Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who covered Washington during all or part of one quarter of America's presidencies and edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review has been on the web since 1995. See main page for full contents

June 19, 2009


Raw Story - Announcing a lawsuit against the Transportation Security Administration for the "illegal" detention of the Campaign for Liberty's treasurer in April at a St. Louis airport, the ACLU damned what it called a "troubling pattern" of aggressive invasions of privacy by the TSA.

Steve Bierfeldt, the man at the center of the controversy, recorded his confrontation with the airport security agents on his phone. . .

In it, he is clearly wary of the security agents and takes steps to ensure he says nothing to incriminate himself under questioning by the agents. He told journalists later that he was also fearful of the agents because of the so-called "Missouri memo" that, while retracted, branded Ron Paul supporters as potential "militia."

The Campaign for Liberty was founded by Texas Republican Congressman Ron Paul, who attracted a groundswell of support during his failed bid for the GOP presidential nomination. Many of the group's members were in St. Louis in early April for a major rally.. . .

Along with specifically highlighting former presidential candidates Ron Paul, Chuck Baldwin and Bob Barr as icons of the militia movement, it also cautioned police to be on the lookout for bumper stickers advertising third party candidates, or people with copies of the United States Constitution. The Missouri Department of Public Safety later apologized profusely after the three men signed a letter demanding a retraction, and the state's Lt. governor promised to look into the memo's origins.

"Mr. Bierfeldt's experience represents a troubling pattern of TSA attempting to transform its valid but limited search authority into a license to invade people's privacy in a manner that would never be accepted outside the airport context," said ACLU attorney Larry Schwartztol in a Thursday media advisory. "Just as the Constitution prevents the police on the street from conducting freewheeling searches in the hopes of uncovering wrongdoing, it protects travelers from the kind of treatment Mr. Bierfeldt suffered."

The release adds: "TSA officials have the authority to conduct safety-related searches for weapons and explosives. According to the ACLU's lawsuit, TSA agents are using heightened security measures after 9/11 as an excuse to exceed their search authority and engage in unlawful searches that violate the privacy rights of passengers. The lawsuit also charges that unconstitutional searches and detention by TSA agents have become the norm."


Anonymous Rick said...

TSA agents knowingly abuse their power...some of them are very nice and normal citizens doing their job but others just need to be either disciplined or simply fired for being idiots...imagine if they themselves we being asked the same question? all this heightened security made sense to me until I saw a 90 year old white woman get searched for explosives...now that is absolute baloney when an idiot agent is threatened by a passenger like her...TSA needs to stop whinnying and step up their technology so they can get rid of half those people milking the government for benefits that hardworking citizens pay for!

June 21, 2009 1:13 AM  

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