Lawsuit: TSA Supervisor Got Traveler Arrested For Bogus 'Terroristic Threat' Charge, Lied About Incident In Court

from the obviously,-the-'T'-stands-for-'Thug' dept

Here's more evidence the TSA really isn't about keeping travelers safe. What it is about is malevolent middle-management-types fiercely guarding the borders of their microfiefdoms and arbitrarily ejecting ticket-holding serfs for any conceivable reason.

Roger Vanderklok, a distance runner who frequently flies to events around the country, had the misfortune of passing through TSA supervisor Charles Kieser's turf at the Philadelphia airport. Vanderklok faced some legitimate questions (as legitimate as any questions based on the ever-shifting TSA list of suspicious items can be, anyway) and answered them all satisfactorily.

On this day, he was headed to Miami. In his carry-on bag was a packet of PowerBars and a heart-monitoring watch. When the bag went through the X-ray scanner, the items looked suspicious to a TSA agent whom Kieser supervises.

For the next 30 minutes, screeners checked the bag several times. Vanderklok told them that a tube-shaped case in the bag contained his watch. Then he was asked if his bag contained "organic matter." Vanderklok said no, as he thought "organic matter" meant fruits or vegetables.

PowerBars, which contain milk, grain and sugar, are considered "organic matter" and can resemble a common explosive. Terrorists often use a small electronic device, like a watch, to detonate the explosive. Hence the agent's concern.
But the TSA's Charles Kieser took issue with Vanderklok's suggestion: that agents make it a bit more clear what "organic matter" entails. Keiser decided Vanderklok didn't appreciate the severity of the situation (that situation being, apparently, that the TSA makes suggestions, not the other way around). According to Vanderklok's lawsuit [pdf link], Kieser became "confrontational." Vanderklok then asked if he could file a complaint. Bad move.
Instead, Kieser summoned the Philadelphia Police. Vanderklok was taken to an airport holding cell, and his personal belongings - including his phone - were confiscated while police "investigated" him.

Vanderklok was detained for three hours in the holding cell, missing his plane. Then he was handcuffed, taken to the 18th District at 55th and Pine and placed in another cell.

He says that no one - neither the police officers at the airport nor the detectives at the 18th - told him why he was there. He didn't find out until he was arraigned at 2 a.m. that he was being charged with "threatening the placement of a bomb" and making "terroristic threats."

Vanderklok's Kafkaesque odyssey finally ended at 4 a.m., when his wife paid 10 percent of his $40,000 bail.
Kieser provided his version of the story at Vanderklok's trial -- one that was mostly lies. He claimed Vanderklok "threatened" to bring a bomb through security. He also claimed Vanderklok made aggressive arm movements and pointed his finger in Keiser's face. Unfortunately for Kieser, surveillance footage proved nearly every accusation false.
Throughout the search, Vanderklok appears calm. His laptop computer is tucked under his arms and his hands are clasped in front of him the entire time. Without any fuss, he follows TSA agents when they move from one part of the screening area to another. He even smiles a little.

Not once does he raise his hands. Not once does he point a finger in Kieser's face. If anyone is becoming agitated, the video shows, it is Kieser.
And as for the only claim that might have held up -- the "bomb threat" -- Keiser's own words on the police statement, as well as his underlings' actions, undercut that assertion as well. No agent other than Kieser appears to be the least bit alarmed by Vanderklok's alleged bomb threat. One messes with his cellphone. Another rearranges bins. No passengers are prevented from entering the area.

In his statement to the police, Kieser claims Vanderklok said "Anyone could bring a bomb through here and you wouldn't know it." That's not a threat. That's an opinion. And, given the TSA's track record on stopping airborne terrorists, the protected opinion/non-threat comes disturbingly close to being a factual statement.

The presiding judge dismissed the charges against Vanderklok "within minutes" of Kieser's statements. Kieser's testimony must have been incredibly terrible, considering the judge never even bothered to view the video evidence that contradicted most of his claims. There must have been an obvious odor of vindictiveness permeating the courtroom during the TSA supervisor's statements. And it's that same respect-my-authority-or-else attitude that's likely going to cost the TSA some money.

