TSA: We Can Detain You (…and other false statements)

I just filed my opposition to the TSA’s motion to dismiss my lawsuit for illegally detaining me in FLL airport. The TSA’s motion, as to be expected, was full of contradictions, failures at logic, and other absurdities. For example, in order to avoid liability under a statute that creates a cause of action against “any officer of the United States who is empowered by law to execute searches,” they argued that TSA screeners are not empowered to execute searches. (My response was substantially: “Great! Then I can ignore them when I see them in the airport, right?”)

But perhaps what stood out the most was their assertion that they constitutionally detained me. They freely admit that screeners are not law enforcement and have no power of arrest, but at the same time argue it was totally cool for them to hold me — because it was brief.

Either one has powers of arrest or one does not. It doesn’t become “ok” simply because you do it briefly. Once again, the TSA has asked the court to carve out a new exception to the law to allow for its thuggery. Here’s to hoping that U.S. District Judge Joan A. Lenard gives them the bench-slap that they deserve.

Corbett v. TSA – USA & TSA’s Motion to Dismiss (.pdf)
Corbett v. TSA – Opposition to USA & TSA’s Motion to Dismiss (.pdf)

13 thoughts on “TSA: We Can Detain You (…and other false statements)

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  1. C o r r u p t government always want to have it both ways. If the Supreme Court ever gives the TSA immunity from prosecution ‘in the interests of safety’, the TSO’s will begin carrying weapons. Hopefully, that is when the commercial aviation system in the United States will collapse from loss of revenue, or abolish the TSA.

    The Federal Government is not a business, so they must tax money or print money when they need it. But if all the Airlines go bankrupt, the government cannot bail them out indefinitely. Unless, of course, they want to radically downsize commercial aviation.

    Congtess has already budgeted the DHS and TSA for millions. if the Airlines collapse, these agencies will move to the bus terminals, train stations, and interstate h i g h w a y s.

    If that happens, say good-bye to your freedom to travel in the U.S.A.

  2. esgatch, you already need to say good-bye. They are slowly but surely spreading out. In the next 12 months I fully expext to see random searches along the roadway, first within a distance of an airport and then within a distance of a “transportation facility” i.e. busstop.

    If we don’t stop this America is finished as a free country — actually we may already be finished.

    1. John, the state governors will allow the dhs & vipr agencies just as the airlines have allowed the tsa. We can refuse to fly, but when these other agencies begin to unlawfully detain us and deprive us of liberty and property, they will meet dramatic resistance. The U.S.Congress sees what’s happening and knows what coming, and will do nothing about unless thousands of people retaliate. Until that happens, they will have martial law in place for when the u.s. dollar c r a s h e s. THAT is what this is all about.

  3. If TSA is not empowered to conduct searches what to you call what they are doing? When they “screen” my carryon, they are “searching” my belongings. When they pat me down, are they not “searching” for a weapon of some sort?

    I 100% agree that if they do not have the power to detain you, then they should stop. They may have the power to keep you from going past security but they have no right to detain you if you wish to simply depart the area.

  4. Travelers have to stop empowering the TSA period. Boycott flying completely. If you can’t boycott flying completely then only fly when ABSOLUTELY necessary and when you do don’t make it easy for them. Opt out of the naked scanning, do not allow them to touch you in private areas, request private screening with a witness of YOUR choice, they can’t refuse you a witness of your choice and don’t let them touch you unless they don clean gloves in FRONT OF YOU. If the TSA is alllowed to continue there’s no telling how far they will reach and how intense they will become. The TSA will continue to push as long as YOU let them. If you are satisfied riding in the back of the bus then do nothing but if you would like a front seat once in a while then it will take some sacrifice from everyone of us. If the TSA does not have the power to conduct searches or detain you them DON’T allow them too!

  5. Jonathan,

    I am experiencing difficulty with an outstanding FOIA request I have with the TSA. I am hoping you might have some advice for me. Can you please contact me at bricevan8160 -at- gmail and I will fill you in on the details? Thanks.

    1. Unfortunately there’s little I can offer. If you have a FOIA request that the TSA is ignoring, your choices are to call and bother their FOIA office until you get a response, or file suit in US District Court.

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