Saturday night, a 31-year old computer programmer from Oceanside, California, John Tyner, was preparing to take a flight from the San Diego International Airport to South Dakota to go pheasant hunting with his father-in-law. When Mr. Tyner entered the security area, Transportation Security Administration agents directed him to the full-body scanner. He refused the full-body scan, citing health and, uh, exposure concerns about the effects of the scan.
The agents left him with a choice. Either submit to the scan, a groin search (which he also refused), or leave the airport. But there's a catch. If he leaves the airport, he is subject to a lawsuit and an $11,000 fine. Mr. Tyner opted to accept this risk.
However, what probably galled the feds more than anything else was that he taped the entire experience on his cell phone and posted it to his blog two hours later.
Interestingly, there is a poll attached to the article that shows that 53% of the 6,630 people polled at the time of this writing believe that the intrusion and inconvenience of such scanning outweigh the security benefits. The other options were: "security officials should make exceptions for passengers who refuse normal procedures after determining they don't pose a security risk through other means", 27%; and "aviation security is essential and passengers must get used to the new rules", 18%.
I feel sadness for that 18% -- they have already accepted slavery.
Obviously, the TSA agents either do not know about, do not understand, or do not care about the Fourth Amendment -- but then I suppose they consider the Constitution to be a dead letter.
For the record, here is the Fourth Amendment (emphasis added):
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
In other words, if we had a Constitution that was being observed, the TSA agents would have had to be able to explain (eventually to the satisfaction of a federal judge) why they believed Mr. Tyner to be a terrorist. I would be very interested in hearing what that explanation is...