Vanderklok has filed a lawsuit against the agency for his wrongful arrest, one that also names the Philly police department as co-defendants. Perhaps the video clearing Vanderklok will be seen during this court battle, or perhaps the agency will just settle quickly, rather than allow Kieser to further embarrass himself. And perhaps, Kieser will finally be out of a job. But for now, he still wields a level of power that far outpaces his ability to perform his duties in a credible and responsible manner.


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  • icon
    scotts13 (profile), 10 Feb 2015 @ 6:29am

    "City of Brotherly Love", indeed.

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

  • icon
    xebikr (profile), 10 Feb 2015 @ 6:52am

    Heartfelt plea

    Please let him at least wrangle an admission of wrongdoing from the TSA. The constant stream of lawsuits that are settled without the government acknowledging any accountability is frustrating and disheartening.

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

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 10 Feb 2015 @ 7:00am

      Re: Heartfelt plea

      Never going to happen. Like similar lawsuits, they'll settle rather than go to court and have to defend their actions, yet at the same time release a statement that the settlement isn't an admission of guilt or even wrongdoing.

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

  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 10 Feb 2015 @ 7:00am

    Wow, I'd suffer through the same problem. For me organic stuff are vegetables, seeds or animal content that is not industrially processed and properly packaged. Such as a chocolate or a power bar. He was lucky. Others have had way worse luck in airports (while the TSA is an American gem flying in countries like the UK, France and others is just as bad even if they don't have a TSA to screw up).

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

    • icon
      John Fenderson (profile), 10 Feb 2015 @ 7:23am

      Re:

      I can understand the confusion, given that the "organic" part of "organic food" is really misusing the term. In biology, "organic" means something that is, is derived from, or is related to, living things. It indicates nothing about whether or not processing or industrial chemicals were involved.

      The TSA should phrase the question differently.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 10 Feb 2015 @ 7:33am

        Re: Re:

        As organic includes cotton,wool and linen and leather, they have an excuse to arrest just about anybody who answers no.

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

      • icon
        Roger Strong (profile), 10 Feb 2015 @ 7:57am

        Re: Re:

        Nitpick: "Organic" means that something has carbon atoms in it. While organic compounds are important to life, they do not imply a relation to living things.

        Methane and other organic compounds found on Mars increase the chances of finding life there, but can be found without it. Giant clouds of alcohol - an organic compound - have been found in space but do not imply life. Nor does the methane and ammonia on Jupiter, nor the hydrocarbon atmosphere and lakes on Titan.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 10 Feb 2015 @ 8:59am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Thank you for the clarification, but I am quite sure the TSA won't stand for the extra wait period when I have to look up every word coming out of their mouths in fear of otherwise being imprisoned. If they are so determined to strictly use the precise scientific way of determining organic matter, maybe they should say "organic matter which is items that do not contain carbon" plus examples.
          Do you know what people would call me if I got angry or condescending every time someone didn't know the particulars of IT? A jerk or an asshole... which is exactly what this TSA guy is.

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        • icon
          John Fenderson (profile), 10 Feb 2015 @ 9:34am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "Nitpick: "Organic" means that something has carbon atoms in it. While organic compounds are important to life, they do not imply a relation to living things."

          Well, since we're nitpicking, that's the definition from the realm of chemistry.

          From the realm of phsysiology, the definition of "organic" is "having to do with organs". From the legal realm, it's defined as "relating to or constituting the law by which an organization exists." Another correct general-purpose definition is "something that is an integral part of a larger whole".

          All of these are correct. I was just using the definition that seemed closest to what the TSA apparently meant.

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 10 Feb 2015 @ 10:02am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Semantics, to the TSA at least, seems to be a pseudo-legal moving target caroming off whatever scared them most recently.

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

            • icon
              John Fenderson (profile), 10 Feb 2015 @ 10:17am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Hmm, you may be right. Perhaps they use the word "organic" precisely because it has so many different legitimate meanings. It is literally impossible for anyone to not be carrying something that is "organic" by one definition or another, so anyone that answers "no" is guaranteed to be wrong (and so, in the TSA's eyes, they are lying.)

