TSA Not Sure If It Groped Man Before Flight, Demands To Grope Him After Flight Is Over

from the he's-going-to-blow-up-the-plane-then? dept

Via Amy Alkon, we learn of yet another bizarre moment in the world of security theater known as the TSA. It involves a young man from Orono, Minnesota, named Kahler Nygard, who for reasons no one will ever explain, happens to be on a “selectee” list for flying. It’s not quite the no fly list, but it’s the list where you get four S’s on your boarding pass (“SSSS”), and the TSA is then supposed to give you and your bags that extra level of privacy-destroying attention, including a full gropedown. Nygard claims he got the full groping in Minnesota, but the TSA (or potentially a Spirit airlines employee) apparently believed it was overlooked — though, they didn’t “realize” this until the flight was halfway to Denver. Frantic calls were made and the TSA was eagerly waiting for Nygard when he landed in Denver, leading him to be pulled off the plane first (that’s a self-recorded video where he cheerfully announces to those on board, “No, I have not committed a crime!”), at which point the TSA demands to grope him again:

Yes, after he’s already flown from Minneapolis (where he claims he was groped, though the TSA claims it was missed) to Denver, the TSA wishes to grope him (and search through his bags again). Apparently, they believe that he might magically reverse time and go back in time to blow up the plane or something.

The TSA agent, Andrew Grossman, first demands Nygard’s boarding pass. Nygard points out that he no longer has it (you don’t need it after you board), which stumps Grossman, leading him to have to make a phone call — where he helpfully tells whoever he’s talking to at the other end that Nygard is “pretty objectionable, filming me.” Nygard keeps asking why they need to search him, and the TSA has no good answer, other than saying they need to do so. Nygard asks if he’s being detained, and they don’t answer. He asks if it’s an order or a request, and the TSA’s Grossman again doesn’t really answer (other than to say that he’s following orders). Finally, Nygard just walks away, saying that if he’s not being detained, he’s leaving. The TSA claims it’s calling the Denver police, who apparently did not do anything to stop Nygard, who walked out of the airport without any further problems.

I’m curious if the TSA’s Blogger Bob will step up with an explanation for why a passenger should be groped post-flight.

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Comments on “TSA Not Sure If It Groped Man Before Flight, Demands To Grope Him After Flight Is Over”

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85 Comments
That One Guy (profile) says:

Three guesses

It involves a young man from Orono, Minnesota, named Kahler Nygard, who for reasons no one will ever explain, happens to be on a “selectee” list for flying.

‘Refusal to respect TSA authority’ and ‘To show others what happens to those who don’t respect TSA authority’, though ‘In possession of foreign sounding name’ was likely the original ‘reason’ he was put on the list.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

This shit needs to stop.
We have sheriffs ready to stop the terrorists by arresting all the brown folks they come across.
This is a fucking joke that funnels money into corporate sponsors pockets.

This event should make it very clear they are failing at the theatre of security. They can only make empty threats, and someone DARING to question them and record the interaction with people who can, have, will, do violate peoples rights is objectionable. They can’t fucking clue into the idea that he has already been on the plane, already been searched, but they have to do it again before he can go on his way.

We need to stop blowing the ZOMG terrorists whistle, because everyone is deaf to what is happening now.
A great nation destroyed by fear of the boogeyman.

Ramon Creager (profile) says:

Re: Re:

“This is a fucking joke that funnels money into corporate sponsors pockets.”

Yup. Just listen to Mother Jone’s Shane Bauer tell about his visit to Urban Shield, where they can look at all the cool expensive new gear of repression (and find out how it can be funded by money stolen from those they mean to repress!), and live out adolescent fantasies about saving the world from brown “folks” and dangerous unarmed protesters. It’s pretty brazenly about $$$. And when you can throw in authoritarianism with your crony capitalism, so much the better.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Cool gear

Not to put a conspiracy slant to this, but the Big G takes resources through taxation, and uses them to buy big cool guns so they can justify taking more resources from private hands, some of which they auction off to different people, and use that money to pay for more cool stuff, to they can take more stuff, so they can…

It’s the cycle of evil.

