Failures

by Tim Cushing


Filed Under:
asset seizure, cash, dea, public shaming, tsa



TSA Asks America To LOL At Traveler Who Had $75,000 Taken From Him By Federal Agents

from the the-4chan-of-government-agencies dept

The TSA runs a fairly entertaining Instagram account, if you're the sort of person who is impressed by pictures of weapons seized from stupid passengers. That would be the extent of its social media prowess. Its blog is pretty much a 50/50 mix of Yet Another Thing You Can't Take Onboard and Blogger Bob defending the TSA's latest gaffe.

One of the TSA's official Twitter flacks tried to loft a lighthearted "hey, look at this thing we came across!" tweet. She couldn't have picked a worse "thing" to highlight, considering the ongoing outrage over civil asset forfeiture.


For those who can't see the embed, the tweet says:
If you had $75,000, is this how you'd transport it? Just asking! TSA @ #RIC spotted this traveler's preferred method
Pictured was someone's carry-on bag, opened to expose the cash contained in it.

First: should the TSA be broadcasting the contents of someone's luggage -- especially considering the contents are a large amount of cash -- along with broadcasting the airport where it was discovered and the baggage's appearance? There may not be any recognizable privacy violations here, but it's certainly bad form. And it does no favors to the person carrying it.

Second: unless the traveler was attempting to take the money out of the country without reporting it to Customs, it's none of the TSA's business how a traveler carries money from place to place. It may be careless, but it is not illegal and it is certainly not something government agencies should spend too much time obsessing over. (But of course they will, because travelers' cash can quickly become the government's cash, thanks to civil asset forfeiture.)

Third: the TSA's public interest in this member of the public's cash is flat-out unseemly. Not only does the tweet portray the unnamed person as some sort of idiot/criminal (or both!), but it led many to the obvious assumption that this cash was seized.

But, you know, LOL #otherpeoplesmoney and all that.

The foregone conclusion that this money had been seized was (momentarily) dispelled by another tweet from the TSAmedia_Lisa account.
TSA didn't seize/confiscate/take it. It alarmed the x-ray machine as an unknown and we spotted it. It's just a curiosity
So, somehow a passenger managed to walk through airport security with a large amount of cash and managed to still be in possession of it on the DEPARTURE side of the checkpoint?

No. This is AMERICA, land of the somewhat free and home of the brave drug warrior.

A followup email to the Washington Post's Chris Ingraham proved TSAmedia_Lisa's (Farbstein) response was technically true and completely disingenuous.
Asked about the incident via e-mail, Farbstein said that "the carry-on bag of the passenger alarmed because of the large unknown bulk in his carry-on bag. When TSA officers opened the bag to determine what had caused the alarm, the money was sitting inside. Quite unusual. TSA alerted the airport police, who were investigating."
It seems the police didn't just "investigate." They worked with another federal agency to take the money:
In this case, the cash was seized by a federal agency, most likely the Drug Enforcement Administration, according to Richmond airport spokesman Troy Bell. "I don't believe the person was issued a summons or a citation," he said. "The traveler was allowed to continue on his way."
So Farbstein's claim about how it was "just a curiosity" is completely bogus. Not only was the photograph and putting it on social media a questionable invasion of privacy, but then they handed it off to another federal agency to take the money... and then the TSA clearly implied the opposite on social media once the story blew up.

It's not entirely clear which "federal agency" took the money, but a good guess is that the DEA is likely in possession of this "curiosity" now, thanks to its willingness to troll mass transportation departure points in search of "guilty" money.

Also ridiculous is the airport spokesperson noting that the traveler was allowed to "continue on his way," $75,000 lighter. As if that makes everything OK? If this money is completely unrelated to criminal activity, the government has just stolen money from one of its citizens. If it is linked to criminal activity, the traveler is probably in for a world of hurt if it belonged (or was owed) to someone else. Either way, the citizen loses, the government wins and the TSA badly mishandles another social media interaction.

So, the TSA's attempt at cheery lightheartedness did nothing more than once again expose its dark, humorless center. The tweet may as well have read "If you had $75,000, you don't have it any more! Just saying! #freemoney" One of the nation's most tone deaf agencies continues to prove it simply won't be outdone in this category. And the trickle of details confirmed what everyone was thinking the moment this picture hit the internet: that the person carrying that money was last in possession of it shortly before the photo was taken. The government gets its man money and the TSA delivers the news as a punchline at the expense [pretty much literally] of some random traveler whose misfortune is the government's gain.