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

    • identicon
      Michael, 10 Feb 2015 @ 8:05am

      Re:

      Unless your bag was manufactured in a clean room and never removed from it, it contains organic matter.

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

      • icon
        ltlw0lf (profile), 10 Feb 2015 @ 9:33am

        Re: Re:

        Unless your bag was manufactured in a clean room and never removed from it, it contains organic matter.

        Unless your bag is made solely of metal, not likely, it contains organic matter. Plastics, cotton fiber, canvas, etc., all contain carbon, and thus are organic no matter how they are made. The statement, made by the TSA, is not only not scientific based, but it isn't really based in any known use of the word organic either.

        I've been asked at the airport if my bag contained any organic material, and I've always said yes. When they checked and didn't find anything, I said my bag was made of plastic fibers and contained clothes, all which had carbon in them. Luckily, I've never flown through Philadelphia and every time the TSA agent has returned my luggage to me after swabbing it and allowed me to move on.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 10 Feb 2015 @ 10:11am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "Unless your bag is made solely of metal, not likely, it contains organic matter."

          Don't forget asbestos.

          Asbestos can be woven into cloth, and there was even a time when industrial 'shop' clothing was commonly made out of it.

          And anyway, didn't the Flintstones have suitcases made out of solid rock?

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

  • icon
    Violynne (profile), 10 Feb 2015 @ 7:02am

    To think the world has an issue with North Korea, yet every day, the US is turning into the very country it hates.

    We can no longer travel between borders without government intervention, just like North Korea.

    Our communications are monitored, just like North Korea.

    Our rights are eroded, just like North Korea.

    The government is abusing its power, holy shit, just like North Korea.

    One day, we'll wake up as our families are whisked away into detention centers.

    Wait. Aren't those called "Walmart" here in the US?

    Articles like this sicken me and prove, once again, absolute power corrupts absolutely.

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

    • icon
      jupiterkansas (profile), 10 Feb 2015 @ 7:36am

      Re:

      The difference between the United States and North Korea is here we can talk about what happened and report on it. In North Korea anyone talking about this would be imprisoned.

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

      • identicon
        Dreddsnik, 10 Feb 2015 @ 7:45am

        Re: Re:

        "The difference between the United States and North Korea is here we can talk about what happened and report on it."

        Considering widely reported actions against whistle blowers in the US, I don't think that difference is going to be with us for too much longer.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 10 Feb 2015 @ 10:42am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Not to mention the erosion of "freedom of the press" "free speech zones" and the expansion of the definition of hate crimes. We live in a day where posting lyrics to rap songs online can get you flagged as a terrorist and get all your rights waived.

          The one thing that is still protected appears to be criticism of the government. That really is the only major difference. The rest are all different by degree only.

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      • identicon
        Ragnarrebeard, 10 Feb 2015 @ 11:32am

        Re: Re:

        Why would people in North Korea be imprisoned for talking about the TSA?

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

      • icon
        vdev (profile), 11 Feb 2015 @ 8:01pm

        Re: Re: commenting

        It seems likely that consequences would be several in North Korea.

        And here we can talk about it and report on it. But if you do you might well find that you yourself miss your next flight to wherever you were going. You almost certainly won't go to jail but it's not beyond the bounds of possibility that you'll never fly again.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 10 Feb 2015 @ 8:13am

      Re:

      ...into detention centers.

      Wait. Aren't those called "Walmart"...



      When I don't have a choice to walk into a Walmart, and I don't have a choice to walk out of same without purchasing anything, then I'll believe that. A better example would be the agency that issues your ID/passport/driver's license.

      The rest of that post is spot on!

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

    • icon
      Padpaw (profile), 10 Feb 2015 @ 9:37am

      Re:

      A better comparison might be Nazi Germany before they went to war

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 10 Feb 2015 @ 8:47pm

      Re:

      It'll have been worth it if I can finally get my hands on some of that energy drink made from mushrooms.

