TSA detains man with facial palsy for refusing to disclose where he was going and why

Close down the TSA! In the atmosphere of politically correct authoritarianism in which we live, the TSA cannot focus on the actual source of the threat to air security, and so has opted for intrusive questioning and the unwarranted detaining of free citizens. This is madness.

“Steve Gunn: Just say no when the TSA asks you to ‘chat,'” by Steve Gunn for The Muskegon Chronicle, August 22 (thanks to Benedict):

I came face-to-face with Big Brother the other day, and it was a frightening experience.

He actually presented himself in the deceptive form of a young, attractive female officer, working for the Transportation Security Administration at Detroit Metropolitan Airport.

At first she simply seemed chatty and friendly. She looked at my airline boarding pass and noted that I was coming from Denver. Then she mentioned that I was headed from Detroit to Grand Rapids.

“That’s a pretty short flight,” she said.

“Talk to my travel agent,” I grumbled.

At that point she asked me what my business would be in Grand Rapids.

“I’m headed home,” I replied.

Then she wanted to know where home was. That’s when the mental alarms went off and I realized I was being interrogated by Big Brother in drag.

I asked her why the federal government needed to know where I was going and what I would be doing. She explained that the questions were part of a new security “pilot program.”

I then told her I am an American citizen, traveling within my own country, and I wasn’t breaking any laws. That’s all the federal government needed to know, and I wasn’t going to share any more.

Not because I had anything to hide. It was because we live in a free country where innocent people are supposedly protected from unwarranted government intrusion and harassment.

At that point the agent yelled out, “We have another refusal.” One of my bags was seized and I was momentarily detained and given a hand-swab, which I believe was to test for residue from bomb-making materials.

I passed the bomb test and was told I could move on, but I hung around a moment and told everyone within listening range what I thought about this terrifying experience.

So, this is what we’ve come to. The federal government now has a need to know where citizens are going and what they are doing before they are allowed to peacefully pass. I’m starting to wonder what separates us from Russia or Cuba.

Of course, I went home, got on the computer and learned more about this “pilot program.” I discovered that it’s been going on for a few years now at selected airports around the nation.

TSA officers, being the brilliant people they are, are given the responsibility of picking out airline passengers “whose facial expressions, body language or other behavior indicate a security risk.” They are then subjected to a “chat down,” where officers interrogate you and decide if you are indeed a terrorist.

Hmmm. So what did I do to make them label me a security risk?

Well, it was 9:30 in the morning, and I was just coming from a three-day music festival in the Colorado mountains, so I probably looked pretty groggy as I stood in the half-hour line to reach the TSA security checkpoint.

Perhaps it was my odd facial expressions. For the past few weeks I’ve been suffering from a condition called “Bell’s palsy,” which includes temporary paralysis of all the muscles on one side of my face. I can’t smile, and the condition makes me look even grumpier than usual.

I suppose the government figures that grumpy looking people with droopy faces are potential terrorists. God help any stroke victims who try to travel. If they suffer from paralysis beyond their face they may be detained and questioned for weeks.

This program is a bizarre and outlandish violation of the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which is supposed to protect us from “unreasonable search and seizure” by agents of the government, unless they have probable cause. I doubt any judge would have considered my droopy face as sufficient cause for harassment.

I lived through 9/11 and I understand the need for tight security at airports. I put up with the ritual of taking off my shoes and belt and standing in a machine that shows TSA agents physical details that are really none of their business.

The idea is to keep dangerous materials that could be used in a terrorist attack off commercial airliners. Fair enough. But stopping people because they look sort of funny to security agents, and probing into their personal business, is going too far.

What’s next? Check lanes on city streets, where jackbooted thugs from Washington, D.C., will stop everyone every morning to ask them where they’re going and what they’re up to? And if our answers are not what the government wants to hear, perhaps we’ll be sent home and put under surveillance, to make sure we’re not involved in anything that Big Brother doesn’t approve of….