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 1 Jul 2015 @ 11:29am

    If you had $75,000, you don't have it any more! Just saying! #freemoney

    Good, law abiding citizens use credit card and carry only patriotic gadgets inside bags, unlocked so law enforcement can do whatever they want, so if you have any money you don't have anymore. Now move along, nothing to see here, citizen.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 1 Jul 2015 @ 5:09pm

      Re:

      what is happening to the Greek banks will happen to every bank. hopefully they let you take your $100 cash a day. Stand in line all day and you might get a chance to withdraw YOUR money. Last one to withdraw loses. when the Ponzi ends.

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

  • identicon
    Baron von Robber, 1 Jul 2015 @ 11:59am

    "If you had $75,000, is this how you'd transport it? Just asking! TSA @ #RIC spotted this traveler's preferred method"

    Well if you were not aware that the government can steal your cash, you might think...

    "Hmm, the airport has lots people with guns. And the plane I'll be on is very limited in people coming and going from the plane while in flight (except that DB Cooper guy). And there will be lots of people with guns at the place I land. Sounds very secure to transport my money."

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Jul 2015 @ 12:00pm

    Whatever happened to presumption of innocence?

    Cash is suspicious, encryption is suspicious. And major developed countries saying outright that following the law is not enough.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 1 Jul 2015 @ 12:35pm

      Re: Whatever happened to presumption of innocence?

      No, they steal the money to fund their $5m tanks.

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

      • identicon
        AnonyBabs, 1 Jul 2015 @ 1:09pm

        Re: Re: Whatever happened to presumption of innocence?

        Ha ha, no. The tanks are free to police, courtesy of the US taxpayer.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 1 Jul 2015 @ 11:41pm

      Re: Whatever happened to presumption of innocence?

      Like everything "counterterrorism" or "anticrime": because it is convenient to them.

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

  • icon
    TKnarr (profile), 1 Jul 2015 @ 12:09pm

    So, basically another reason that I should travel by car if possible, with any important baggage traveling by FedEx or UPS.

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

  • icon
    TheResidentSkeptic (profile), 1 Jul 2015 @ 12:10pm

    Just for fun...

    I think I will start carrying $10,000 in monopoly money in my wallet and $20,000 locked in my RV safe and $50,000 in the freezer... "Here you go, officer"

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

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 1 Jul 2015 @ 12:22pm

      Re: Just for fun...

      ... and then enjoy being slammed into the ground a few times, and tossed in a cell for a few days on bogus charges for the 'joke'. Thugs usually don't have a sense of humor, especially when it comes at their expense.

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

  • icon
    radarmonkey (profile), 1 Jul 2015 @ 12:13pm

    Jebus christ! At least in Mexico the cops allow you to bribe them with only part of the money! You get to keep the rest.

    This is fucking armed robbery!

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Jul 2015 @ 12:20pm

    What a relieve

    The traveler was allowed to continue on his way.

    What a relief to know the passenger was allowed to continue on their way. I am sure the passenger was just as relieved to be relieved of the burden of carrying around $75,000. Always glad to hear about happy endings.

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

    • icon
      Village Idiot (profile), 1 Jul 2015 @ 12:32pm

      Re: What a relieve

      Yeah, I mean, at least they did not shoot him in the back...

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

      • identicon
        David, 1 Jul 2015 @ 10:47pm

        Re: Re: What a relieve

        Yeah, I mean, at least they did not shoot him in the back...

        They'll ask yet another government agency for that favor.

        It's called structuring crimes so that not everything can be seen pinned to the same person/agency.

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

  • icon
    Spaceman Spiff (profile), 1 Jul 2015 @ 12:23pm

    Gah!

    I bought a property in Mexico over 10 years ago for $55,000. We are selling it now for about 2x that. So, how do I get to "repatriate" my $$ without being held up by the US government? I don't have a problem with the long term capital gains taxes (still 10% I think) on the profits (about $5500), but since these assholes seem to think that anything over about $100 cash is "drug money"... I am thinking that I will have the bank wire me about $5000 per month. Not sure if that is going to keep them from stealing my money, but I know for sure that I can't just stick it in my bag and fly it back!