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

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 10 Feb 2015 @ 7:08am

    Turnabout and incentives for honesty

    I believe that any time it's found that a person is trying to frame someone for a crime they didn't commit, like happened here, the one making the false claims should automatically be found guilty of the crime they are trying to frame another for, with the sentence being doubled($1,000 fine instead of $500, 10 years prison instead of 5, and so on) from what it would have been had the innocent person been found guilty.

    Try and frame someone for assault? Then you are found guilty of assault and have whatever the punishment would have been doubled.

    Attempt to frame someone for drug possession? Same thing, you're found guilty of the crime and your sentence is double what it would have been.

    Try and frame someone for 'making bomb related threats'? Then you're found guilty of of that same crime and face double the penalty for it.

    If there were real (or any)penalties for committing perjury and trying to frame an innocent person, maybe, just maybe, people would be less quick to do so.

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

    • icon
      BentFranklin (profile), 10 Feb 2015 @ 7:11am

      Re: Turnabout and incentives for honesty

      I totally agree with this, and I would include similar misconduct by police and prosecutors, such as withholding evidence.

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

      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 10 Feb 2015 @ 7:40am

        Re: Re: Turnabout and incentives for honesty

        They were actually the prime groups I was thinking of when I typed that up, police framing someone for drug possession and/or assault, and prosecutors 'forgetting' to bring up evidence that would have cleared someone.

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

    • icon
      Geno0wl (profile), 10 Feb 2015 @ 7:15am

      Re: Turnabout and incentives for honesty

      Keiser should be charged with Perjury(lying under oath). But we all know the DOJ's record with going after their own is so terrible nothing will come of this.
      Holding people responsible for their actions isn't part of this most nontransparent administration in history.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 10 Feb 2015 @ 9:11am

      Re: Turnabout and incentives for honesty

      So in this case that would be 2*Lifetime in prison without access to a lawyer with one meal every second day and the only showers would be the double dose of waterboarding and his only stimulation would be guards slamming the doors hard 600 times each night to keep him awake.

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

    • icon
      Ninja (profile), 10 Feb 2015 @ 9:34am

      Re: Turnabout and incentives for honesty

      There are penalties for falsely accusing o framing people already aren't there? I'd say what you are proposing is kind of excessive but a fine and some time in jail wouldn't be bad. Including Govt officials and law enforcement of course.

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

      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 10 Feb 2015 @ 10:47am

        Re: Re: Turnabout and incentives for honesty

        I don't see it as excessive at all really, perjury to try and hide your own actions, or the actions of someone else is one thing, but intentionally lying in court in order to frame someone else for a crime they didn't commit? At a minimum that should carry a penalty equal to the crime you're trying to frame the person for, and I see that sort of thing as bad enough that it deserves extra punishment, hence the doubled penalty. Someone who thinks it's acceptable to frame an innocent person deserves to get a taste, and then some, of just what they tried to inflict on their would-be-victim.

        Including Govt officials and law enforcement of course.

        Oh no, not including, but especially government officials and law enforcement. Those that are tasked with serving and representing the public deserve to the held to the highest of standards, and face harsh penalties should they betray the trust of the public, more so when they do so in a manner meant to inflict harm on those they are supposed to serve.

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

    • identicon
      mrpapercuts, 10 Feb 2015 @ 10:59am

      Re: Turnabout and incentives for honesty

      This would prevent people from reporting crimes, out of fear that the criminal would win in court, making the accuser responsible for "framing" him.

      What happens when I accuse someone of doing something shady (say, I saw someone breaking into a van), and it turns out I'm wrong (they owned the van, and were locked out), but I was well intentioned, and now I'm going to prison for double GTA?

      That's the problems with penalties for perjury and "framing someone" - humans are innacurate creatures, you have to allow room for error or else MORE bad things happen, not less. What you are proposing is and would be used for censorship. It would just make people afraid to ever accuse anyone of anything.

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

      • icon
        JP Jones (profile), 10 Feb 2015 @ 11:37am

        Re: Re: Turnabout and incentives for honesty

        Obviously you'd have to prove intent. That's the entire point. We already differentiate between a crime done by accident and one done on purpose.