Anonymous Coward says:

Wait, you mean to tell me this person didn’t follow given instructions when “asked” to do so by an authority figure?

Where is Whatever when you need that lovely appeal to authority or always ever present “if you can’t do [insert item here] then you shouldn’t [insert item here]” response.

Either way, this young man did everything he was in the right to. Asked if he was being detained, to which they gave no response. Asked if he was being given an order or request, again given no response. And THEN legally went about his way.

He did the equivalent of what should be done when stopped randomly by a police officer on the street. If you are not being detained you are legally under no legal obligation to answer their questions, comply with their request or even be in the general area at that point.

aldestrawk says:

Re: Re:

I thought it was a lovely dance by the TSA agent. He doesn’t have the authority to detain anyone and he knows that. He is forced by Nygard’s lack of cooperation to run through all the plays in his book to convince him to submit to secondary screening. In this context, TSA doesn’t have the leverage of refusing to allow him to board a flight. In the end, we have an instructional video showing the limits of TSA authority and all for the ridiculous effort of attempting to close what is just a bureaucratic loose end.
Apparently, Nygard was never detained by the police, but I wonder if they were actually trying to find him before he left the airport. Good play by Nygard, but I wonder if that just ensures he is permanently quad-S or was he already?

aldestrawk says:

Re: Re:

Hmm…, Grope Attendant, sounds nice. That is, if it’s the right sort of person (I have standards).
Once, while going through the typical security check entering a rock-concert venue a woman placed her hand briefly right on my junk. This had never happened before so I was speechless for about half a minute and of course she was then searching other people and I had to get out of the way. At first, I couldn’t decide if this was simply the realization of a male fantasy or it was a rather objectionable invasion of my privacy. I decided on the latter and that I would make a scene if it ever happened again. It hasn’t.

silverscarcat (profile) says:

Can this be used...

To show why the TSA needs to be disbanded?

What have they done?

Other than wasting tax dollars, nothing.

I don’t recall them stopping any terrorists, I don’t recall them finding any real bombs (the novelty cartoon bomb doesn’t count), I don’t recall them protecting anyone.

So…

Why the hell do they exist?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Can this be used...

“Why the hell do they exist?”

Security theater. It gives the impression of the government doing something for a problem that largely doesn’t exist. (Anyone who is ready to argue that terrorism is a very real threat to daily American life be prepared to present citations proving as much. Otherwise, save it. I can present more proof of legitimate threats to human life, especially in America, if that’s really the road you want to go down though.)

Also as a means of establishing a new world in loose terms. The average person has gotten used to the TSA and their “security protection”. It’s an inconvenience, but one people have grown accustomed to. That’s how you do things when you want more power. Small and annoyingly but to where people don’t get upset and demand it stop. Then you expand it a little more and repeat as needed.

Just Another Anonymous Troll says:

Re: Re:

Or, yknow, he could get on his target plane in the first place or just blow up the current plane because terrorists, although being jerks, are not complete morons.
I thought it was funny that the TSA guy was confused that Nygard didn’t have a boarding pass after the flight. Shows how much of a robot he is.

Richard (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

I thought it was funny that the TSA guy was confused that Nygard didn’t have a boarding pass after the flight. Shows how much of a robot he is.

Except that if he HAD had a boarding pass for another (connecting) flight then I suppose that the logic of the comment that you responded to would come in to play – not much of an excuse though.

TheTripper (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Depends on the airport and if your connecting flight is in another terminal. The old Dallas, Detroit, and Newark concourses used to not be fully connected between the terminals, so if you changed airlines or just had to change terminals, you had to go out and back in.

The better explanation could have been, “Sir, we didn’t fully screen you as we should so we need to escort you out of the secured area if this is your final destination.”

The real surprise will be when he flies next. Will the TSA realize they created a PR disaster the first time or will they retaliate?

BTW, the TSA is not a law enforcement agency (no arrest or detention powers) and cannot touch you without your permission. That’s why they kept trying to get him to say yes.

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

The better explanation could have been, “Sir, we didn’t fully screen you as we should so we need to escort you out of the secured area if this is your final destination.”