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

  • icon
    Nurlip (profile), 1 Jul 2015 @ 12:31pm

    So wait, the person lost their money for good or once the 'investigation' is over, they will get it back? I realize that's probably not what will happen but is that what is supposed to happen?

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

    • icon
      steell (profile), 1 Jul 2015 @ 12:34pm

      Re:

      The only way to get the money returned is lawyers and a lawsuit. And the Government will fight you every step of the way.

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

    • icon
      Village Idiot (profile), 1 Jul 2015 @ 1:18pm

      Re:

      If there was nothing outside of the interaction with the TSA, there should not be an investigation. the passenger should not have had their funds removed. Having cash is not a crime, and it does not constitute a reasonable and articulable suspicion.

      Just the idea that the government feels they can open an "investigation" based on whim really irritates me.

      "We have looked into Mr. Passenger and concluded that there was no crime that took place. Since our investigation has shown that he broke no laws while engaging in his legal activity, we have returned his money. Less the admin fee."

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

    • identicon
      Anon, 1 Jul 2015 @ 5:24pm

      Re:

      They never get it back. Go look up civil asset forfeiture - It basically lets them confiscate assets without any reason and never return them.

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

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 2 Jul 2015 @ 12:01am

      Re:

      The way I understand it is that the system is gamed so that it's unlikely they will get the money back. As I've read, it's something along the lines of - charges of suspicion are filed against the money (not the person - the money), and the original owner has to file suit to prove its innocence of being illegally obtained (not for the government to prove guilt of its original owner). So, even if they get it back, they've often spent it on lawyers in the process.

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

  • icon
    Geno0wl (profile), 1 Jul 2015 @ 12:35pm

    When is this going to stop?

    At what point will the courts step in and start actually reaffirming the 5th amendment? It is PLAINLY there!

    "No person shall be ... deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law..."

    IT IS FREAKING THE 5TH AMENDMENT! plainly there! obviously there!
    I mean I can sorta kinda MAYBE understand freezing assets in a court case when they can linked to criminal activity and you are trying to recover them.
    But to essentially steal property from somebody and not even charge them with a crime is outright plainly against the 5th amendment. How has the courts allowed this to stand!

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 1 Jul 2015 @ 12:44pm

      Re: When is this going to stop?

      All your amendments belong to us! Seriously, is there an amendment now that isn't being violated openly?

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 1 Jul 2015 @ 12:54pm

        Re: Re: When is this going to stop?

        The Third Amendment seems to be in pretty good shape. Now that we have paramilitary pseudo-soldiers claiming to be law enforcement officers, we do not need to quarter actual soldiers in your home, so we're technically in compliance even when we do use your home without consent.

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

    • identicon
      Baron von Robber, 1 Jul 2015 @ 12:45pm

      Re: When is this going to stop?

      Because the cost of the lawyer > the property they seized.

      It's the Prenda of law enforcement. :(

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

    • icon
      btr1701 (profile), 1 Jul 2015 @ 12:54pm

      Re: When is this going to stop?

      There's also this bit to the 5th Amendment:

      "...nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation."

      How does that not apply? They're taking the private property of citizens for (ostensibly) public use-- law enforcement purposes-- and not compensating them for it.

      Since the Supreme Court has ruled that "just compensation" is fair market value, then the DEA should have to pay the fair market value for the $77,000 in cash that it took-- and fair market value on $77,000 in cash turns out to be $77,000.

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

      • icon
        MrTroy (profile), 1 Jul 2015 @ 6:50pm

        Re: Re: When is this going to stop?

        and fair market value on $77,000 in cash turns out to be $77,000.

        That's funny, I don't really know anyone willing to pay $77k to get $77k in cash; I suspect market value is going to be lower.

        (Not sure if being sarcastic or logical...)

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

    • icon
      jilocasin (profile), 1 Jul 2015 @ 1:03pm

      Re: When is this going to stop?

      Actually the government doesn't see this as a 5th Amendment issue at all.

      See they aren't depriving _anyone_ of their constitutional rights (especially not the 5th amendment). The person wasn't seized, the money was. Money [unlike say a corporation] isn't citizen and therefore has no constitutional rights to violate.