        In the example above, the TSA supervisor was clearly lying and doing so in order to accuse someone of a crime. Note the intent here...you can't lie if you're wrong and don't know it. There's no way he could have accidentally thought the guy pointed at him and threatened him. It's clearly a lie he created to justify his own actions.

        This wouldn't affect reporting at all because proving intent has a rather high standard. If a reasonable person could have made the mistake, like in your van theft example, there's no crime.

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

    • icon
      madasahatter (profile), 10 Feb 2015 @ 6:08pm

      Re: Turnabout and incentives for honesty

      Go for the gusto, make framing someone a mandatory capital crime. They only need to be caught and convicted once. /snark

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

    • identicon
      Crazy Canuck, 11 Feb 2015 @ 8:56am

      Re: Turnabout and incentives for honesty

      Try to frame someone for murder?

      Then you should receive the death penalty twice... Maybe lethal injection while being electrocuted? =P

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    • identicon
      robert spano, 11 Feb 2015 @ 9:59am

      Re: Turnabout and incentives for honesty

      That should apply to Prosecutors and the DAs as well

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

  • icon
    PaulT (profile), 10 Feb 2015 @ 7:17am

    I was saying this to someone the other day - I was born in a city that was attacked by the IRA and grew up near another. I regularly visit 2 cities that have suffered regular terrorist attacks throughout history and I can see an Islamic country from my local beach.

    But, you know what actually worries me about terrorism? The overblown responses to it. When I visit the US next month, I'm far more concerned that I'll come across some small-minded bully like this while trying to get to my connecting flights than I am that anyone will do anything to the planes I'm travelling on.

    That's a pretty sad state of affairs.

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    • icon
      tqk (profile), 10 Feb 2015 @ 10:13am

      Re:

      When I visit the US next month ...

      It's amazing that you can say this in a thread talking about this subject. You appear to believe we're still in the last century. Anyone traveling to the US these days is a fool, as Vanderklik's story proves. Perhaps you'll be in line for a big payout from resultant lawsuits, or maybe you'll just end up stranded in an airport when you end up on the no-fly list or your visa is revoked. Capricious officialdom is the rule these days, not the exception.

      What kind of an idiot travels to Nazi Germany in 1939?

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      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 10 Feb 2015 @ 11:47pm

        Re: Re:

        "It's amazing that you can say this in a thread talking about this subject."

        Family is still important to me, even if I don't agree with many of the policies of the country in which they've chosen to reside. I don't think they're at Nazi levels quite yet, so I will take my chances for now.

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  • identicon
    David, 10 Feb 2015 @ 7:29am

    Well, he was asking for it.

    He was assaulting Kieser and pinning him by asking what he considered organic matter. Kieser probably knows how "organic matter" gets flagged and that it's related to bombs but would be totally afloat actually giving a definitive statement. So clearly Vanderklok was attempting to incapacitate Kieser and tie up airport security, probably in order to let a coconspirator slip through unnoticed.

    Getting him dragged off the airport was the safest way to ensure that he could not continue to detract from the other terrorists' attempts to get fissionable material on board.

    Just try putting yourself into the shoes of a complete psychopath. Wouldn't you want to have Vanderklok arrested? Ok, now take off Kieser's shoes again. I mean, ugh.

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  • icon
    cubicleslave (profile), 10 Feb 2015 @ 7:34am

    You would think that we (US) would have learned from the days of the Iron Curtain, a divided Germany with border guards and the behavior of those in that position of authority. And now we have the TSA acting like this. Not exactly a shining example of democracy in action, is it?

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 10 Feb 2015 @ 7:51am

      Response to: cubicleslave on Feb 10th, 2015 @ 7:34am

      And the right-wingers in Congress want to make the border fence with Mexico even MORE fortified and militarized! They sure have alot in common with their former archenemies of the Communist Republics of the Soviet Union, but it would be too uncomfortable for them to admit that.

