turns out to be true, Traveler arrested in San Diego for 'failure to complete security process'...Operation Grab Ass taken from the comment posted by mvoccaus:

    Hi, the following is not legal advice and is for entertainment purposes only.

    The TSA is a federal government agency. They do not have any codes or policies regarding audio or video recording so long as such audio or video recording does not interfere with the security screening process.

    San Diego International Airport is in the county of San Diego and is subject to the codes and policies of the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority. That is the agency that is prohibiting recording. The code in question is located at http://www.san.org/documents/corp_serv/Codes/Article%207/Code%207.14%20Filming.pdf

    Under that code, no pictures, video, or audio can be taken anywhere at the facility or of the facility. If you sent your friend a picture message from your phone at the airport letting him or her know you arrived safely, you are in violation of the code under the letter of the law. Shit, using your cell phone at the airport is a violation of the code. That's not the spirit (intent) of the law, but that is the letter (literal interpretation) of the law.

    However, the United States Constitution does not recognize cities or counties, it only recognizes states. In other words, any municipality or sub-state agency inherits from the state their power and abilities to create laws in their jurisdiction. However, because of this rule of inheritance, and because of the incorporation doctrine of the 14th amendment of the Constitution, your Bill of Rights applies to every level of government: Federal, State, County, Regional, Municipal, etc.

    But that only applies to government agencies. Some airports are privately owned. In which case, they set the rules. They can take away your cameras, prohibit any sort of talking, and require everyone to be naked in the terminal and prohibit clothing altogether. However, San Diego International Airport is publicly owned, so all your Bill of Rights still apply. Therefore, there's a Constitutional conflict of SAN Airport banning the capturing of audio or video if any kind because it is so vaguely written and encroaches on the freedom-of-the-press clause of the 1st Amendment of the Constitution. In all likelihood, the law is unenforceable it its current form and could be nullified in a Federal court.

     

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  19.  
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    MikeC (profile), Nov 23rd, 2010 @ 11:08am

    Suprised this took this long to come up...

    I can't believe it took this long for someone to bring this up in an official capacity. I am sure filming security checkpoints and procedures would be considered a security violation. It's not surprising someone is intending to try and enforce this for all the wrong reasons.

    I does however make sense that you don't want people filming your security process, it makes it easier to try and find a way around them, to study them. Not that they are effective, but it is what it is.

    I am sure it's illegal to film many installations for security reasons, this would seem to be a reasonable case and tough to argue against even if the rule is being mis-used as it is in this case.

    I would expect this one to be tough one to win in a court case.. but I feel people should continue to do this as a non-violent act of civil disobedience necessary for the preservation of what little individual rights we have left. If everyone films it will be real tough to put them all in jail.

     

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  20.  
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    Andrew (profile), Nov 23rd, 2010 @ 11:09am

    Film?

    What's "film"? I'm imagining an awesome loophole exists here. Keep a spare can of 35mm film in your pocket to hand over?

     

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  21.  
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    Designerfx (profile), Nov 23rd, 2010 @ 11:09am

    small typo

    a situatioin where

    last paragraph.

     

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  22.  
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    Michial Thompson, Nov 23rd, 2010 @ 11:15am

    Legalities

    I would kinda wonder what authority that they are trying to arrest him inder as well?

    While I am no fan of anyone and everyone pointing a camera at me any time they damn well feel like it, I would think that this the TSA positions would be subject to pretty mych anyone recording them any time, especially if the recording party is the one being harrassed.

    I went from 150k miles a year flying to less than 30k miles because of the BS they implemented after 9-11, and with the new stripsearch or molestation policy my flying went to ZERO and now will remain at ZERO until this crap is fixed.

     

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  23.  
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    :Lobo Santo (profile), Nov 23rd, 2010 @ 11:16am

    Re: small typo

    way to read that first comment... good hustle.

     

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  24.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 23rd, 2010 @ 11:16am

    Re: Eh?

    it's their rules not ours.

     

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  25.  
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    Josh in CharlotteNC (profile), Nov 23rd, 2010 @ 11:18am

    Re: I can quote two things with this

    I've give you 3 more quotes.