      There you go, nice, tidy, and above all, legal.

      Until the courts strike down this legal fiction, along with that whole third party doctrine, and stop letting the government press charges against inanimate objects, the 5th amendment (as well as the 4th, and perhaps a few others) will be nothing more than a quaint idea.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 1 Jul 2015 @ 1:56pm

        Re: Re: When is this going to stop?

        The Constitution says people are entitled to due process and are protected against unreasonable seizures? No problem. They just claim that the process you are "due" is one where you bear the burden of proving a negative, and that the seizure is "reasonable".

        This is failure of all three branches. The legislative branch should never have passed civil forfeiture laws, the executive shouldn't be using them whenever they see cash, and the judicial should be striking the laws down.

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

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 1 Jul 2015 @ 1:57pm

      Re: When is this going to stop?

      How has the courts allowed this to stand!

      Two words: Drug War.

      All the laws get tossed out the window with those two words, because no judge or politician has the guts to stand up and defend 'those filthy druggies', as it would be political suicide. Even if they do, the vast majority of politicians will immediately jump up and declare that they will never 'coddle' the druggies, and if a few laws need to be bent a little, or flat out broken to get them, then so be it.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 1 Jul 2015 @ 2:21pm

      Re: When is this going to stop?

      Haven't you heard? We're in the middle of a drug war! And the constitution doesn't apply in times of war.

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

  • icon
    ahow628 (profile), 1 Jul 2015 @ 1:12pm

    Bribery

    WTF? I read this entire article and it is 100% clear that no one in this country knows how bribery works. They all screwed it up so bad.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 1 Jul 2015 @ 1:23pm

      Re: Bribery

      I think they do know how bribery works. In a bribe situation, you would have to give some of your money immediately to keep the rest. In forfeiture, they take *all* your money right now and you *might* eventually get some of it back if you go the expensive legal route and are very lucky. For them, this is so much better than bribery - it's legal!

      After all, they are just looking out for us poor citizens. They find criminal money following us around and "arrest" it before it can hurt us.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Jul 2015 @ 1:21pm

    #FIREtsaLISAF

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

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 1 Jul 2015 @ 1:25pm

    Typo

    Can we drop the nice fiction that actions like this are 'taking', or 'seizing' the money, and just call it what it is, Stealing?

    Adjusting for accuracy, headline should then be:

    'TSA Asks America To LOL At Traveler Who Had $75,000 Stolen From Him By Federal Agents'

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

    • icon
      MrTroy (profile), 1 Jul 2015 @ 6:55pm

      Re: Typo

      Actually, I think it'd be funnier to start calling it federal piracy:

      "TSA Asks America To LOL At Traveler Who Had $75,000 Pirated From Him By Federal Agents"

      Take the word back to what it used to mean, you know? With the added benefit that old-school piracy is one of the few crimes that is actually punishable by international law!

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Jul 2015 @ 1:26pm

    Again you guys just let your government walk all over you and take what they like, ya thats the land of the free...

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

    • icon
      Village Idiot (profile), 1 Jul 2015 @ 2:20pm

      Re:

      Yep, just sitting over here letting armed thugs take all of our shit. ...no

      I let my neighbor borrow some tools. The moment that neighbor brings armed thugs and a privately run prison for me to live in if I don't comply, that is when letting leaves the equation.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 1 Jul 2015 @ 6:10pm

        Re: Re:

        Actually you are they are called the DEA.

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

        • icon
          Uriel-238 (profile), 1 Jul 2015 @ 6:52pm

          Actually you are [letting the government walk all over you] they are called the DEA.

          I don't get it. Please explain why the agency being called the Drug Enforcement Agency indicates that the seizure is consensual?

          As far as I understand we have no rights to resist the will of the DEA or any other law enforcement agency except after the fact.

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

  • icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 1 Jul 2015 @ 1:36pm

    You know, I suspect they WILL know when they've encountered dirty (criminal) money...

    ...because the person they robbed it from would rather suicide by cop, and get some reprisal, rather than face the consequences of showing up to his destination empty handed.

    Last I checked, if you are carrying money for the mob (any mob) and the amount doesn't balance, they feed you to the factory's tooling machines unless the sharks are peckish.