Exactly, there is no reason to search him. Just escort him beyond security regardless of whether he’s staying in Denver or not, and he can go through security or not.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

I know you’re just playing devil’s advocate but they could have just asked him if he is leaving or boarding another flight. If he’s boarding a connecting flight then yeah they probably have some sort of right to stop him from getting on another plane, but if he’s leaving, they’re wasting his time and their own time, plus they don’t have the authority.

ysth (profile) says:

To be fair, it is clear from the context that the the officer is simply misusing “objectionable”; he’s trying to tell whoever’s on the phone that Mr. Nygard objected when they tried to screen him.

To be harsh, since the TSA agent qualifies that with “filming me”, is he using that to explain why the screening wasn’t carried out anyway?

Anonymous Coward says:

The TSA alleges to have found

“42 Loaded Firearms and a Strange Item at Albany “

http://blog.tsa.gov/2014/09/tsa-week-in-review-42-loaded-firearms.html

and

TSA Week in Review – 35 Loaded Firearms, Inert Grenades, Lipstick Knife, and More

http://blog.tsa.gov/2014/09/tsa-week-in-review-35-loaded-firearms.html

Fair enough

People in the comments have asked if there were any arrest and the TSA doesn’t really answer the question.

As some people also suggest an interesting question is how many of these findings require the TSA to be made and how many would have otherwise been made with pre-TSA security? How many of them have stopped terrorist attacks? For the longest time we’ve had no TSA and, by and large, it wasn’t a problem. Many other countries don’t have a TSA and they don’t have all the freedom restrictions that we have here in the U.S. yet it doesn’t seem to be a problem.

But, the mainstream media might argue, the U.S. is hated more than these other countries because we have more freedoms. So the solution is to restrict our freedoms so that they won’t hate us anymore? Then what’s the point?

(Off topic)
I also find it interesting how the mainstream media seems to credit the Snowden leaks for at least some of the ‘success’ of ISIS saying it gave them useful intelligence to help with their operations. What a joke.

Bri (profile) says:

I might have exploded!

So I have two stories.

I was flying out of Tucson, through LAX into Seattle. I went through Tucson security just fine, and landed in LAX. I was thirsty so I went to the soda machine that was right across from where I was going to board. I purchased a soda, saw the line starting to get on the plan, and dragged my bag and my soda over. While I was there I opened the soda and took a drink. All of a sudden two TSA agents pulled me out of line and told me they needed to check me for explosives. The took my drink out of my hand and started testing it with little swabs. My first reaction was “Oh god that better not explode I just drank that!”, they swabbed down my hands, checked me over, and let me back in line with my soda. I threw it away immediatly.

My second story was also a friend coming from Tucson, through someplace in California, to Seattle. She also went through security in Tucson just fine, got to the Cali airport, and was pulled aside while she was standing in line to board her next plane. Now, she is a tiny girl, but is very gifted in the bust area. They got a female TSA officer to start “checking” her chest because they insisted someone so tiny couldn’t have a chest that big and not be smuggling drugs (AKA, they had to be fake). She was so pissed of she bounced up and down and was all “These bounce, DO THEY LOOK FAKE?!?” An older lady who had been standing next to her turned around and smacked the male TSA officer with her handbag and started yelling “For shame!” at them. Eventually they let her go.

Why both of these happened in California, both within a month of each other is beyond me.

Personanongrata says:

Petty Authoritarian Know-Nothings

I’m curious if the TSA’s Blogger Bob will step up with an explanation for why a passenger should be groped post-flight.

The TSA attempted to grope the passenger after the flight because petty authoritarian know-nothing turds stains think they can.

Only well conditioned serfs genuflect to specious authority figures.

Anonymous Coward says:

Explanation of why the TSA gropes you AFTER the flight in 5.4.3.2.1..NOW!

TSA Agent (on the phone): OMG this cute guy just came through security and he has the BIGGEST BUL..oh wait sorry, theres a disabled woman that needs throwing to the floor..speak to ya later!

TSA Supervisor, after the flight: Theres our man…and from what Susie said on the phone he has an enormous package we need to get our hands on…GO GO GO!

Anonymous Coward says:

TSA or DEA?