    An unjust law is no law at all. - Augustine of Hippo

    An unjust law is itself a species of violence. Arrest for its breach is more so. - Mahatma Gandhi

    If a law is unjust, a man is not only right to disobey it, he is obligated to do so. - Thomas Jefferson

     

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  26.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 23rd, 2010 @ 11:18am

    Re: No charges filed?

    Can't they hold you for 72 hours without pressing charges? Perhaps they are still thinking about it.

     

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  27.  
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    Morgan Getham, Nov 23rd, 2010 @ 11:23am

    Courts

    Actually, in the most high-profile caser on government snooping, Jewel vs. NSA, the good guys are still losing. The case went in favor of the government at the trial court level, and arguments in the appeal have been filed. No word, as far as I know, as to when a decision can be expected. T

    This case involves wiretapping without a warrant, by the way, but just represents another government trampling of civil liberties. I voted from Obama thinking he HAD to be better than Bush in this area. WRONG! He has been FAR worse, by orders of magnitude.

     

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  28.  
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    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Nov 23rd, 2010 @ 11:26am

    Re: Re: I can quote two things with this

    I think your third one trumps my first one.

     

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  29.  
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    Howard the Duck (profile), Nov 23rd, 2010 @ 11:30am

    Profile already

     

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  30.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 23rd, 2010 @ 11:33am

    Re: SDAA may find out they don't have a legal leg to stand on when this gets to court...

    you've hit the nail on the head with this re-post. Even if the San Diego airport were private, the best they could do is escort you out of the airport and charge you with a civil suit. That they are a public entity, they can't just willy nilly make up the rules.

     

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  31.  
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    out_of_the_blue, Nov 23rd, 2010 @ 11:37am

    "No person shall" is irrelevant without a stated punishment.

    City ordinances are full of prohibitions, but unless the words connect to a stated punishment or class of offense, it's all bluff. Also, any time you see "may" in gov't text, it's safe to ignore. To be enforceable (at least in America, that now mythical coountry) laws must be in absolute terms: any wiggle room or lack of punitive measures, and it's just ink on paper. Of course, as I remind you people, the *real* terrorists will just stick a gun in your face and toss you in jail.

     

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  32.  
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    Richard Kulawiec, Nov 23rd, 2010 @ 11:40am

    Re: Suprised this took this long to come up...

    I does however make sense that you don't want people filming your security process, it makes it easier to try and find a way around them, to study them. Not that they are effective, but it is what it is.

    If one's security processes are so brittle that film study will enable an adversary to defeat them, then the problem is not the film: it's poor process design.

    After all, filming is merely a substitute for the imperfect observational and recall powers of most human beings. A suitably-trained and experienced person is quite capable of making the observations first-hand and subsequently documenting them from memory. Or, perhaps, of analyzing the salient details in real time and devising a means to defeat the process.

    And even all of this presumes that it's necessary for an attacker to defeat the process. It's often not; it's usually much easier to ignore the process -- or to exploit it. In the case of this particular set of procedures, which are incredibly poor and were clearly designed by crack monkeys, either would suffice.

    Robust security measures continue to work even when everyone knows exactly how they work. This is a rudimentary lesson which MANY have failed to learn, including Pistole (see his lame explanation for why he took the futile step of not announcing the current sexual assault practice in advance).

     

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  33.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 23rd, 2010 @ 11:46am

    San Diego County Regional Airport Authority Board Members

    Who makes these rules? Well, here are the board members of the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority ( http://www.san.org/sdcraa/leadership/default.aspx )

    Laurie Berman
    Bruce R. Boland - bboland@san.org
    Greg Cox - gcox@san.org
    Jim Desmond - jdesmond@san.org
    Ramona Finnila - rfinnila@san.org
    Robert H. Gleason, board chairman - rgleason@san.org
    Jim Panknin - jpanknin@san.org
    Colonel Frank A. Richie
    Paul Robinson

     

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  34.  
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    The Mighty Buzzard (profile), Nov 23rd, 2010 @ 11:48am

    Re: I can quote two things with this

    1) Someone for sure, see Rule 34.

    2) Nah, you'd raise holy hell if that argument were used against you. And rightly so.