    So when the person set free comes back with a gun or a bomb and kills the seizing officer (or someone at random in the precinct) that's how they'll know they actually used the civil forfeiture laws for the purpose for which they were intended.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Jul 2015 @ 1:37pm

    I guess legal tender is no longer legal.

    Well, time to find a new use for all of those pennies nobody likes.

    If the DEA wants to take my $75k in pennies, they're more than welcomed to.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Jul 2015 @ 1:41pm

    I'm not stealing music, I'm civil asset forfeiting it.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Jul 2015 @ 1:53pm

    That twitter account is pretty good.

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

  • icon
    Ben (profile), 1 Jul 2015 @ 2:37pm

    What happened to Probable Cause?

    If this money is completely unrelated to criminal activity, the government has just stolen money from one of its citizens.
    Who cares if it related or unrelated to criminal activity? The TSA (and the airport police) have *no* probable cause for considering it related to criminal activity.

    Note that for cash it has "This note is legal tender for all debts public and private", whereas a check (or other means of money transfer) doesn't; there is no reason for anyone to gainsay why a person is carrying cash: all debts public and private means the reason can be private.

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

  • icon
    MarcAnthony (profile), 1 Jul 2015 @ 3:42pm

    Is internet commentary their job now?

    Our taxes actually pay someone to post this crap?! Social media doesn't further the goal of transportation safety. Are we subsidizing propaganda or just pissing away funds that eventually require more government thugs to continue stealing every greater sums of money from citizens?

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Jul 2015 @ 3:44pm

    TSA: We find five percent of the weapons, and one hundred percent of the Benjamins.

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

  • icon
    JoeDetroit (profile), 1 Jul 2015 @ 4:06pm

    This is not new at all

    My brother-in-law, now retired, ran a team at LAX (County Sheriffs BTW) that placed a cop (not TSA) right in front of the gate while a plane was unloading. The crowd would stream around him while he scanned for suspicious people. Once he saw one, that person was detained, searched, & if they had money, it was seized.

    They did over 5 million in one year, as in 2010.

    A "receipt" was given & if they could produce a paper trail for the money, it was supposedly returned. He claimed that no one ever carries large amounts of cash that's legitimate. He was quite proud of their work.

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

    • icon
      nasch (profile), 1 Jul 2015 @ 7:48pm

      Re: This is not new at all

      He claimed that no one ever carries large amounts of cash that's legitimate.

      I suspect that's a big part of the problem.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 3 Jul 2015 @ 9:46am

      Re: This is not new at all

      if they could produce a paper trail for the money

      How does someone produce a paper trail for money tucked under the mattress over many years?

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

  • icon
    JoeDetroit (profile), 1 Jul 2015 @ 4:22pm

    WOW this is widespread

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Jul 2015 @ 4:24pm

    So the criminals are blaming the victims.

    If it wasnt for the TSA, the money would have made it where it was supposed to go. Screw the TSA and their Thievery

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

  • identicon
    Rekrul, 1 Jul 2015 @ 5:09pm

    I would really like to see a show like 60 minutes do an undercover report where they film the money being withdrawn from the company account and then being seized at the airport. They should do it 3-4 times, but not reveal themselves to the agents making the seizure. Then after all the money has been taken, air the episode and catch the feds with their pants down.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Jul 2015 @ 7:49pm

    haven't you heard only terrorists and their sympathizers use cash. only honest people use plastic apparently.

    Using cash is considered a warning sign that a person should be suspected of domestic terrorism by the DHS I kid you not.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 3 Jul 2015 @ 7:03pm

      Re:

      Don't be a overseas tourist who got some USA cash back home from the bank & then brings it into the USA. I did & the looks from the locals when I tried to spend a new $100 note was amazing. At home in my country $100 notes are used all the time for cash transactions, even the cash machines hand out $50 notes. But then we get paid more than you guys do, so maybe that's why.
      Whereas $50 notes in the USA are looked upon with suspicion as the cash machines hand out only $20 notes. How backwards is that when you take out $500 at a time to save exorbitant overseas transaction charges that your bank & credit card company charge.

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

  • identicon
    justme, 1 Jul 2015 @ 7:59pm

    Drug War. . .