And worst of all, Big Brother doesn’t approve of those who are interested in defending our Constitutional freedoms against Islamization.

Chicago-based Muslim convicted of funneling money to jihadis stuck in Egypt, claims he's on terrorist watch list by mistake
TSA charged with racial profiling at Boston's Logan Airport
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  1. says

    Lie detector tests are next…These TSA officials are nuts…anyone can walk right in the front door of an airport with special underwear or a special package…Then the idiots check them inside a crowded terminal…How special is that? What are they going to do if they find someone wired up? Panic?…The flights are safe enough, it’s the terminals that are dangerous…

  2. says

    After reading Mr.Gunn’s story the very last sentence in his article is certainly reflective of a truism of this nations hypocrisy when it come to dealing with the real threats of terrorism.

    Yep BIG BROTHER is blinded by the reality of what motivates almost virtually every terrorist that America and the West should be dealing with, that of the teachings of Islam and its demands for adherence to the jihad alas in the Qu’ran.

    No doubt had he been a Muslim returning from Denver to Dearbornistan they would have looked the other way so as not to offend him and be raked over the coals by the main street media as well as a battery of lawyers. After all political correctness is still a warped disease that is entrenched even in our TSA and DHS.

  3. says

    I think this is an example of why the Israeli method, which relies extensively on passenger interviews, won’t work here. It is not because it is a bad system, but T&A is too stupid to implement it. We Americans are also a bit too prickly about our rights (Whether that is a good thing or a bad thing, I leave to another argument.) to allow it to work well.

  4. says

    Well I got pulled over by the cops the other morning for having big boobs. No kidding!! I was wearing my seatbelt under my arm instead of across my chest because it cuts into my neck if I wear it across my chest. Many women who are short or have big boobs have this problem.
    The cop asked did I know why I got pulled over and I said ‘you tell me’ He said the thing about the seat belt and I said ‘Look how this seatbelt hits me and distracts me while I drive’ So I showed him. I said I wear this because I have big boobs. He looked abashed and said he didn’t know what to say. Then he stumbled for something to say and asked if it was my car. Lordy lordy. What is America coming too? Anyway he did not give me a ticket.

  5. says

    I’m sorry.

    This article by Steve Gunn is one of the stupidest by far that I’ve seen on JihadWatch. It’s all emotion, without a speck of intelligent reflection.

    The Israelis profile the heck out of Muslims, but they question everybody flying on El Al: where are they going, where will they be staying, what are they doing, etc.

    Gunn is upset that he is discriminated against because of his facial paralysis. He feels put upon because the TSA agent asked nicely where he was going and where his home was. Such persecution. It’s threatening our identity as Americans to be asked where our homes are.

    Gunn wants the TSA agents to be able to read his mind, to see without effort he is 100% American. They should be profiling the Muslims with skullcaps and wives with burkhas.

    Now, I have no objection whatever to profiling Muslims, and masked Muslim women. But, when Al-Quada or one of it’s derivative groups decide to seriously blow up a plane, they are not going to choose one of the Pakistani immigrant loud mouths with 16 wives. They will choose an American, blue-eyed convert who has been coached to keep his conversion quiet, even from his family. So, he will be waved through, if the profiler advocates have their way.

    Granted, the TSA is not composed of geniuses. Do you want to jump on them for every little mistake, so when they encounter somebody they are really suspicious of, they will not be allowed to act unless that person fits into a predefined category?

    The fact is, real hijackers stand out like a sore thumb. They look and act spooky. Let the TSA agents stop infants and grandmothers. Let’s hope that if they have proven they really don’t discriminate, they will be able to act when that real threat comes through.

  6. says

    Constitutional Rights? where?