    I agree that the ban against filming anywhere in an airport is absurd but your second argument against it was really terrible.

     

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  35.  
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    Gabriel Tane (profile), Nov 23rd, 2010 @ 12:01pm

    Who's rule is this?

    I get that it's the San Diego Co Reg. Airport Auth., but are they a city/county municipal authority? Are they a private company with an 'official sounding' name?

    Or, as has been illustrated elsewhere in this post, are they someone putting up a smoke-screen rule that would result in a constitutional violation if enforced?

     

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  36.  
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    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Nov 23rd, 2010 @ 12:02pm

    Re: Re: I can quote two things with this

    That wasn't my second argument. I said it because they said it. I also said it was a bad argument and went with the first one.

     

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  37.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Nov 23rd, 2010 @ 12:05pm

    Re: Eh?

    situatioin?


    Well, you know The Situation from the Jersey Shore trademarked his name... so I was trying to get around that.

    Or, I made a typo that we missed in editing. Oops. Fixed. Thanks. :)

     

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  38.  
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    The eejit (profile), Nov 23rd, 2010 @ 12:07pm

    Re: San Diego County Regional Airport Authority Board Members

    It's ironic that it's san.org. Am I the only one to notice that.

    They're all Deep Ones! Get out while you can!

     

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  39.  
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    Duffy, Nov 23rd, 2010 @ 12:23pm

    Take a picture of a public official committing a crime, and YOU go to jail... when did they switch the real USA with Bizarro USA?

     

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  40.  
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    Gabriel Tane (profile), Nov 23rd, 2010 @ 12:35pm

    Re:

    "when did they switch the real USA with Bizarro USA?"

    9/11/2001

     

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  41.  
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    Thomas (profile), Nov 23rd, 2010 @ 12:50pm

    Also in Massachusetts

    they've prosecuted people for videotaping the police, citing wiretap laws. And at the same time, they wonder why no one wants to help the police. So you record something that shows someone being mugged and there's a police officer approaching to stop it. Now you have a choice; if you give the recording to the police, are they going to use it to prosecute YOU as well as the mugger? When the police see the citizens as their enemies, why do they expect people to help them?

    Rodney King's beaters would have loved these laws; they wouldn't have been prosecuted cause the videos would have been illegal evidence, recorded without a court order.

     

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  42.  
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    Bagheera (profile), Nov 23rd, 2010 @ 3:22pm

    T 'SS' A

    I've been saying all along these people are a gestapo. "Do as we say or we will make you wish you did!" The TSA needs to go. They are nothing but THUGS!

     

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  43.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 23rd, 2010 @ 4:59pm

    Re: Suprised this took this long to come up...

    Security through obscurity is not security at all. This is pretty much the most basic of security design principles.

     

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  44.  
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    Justin Olbrantz (Quantam), Nov 23rd, 2010 @ 5:46pm

    Re: Re: No charges filed?

    Could be that they don't think they can make a case, so they're just gonna hold him for 72 hours and let that be the punishment.

     

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  45.  
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    Just1Marine, Nov 27th, 2010 @ 8:05am

    Under Who's Authority?

    The San Diego County Regional Airport Authority was created on January 1, 2003, as an independent agency to manage the day-to-day operations of San Diego International Airport and address the regionís long-term air transportation needs. As stated on their own website... http://www.san.org/sdcraa/about_us/default.aspx

    The legislation that created the Airport Authority mandates three main responsibilities:
    1. Operate San Diego International Airport

    2. Plan for the future air transportation needs of the region

    3. Serve as the regionís Airport Land Use Commission Ė and ensure the adoption of land use plans that protect public health and safety surrounding all 16 of the countyís airports.

    So that being said, Under Who's Authority do THEY MAKE LAWS? Under who's authority do THEY AUTHORIZE CONFISCATION OF PERSONAL PROPERTY?
    Under who's authority do THEY DETERMINE WHAT IS A FELONY OFFENCE?

     

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  46.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 3rd, 2010 @ 10:13pm

    Re: Re: SDAA may find out they don't have a legal leg to stand on when this gets to court...

    No, but their heads have swollen so much that they think they can. Believe me, I've been around TSA my entire life. They are laughing at us.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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