    I think it would be almost impossible to create a drug policy that was less effective in decreasing substance abuse, while also causing the damage that the drug war has to both individuals and society as a whole.

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

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 1 Jul 2015 @ 10:24pm

      Re: Drug War. . .

      Good thing none of those involved other than the low ranked grunts have any interest in actually decreasing substance abuse then, otherwise they might have to consider re-evaluating their tactics and actions for being completely ineffective at decreasing drug use.

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

  • identicon
    David, 2 Jul 2015 @ 4:25am

    Calling a spade a spade


    Asked about the incident via e-mail, Farbstein said that "the carry-on bag of the passenger alarmed because of the large unknown bulk in his carry-on bag. When TSA officers opened the bag to determine what had caused the alarm, the money was sitting inside. Quite unusual. TSA alerted the airport police, who were investigating."

    It seems the police didn't just "investigate." They worked with another federal agency to take the money:

    In this case, the cash was seized by a federal agency, most likely the Drug Enforcement Administration, according to Richmond airport spokesman Troy Bell. "I don't believe the person was issued a summons or a citation," he said. "The traveler was allowed to continue on his way."

    So Farbstein's claim about how it was "just a curiosity" is completely bogus. Not only was the photograph and putting it on social media a questionable invasion of privacy, but then they handed it off to another federal agency to take the money... and then the TSA clearly implied the opposite on social media once the story blew up.

    Well, it's teamwork. In American Football, the quarterback does not try scoring. Instead he passes the ball to the big bad uglies who then make a run for the end zone. If nothing else works, they'll kick the living shit out of the ball and/or pass it off to the next big bad ugly.

    Don't give the defense a single target. Instead, split the crime into multiple less conspicuous parts.

    That's structured high way robbery. You wouldn't expect less from an organized crime syndicate, now would you?

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

  • icon
    Michael Allen (profile), 2 Jul 2015 @ 8:37am

    having too much cash makes you look suspicious unless you're bank

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Jul 2015 @ 10:49am

    There goes the ransom money

    The individual was just about to get the the hostage back until the TSA stepped in. Unless the individual is the kidnapper.

    This would highten the tension in the Hollywood movie cliche, the risk of a briefcase full of cash being seized before or after the handoff.

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

    • icon
      Uriel-238 (profile), 2 Jul 2015 @ 11:38am

      Re: There goes the ransom money

      That really would work with any briefcase MacGuffin. I'm pretty sure the TSA would seize (or signal another agency to seize) the glowing whatever-it-was that Jules Winnfield was delivering.

      In fact, that would be a great motion picture right there. Winnfield is outnumbered and outgunned by police when they seize the briefcase. Now the Bad Motherfucker has to go and get it back.

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

  • identicon
    Casey, 2 Jul 2015 @ 12:26pm

    The rest of the story

    The guy did have outstanding warrants for his arrest, so the money would have been seized anyway.


    That does not excuse the TSA for taking the picture, or posting it nor glossing over their involvement in this case. It is not a crime to carry cash. No matter what the numbskull in this article says:

    http://wtkr.com/2015/07/01/tsa-seizes-75000-in-cash-from-richmond-passenger-and-he-may-not-get- it-back/

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Jul 2015 @ 1:26pm

    Us Against Them...

    Read this take on asset forfeiture from the U.S. Postal Inspector website:

    The Asset Forfeiture Program is an integral law enforcement tool that benefits the Postal Inspection Service by:
    1. punishing criminals by taking the profit out of criminal activity,
    2. preserving the forfeited assets for identified victims whenever possible,
    3, increasing revenue for law enforcement purposes, and
    4. providing an enhanced 'esprit de corps' among law enforcement through equitable sharing.


    It really is "us" against "them".

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Jul 2015 @ 8:50am

    Give it a few months, they'll realize carrying a credit card with a high spending limit = cash (where the governments law now states that anyone with more than $100 on them MUST be a drug mule), so they'll confiscate the card and run purchases until it's maxed, and the citizen will be out of luck........

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Jul 2015 @ 11:32pm

    Rich people problems!

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


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Use markdown for basic formatting. HTML is no longer supported.
  Save me a cookie
Follow Techdirt
Insider Shop - Show Your Support!

Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads

Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.