Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Giving Credit Where It's Due--To The ACLU, Of All Groups!

Every once in awhile I'll find common cause with the ACLU, and this is one of those times. They're taking on one of my favorite targets in government, the Transportation Security Administration.

On March 29, 2009, the plaintiff in the case, Steven Bierfeldt was detained in a small room at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport and interrogated by TSA officials for nearly half an hour after he passed a metal box containing cash through a security checkpoint X-ray machine. He was carrying the cash in connection to his duties as Treasurer of Ron Paul’s Campaign For Liberty. Steven’s experience is part of a troubling pattern of the TSA transforming its valid but limited search authority into a license to invade people’s constitutional right to privacy.

Steven was detained and questioned as he returned home from a Campaign for Liberty event transporting proceeds from the sale of tickets, t-shirts, stickers and campaign material. He repeatedly asked the agents to explain the scope of their authority to detain and interrogate him and received no explanation. Instead, the agents escalated the threatening tone of their questions and ultimately told him that he was being placed under arrest. Steven recorded audio of the entire incident with his iPhone...

I despise the TSA with every fiber of my existence. They rank right up there with the NEA and CTA, and just above the ACLU (hehe), in organizations I'd just as soon live without. They're nothing more than minimum-wage-caliber people who are given a badge with the power of the US government behind it. They do next to nothing to secure transportation, and they harass millions of travelers a day in what I've heard accurately described as "security theater". It's bad enough that they get to do all that they do; if it takes the ACLU to keep them from going beyond even the stupid limits they're given, then bravo to the ACLU (in this case).

This may very well be one of those "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" situations. So be it.

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