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

      • identicon
        David, 10 Feb 2015 @ 9:29am

        Re: Response to: cubicleslave on Feb 10th, 2015 @ 7:34am

        Major difference is that the border fence is to keep people out without going through due process. Communist Republics used fences to keep people IN and prevent them from escaping. If you want to leave the US, the government won't stop you. Likewise, people defected to the USSR and they let them come in. And then didn't let them back out if they changed their minds.

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

    • icon
      Padpaw (profile), 10 Feb 2015 @ 9:40am

      Re:

      it is by design. whoever is in charge wants americans afraid enough to give up all their rights for supposed security.

      It is much easier for a criminal and corrupt ruling party to have a willing population to rule over. More so when you make their basic rights illegal unless allowed the privledge of what used to be a basic right by said rulers.


      Just look at history has more than enough examples of this

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

    • icon
      Bo-Ti the Beloved (profile), 10 Feb 2015 @ 11:43pm

      Re:

      The US did learn from all of that, but found it desirable. In other words, it has learned the wrong lessons.

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

  • icon
    John85851 (profile), 10 Feb 2015 @ 7:38am

    The terrorists have already won

    Yet again, this proves the terrorists have won. Why couldn't the TSA agent ask the guy to eat a PowerBar to prove it wasn't a bomb or ask the guy to show off his watch? And in a better world, the agent could pretend to be a techie and get the guy talking about features of the watch. After a few minutes, it would be obvious that the guy was a runner or a very good liar.

    But, instead, the terrorists have achieved their goal of making TSA agents live in a world of fear where everyone is treated like a suspected terrorist, any snacks could be bomb material, and any electronics can be a detonator.

    I also wish there was a way to hold agents like this personally responsible. Instead, the issue will be handled the sames as when police officers do something bad: the agency or union will pay out, the payment will come out of the agency's budget (which is funded by taxes), and everyone will have to pay a little more to cover the lawsuit.
    So how is the agent punished? Maybe he's suspended of fired, but does that really balance having a guy arrested and having an arrest record (even if the charges were thrown out), and then lying about it in court?

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

    • icon
      scotts13 (profile), 10 Feb 2015 @ 7:56am

      Re: The terrorists have already won

      "Yet again, this proves the terrorists have won. Why couldn't the TSA agent ask the guy to eat a PowerBar to prove it wasn't a bomb or ask the guy to show off his watch? And in a better world, the agent could pretend to be a techie and get the guy talking about features of the watch. After a few minutes, it would be obvious that the guy was a runner or a very good liar."

      Because there's no incentive to demonstrate someone is NOT a terrorist. No valid suspects, no reason to swing your d*ck around, no reason to even have the job.

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

      • identicon
        Reality bites, 10 Feb 2015 @ 8:23am

        What should have happened with the power bars isn't for polite company.

        An entire pallet of the powerbars should have been inserted in the TSA monkeys butt and his bosses.

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

    • identicon
      Abdul Hamid Malik, 10 Feb 2015 @ 5:55pm

      Re: The terrorists have already won

      As simple as in Indo-Pakistan (Included Bangladesh) we can supply foods to our relatives in Jails or lockups.
      The only test for Poison so an enemy or else may not do wrong police asks the carrier to mix-up thoroughly and eat 3-full bites; kept there for 20 minutes. Then accept for delivery.

      I was in school when this had to deliver. And it is still in vogue. No solids allowed.

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

  • identicon
    Shufflepants, 10 Feb 2015 @ 7:50am

    What concerns me for the long term is that this guy who has been wronged is having to file a civil law suit and not pressing charges against the TSA employee. He is probably having to file suit instead because of some non-sense clause or state of affairs that would make actually pressing charges a hopeless battle.

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  • identicon
    Reality bites, 10 Feb 2015 @ 8:21am

    Psychopathic thugs do not make the USA safer.

    On the contrary the mentally deranged tsa monkey should be deported, clearly not even a hint of American in it.

    TSA = The Stupid A$$holes, just mentally damaged thugs stealing from the taxpayer lying about promising safety.