They probably needed to check and make sure he wasn’t smuggling drugs, or something similar, on his person.

I’m guessing those stupid “sniff” machines that they test with are checking for more than just explosives.

It’s generally known that TSA turns people over to law enforcement when they find something illegal. I think TSA has more-or-less become an extension of the DEA at this point.

bshock says:

Government agencies desperate for home-grown terror

If you treat citizens like terrorists and insurgents — like the TSA does for everyone, like police departments do for peaceful protesters — citizens will begin taking on more characteristics of these roles.

It’s so easy to observe and predict, the only conclusion can be that the TSA, FBI, and NSA want U.S. citizens to act more like terrorists.

Why? I can only guess that the wealthy and powerful people who control these organizations are afraid, and their only way of dealing with this fear is ratcheting up oppression. Nothing justifies oppression to these people like the elusive (or perhaps “illusive”) specter of terrorism.

It’s sort of like a slow-motion version of a false flag operation, where a government arranges for an attack on its own citizens, then declares war on another country based on this justification.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

The lack of clear answers...

Other than a threat “if you don’t cooperate then the police will arrest you.” is particularly distressing.

If you are a law enforcement officer of any sort and you need to pull someone from their normal walks, you need to be really clear as to the legal necessity for doing so.

Otherwise it’s intervention without cause. “I’m not going to argue with you” is also telling, essentially saying “I am not going to respect your need to be informed.”

The next step is to do as many cops have done, and rather than talking with someone, tasing them to secure their cooperation by force.

aldestrawk says:

fox news identified initially identified him as Somali-American

A Minneapolis-St Paul Fox news affiliate initially identified Nygard as being of Somali origin. So, in an area well known for having a lot of people of Nordic heritage, a local Fox news affiliate mistakes a common Nordic name for Somali? At least they fessed up to their mistake, but this just confirms my suspicion that fact-checking is a just a four letter word at Fox.

John85851 (profile) says:

We need to end the "well, he could have" attitude

Like I said in another article, we as a society need to stop worrying about the “well, he could have…” (remote) possibilities. This guy was on a plane, he did nothing wrong, so why does he need to be searched when he landed? “But he could have had a bomb” and “he could have gone onto another plane”.
Or, you know, “he could have walked out of the airport and gone about his business”.

regularguy says:

another outrageous incident

a few weeks ago, I flew to NY. as I was in the TSA line in Nashville, I treated the TSA folks politely and we cracked a couple of jokes about the lines. I was screened without anyone touching me and without incident. Then…on my return flight from NY I was astounded when the very same thing happened. Amazing, eh? The TSA sees thousands of people a day. Some are nice and take it with a smile, most tolerate the process, and some are dicks. It’s the dicks that usually attract the attention. Life must be rough when you’re in a continual state of outrage.

teka (profile) says:

Re: another outrageous incident

So anyone who fails to bow to the capricious demands of an entirely unaccountable “security” force is a “dick” who must deserve the abuse ladled upon them? And everyone woman or man who is raped was askin’ for it, right? Every homeless guy beaten into a coma by a half-dozen patrolmen, any of them outweighing him, was a deadly threat too.

You might be ready, willing and eager to bow to any group that has matching shirts and special ID badges but not everyone is. Failure to humble yourself at the altar of security theater does not imply a nefarious drive or even a deep-seated hunger to be outraged, it might just be called being a CITIZEN who has even the barest knowledge of their rights and is unwilling to abandon them.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

How about this version...

Maybe they really wanted to inspect him after the fact so that they could check the little box on their paper saying that they inspected him.

Because if that box continues unchecked then someone’s ass is uncovered when the spankies come around.

I think part of why USA is becoming a hyper-Orwell state has lot to do with how our consequences for minor tedious mistakes has become so immense that covering your ass is the most important thing you can do every day.

It’s also why our customer service sucks.

Coyne Tibbets (profile) says:

Intimidation

This demonstrates unequivocally that the selectee list is about intimidation, and only about intimidation.

To protect passengers, searches must be conducted before flight, but intimidation can be done anytime.

So if TSA stops passengers after flight, it must be about intimidation; otherwise we would have to assume TSA be searching charred remains.

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