    Certainly not within the boarders of what used to be a free country! Wake up. The American Patriot bill, the Homeland security Act and the 2004 Intell act suspended the US constitution. Did we even notice when GW jr. Proclaimed himself himself commander and chief of the national guards of the the country? For a brief period od time we were a genuine dictatorship. Fortunately GW did not claim his prize.

    We worry about what the “Black guy” is going to do next when we should be working to repeal these thee bills which have wrenched from us of our God given freedom. It appears Americans are more than willing to hand over their freedom as long as the Bud Bowl et al preoccupy them showering them with suds and warm fuzzy’s. Why worry about Islam because our current direction will distactthe country and Islam will be walk in on Rose Petels. Then the Bud will cease to flow and a day of reckoning will be the new dawn.

    The constitution is gone folks! Police now wear combat fatigues and have given politeness for authoritarian Intimidation. Try to tell the legion of new officers, “why did you stop me,” or if you are not arresting I will be going now.”. You will find yourself face down zip tied at the curb while car is searched.

    Bill of rights be damned. We have become what we feared most, a nation of sheep. We have traded the great American Eagle for a new symbol the “Great Yellow Chicken,”. This election should should be about ridding ourselves of the TSA and the three above acts which would return power to the people by restoring the constitution!

  7. says

    I would rather answer personal and apparently unnecessary question that risk flying with a terrorist. If the TSA want to know if I am circumcised or uncircumcised, I will show them rather than risk getting on the same plane as one of Allah’s fanatics. Keep up the good work TSA. You can intrude on my privacy as much as you like….. so long as you do the same to the followers of Allah.

  8. says

    If the TSA want to know if I am circumcised or uncircumcised, I will show them rather than risk getting on a plane with one of Allah’s fanatics. Keep up the good work TSA, you can intrude on my privacy as much as you like……. so long as you treat the followers of Allah in the same way.

  9. says

    I fully respect the Israeli system of sussing out possible terrorists but it does’t work in the USA because we see Profiling as a bad thing. Questions by the socially correct without proper profiling is a waste of time. (ticks and sloppy dress do not count.) 911 murders were nicely dress and smiled all the way onto their flights. TSA is a con game to subdue the antsy cattle.

  10. says

    Well, when did we have to prove anything to the government who ignore the constitution question us without probable cause, search us without probable cause and detain us without probable cause.

    Ronald B your comments indicate you have little understanding if the constitution or the words and fears of Jefferson, Franklin and the rest of our founders. You have missed the point of what Gunn was trying to say. they do not have right to ask where we are going. He does not have to prove anything to TSA, rather they have prove he is a suspect BEFORE they stop him.

    If we do not return to constitutional order of things we will totally lose our right life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Franklin would say we traded our freedom for security. Ron read the constitution and the founding fathers. The constitution is free online.

  11. says

    ” Ron read the constitution and the founding fathers.”

    I challenge you to show me any provision in the US Constitution which forbids asking a traveler where his home is before allowing him on transportation.

    Your argument is full of holes, highly emotional and cloudy with smoke.

  12. says

    I’m sorry, but I consider it dangerous to pull phony-baloney constitutional issues out of the TSA story.

    The US Constitution is a bedrock and effective guarantee of our basic liberties. It provides a far superior protection of our rights than the Europeans or Canadians can dream of. We are risking our liberties by making the Constitution into something it isn’t, which gives those who want to suppress our freedoms the same latitude.

    The Constitution gives us absolute protection from the government suppressing our right to express ourselves, or the right to protect ourselves with firearms. It protects us from arbitrary arrest or prosecution.

    It does NOT give us the right to not answer questions when boarding an airplane. It does NOT prevent the airline, or the government agent, to question us further or to prevent us from boarding. You can rant and rage all you like, but you can’t shape reality with your ranting and anger.

    Furthermore, if you can modify the Constitution through hot air and wistful thinking, so can others who genuinely want to limit our true Constitutional rights.

    We’re far better off sticking to a solid interpretation of the Constitution, and keeping our feet planted in solid earth.