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

  • icon
    Vincent Clement (profile), 10 Feb 2015 @ 8:51am

    If the TSA thought the items were suspicious, why didn't they use that machine they use on CPAP machines to test for explosive material?

    From the TSA website:

    "however, an officer may need to remove the CPAP, BiPAP or APAP from the bag to test it for traces of explosives."

    http://www.tsa.gov/traveler-information/passengers-cpaps-bipaps-and-apaps

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 10 Feb 2015 @ 1:20pm

      Re:

      Because, upon closer inspection, they didn't actually think the items were suspicious.

      The TSA agent felt that someone didn't genuflect to his authority.

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

  • icon
    connermac725 (profile), 10 Feb 2015 @ 8:51am

    No Fly List

    careful I bet the ashat will add you to the no fly list when he reads this

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Feb 2015 @ 9:09am

    Apparently the idiots that run TSA don't even know that many types of explosives are inorganic compounds. For instance, lead azide, which for a century has been widely used as a primary detonator in both military and commercial explosives. (and no, I don't suggest trying to educate the TSA goons about this while you are in their crosshairs)

    So are we supposed to believe that the lesson from all this is that anyone planning on packing a bomb in their luggage would be advised to bring one constructed of metal-salt based (or other inorganic) explosive compound so they can honestly answer "no" to the "organic" question?

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 10 Feb 2015 @ 9:16am

      Re:

      Ah, but then they'd still be "lying". After all, the strict definition of "organic compound" is anything that contains carbon. So frankly, the answer to the question "Is there anything organic in there?" should almost always be "Yes" and any answer other than "Yes" should arouse a lot of suspicion.

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

      • icon
        Kaemaril (profile), 10 Feb 2015 @ 12:36pm

        Re: Re:

        "Have you got any organic matter in this bag, sir?"
        "Probably. I'm no scientist, so I can't say for certain. I think the bag's actually got a leather lining, so I think I might. Does leather count?"

        "Have you got any organic matter in this bag, sir?"
        "Sure have! I accidentally sneezed in it twenty minutes ago!"

        "Have you got any organic matter in this bag, sir?"
        "At the very least, the last time I put my hand in there it would have transferred some skin cells so I'm going to have to go with yes."

        "Trying to be funny, sir?"
        "Hey, if there's some standard definition of 'organic matter' you go with, maybe you ought to explain it before asking people."

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

  • icon
    Padpaw (profile), 10 Feb 2015 @ 9:35am

    As a conditioning tool it has done an outstanding job. Where else can you get hundreds of people to follow orders they know are wrong but still do it anyway because they want to fly.

    TSA says freeze in place, anyone that doesn't gets yelled at by their fellow commuters.

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

  • icon
    Arthur Moore (profile), 10 Feb 2015 @ 9:39am

    Things he didn't have/do

    Read Page 2 section 2 of the complaint.

    He had no weapons, prohibited liquids, sharp items (and no Arabic flash-cards). He had not visited countries known to sponsor terrorism and was not reading a book critical of the U.S. Government.

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

  • icon
    Derek Kerton (profile), 10 Feb 2015 @ 9:40am

    Material Science

    1) My daughter brought back a Palm Sunday palm frond doll from France. It was confiscated by customs, I signed off on the confiscation and was chastised because I did not check off the "plants or seeds" box on the I94 form.

    2) I applied for a Global Entry pass for US customs. A year later, I had my application rejected at interview because to paraphrase "I was a lying liar who lies, and imports contraband". I asked WTF, they said "You know." I repeated WTF, they said "Crushed Palm Leaves". I had no recollection, because, recall, what I had confiscated was a DOLL, not a plant.

    But you see, the doll that I had was made of plants. And I am supposed to know that. But then, where does it end? My cotton shirt is also made of plants. I'd venture that nobody at all has ever crossed a border guard without some plant material on his/her person.

    Where does the responsibility to understand the input materials of our products end?
    - Is Vanderklok legally required to know what "organics" means, to that agent in that context? He had Powerbars. Does he need to know the list of ingredients, and their family, genus, and species?

    - Does someone driving from Vancouver to Seattle need to know the soft materials used in the seating for their car, which may contain plant matter? Or all the other input materials for their car?

    - Why is everything so arbitrary? I've had trips where a new and packaged Snickers bar is not considered food by agents that I've asked, and I've had trips where it IS considered food. You can judge which was right, but regardless, it should not depend on the mood of the agent.

    If the Homeland Security agents can't nail down what is contraband and what is not, how can we? Ridiculous! A moron in a hurry cannot be expected to be a material science expert on the composition of every product they carry across borders or onto airplanes. Nor should we need to be.

    Homeland Security should look for bombs and weapons. That's all most of us really care about our TSA finding. Just keep the plane safe.

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

    • icon
      Padpaw (profile), 10 Feb 2015 @ 9:43am

      Re: Material Science

      failure to lick their boots is seen as a sign of terrorism or dissent, about the same thing these days.

      The moment he stopped giving this man the respect he did not deserve he was made a target by the TSA

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

    • icon
      John Fenderson (profile), 10 Feb 2015 @ 10:05am

      Re: Material Science

      "Why is everything so arbitrary?"

      It's basic psychology: one of the things you do to people to increase their level of subservience to you is to make arbitrary demands that are strictly enforced. It's a classic move made by pretty much all cults ever.

      When you start looking at the TSA with that eye, an awful lot of what they do was ripped straight out of the "how to start a cult" handbook.

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

  • icon
    jimb (profile), 10 Feb 2015 @ 9:51am

    more TSA folly

    Here's a TSA supervisor who isn't satisfied with having a job where he literally just has to go through the motions. This guy has a little authority complex, he's pretty full of himself and his sacred mission to protect the public through wasting their time and mild harrassment. He over-reacts, probably because he's only marginally qualified to do his job in the first place. Now, after he's harrassed and annoyed a law-abiding citizen, and been found wrong, the agencies involved, who hired this unqualified person, are getting sued. The agencies will settle, they can't risk a full loss in a court, and the cost of operating the agencies will be a little higher, with our taxes paying. The moron who cost all of us the settlement, like so many other 'officers of the law' who behave this way, may or may not be fired, but either way -he- won't be paying the settlement, we will. I don't begrudge Vanderklok his settlement, he should never have been harrassed and delayed as he was by this idiot abusing his authority. But I do think that Kieser should be paying the settlement, for as long as it takes, he should be paying back the government and we taxpayers for his stupidity.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Feb 2015 @ 11:33am

    Normally I don't like funding used as a political football, but I right now, there are Republicans threatening to de-fund the DHS over current immigration rules, and I don't see that as a bad thing.

    Maybe we don't need a cabinet-level department that presides over so much corruption to be active in any meaningful way.

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

    • icon
      John Fenderson (profile), 10 Feb 2015 @ 1:02pm

      Re:

      The creation of the DHS was an enormous mistake. It would be wonderful if that could be undone. I hope that it doesn't happen as a result of that stupid spat over immigration, though. That is, as you say, just playing political games and shouldn't be rewarded.

      The DHS needs to go simply because it has made the actions of the agencies under its umbrella more aggressive in violating the rights of citizens, more expensive, more corrupt, and less effective.

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

  • identicon
    PB, 10 Feb 2015 @ 3:32pm

    Perjury?

    Isn't perjury considered a serious offence? Where is *that* prosecution?

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

  • identicon
    Rudyard Holmbast, 10 Feb 2015 @ 7:05pm

    "What it is about is malevolent middle-management-types fiercely guarding the borders of their microfiefdoms..."


    I thought this article was about the TSA, not the FCC.

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

  • icon
    RocRizzo (profile), 11 Feb 2015 @ 6:12am

    Nothing new here cops frequently lie under oath

    There was a NY Times editorial regarding this two years ago. Nothing has been done about it, and as far as I know, nothing ever will be done about it.
    For more info, check: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/03/opinion/sunday/why-police-officers-lie-under-oath.html?pagewanted= all&_r=0

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Feb 2015 @ 7:23am

    Charles Kieser is a piece of shit.

    Sorry - Just wanted to get some satisfaction.

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


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