Civil Liberties

Detained by TSA

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In town for a conference, a director of Ron Paul's Campaign for Liberty is detained by TSA at the St. Louis airport because when asked to explain why he's carrying $4,700 in cash (it was proceeds from book and ticket sales at the conference), he asks the agents to tell him what law requires him to do so. He managed to surreptitiously record his conversations with TSA officers on a cell phone. The audio is infuriating.

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  1. Yo, fuck the surveillance state.

  2. That’s why when flying I always wear my baggiest pants so I can stuff them with stuff I know will get past the metal detectors. Money, wallet, etc.

  3. an anonomous FBI plain clothed came up to them and then he was free to go and he made the flight, WTF! was he being watched? and WTF with the abusive agents, what dicks.

  4. Ahh! Stossel!

  5. The show is Judge Andrew Napolitano’s Freedom Watch, shown in foxnews.com every Wednesday as a web cast. Normally it is uploaded to Youtube by the evening, and you can see the link at LewRockwell.com.

  6. This makes me so angry. Marvin the Martin angry.

  7. Waaaaait a sec, Fox News and its stable of punditry has regularly supported the expansion of TSA’s powers, cast aspursions on anyone who questioned their tactics, and repeatedly endorsed laws against recording law enforcement officials in any fashion.

    I’d like an explanation, please.

    1. They are neo-Nazis.

  8. Wow. When the Executive branch gets ahold of that recording, those agents are going to get a commendation for their brave defense of our nation.

  9. Quick! Somebody grab Pro L.’s Illudium Q-36 Space Modulator!

  10. I’d like an explanation, please.

    Fox News, like all corporate entities, is staffed my many different individuals with many different points of view.

    1. How many of those points of view are libertarian?

  11. I must destroy the TSA. It obstructs my view of freedom.

  12. I’d like to think every TSA agent on that tape will at least be fired. I’d really like them to face criminal prosecution. Why do I think the most that will happen is one of them will get a paid vacation?

    Say what ever happened to that cop that executed the black kid in the subway in front of passengers packing cell phones?

  13. We gon’ hep yew undastand.

    I love that part. Some musician should sample it.

  14. Abuse of power and acting without the support of law should be a termination event, period. Whether it should be a criminal or civil offense is another question, depending on how egregious the misconduct was.

  15. Fox News and its stable of punditry has regularly supported the expansion of TSA’s powers, cast aspursions on anyone who questioned their tactics, and repeatedly endorsed laws against recording law enforcement officials in any fashion.

    Andrew Napolitano did not do this. He was the constitutionalist counterpart of Alan Colmes, ie a punching bag the neocon regular commentators would bring on their shows to claim they were balanced.

  16. I’d like an explanation, please.

    Also, Andrew Napolitano (on the right) has a very big libertarian streak, and often disagrees vehemently with Bill O’Reilly despite guest hosting his radio show frequently.

  17. Ugh. I at least get why I was detained the one time. I was on a watch list because my name is almost as common as “John Smith” (JS has 79 million hits on google, my name only has 60 million). It’s stupid, but at least I get it – with that many, if they’re going to have watch lists, I’m pretty much guaranteed to be on it (not that it will do any damn good). At least in theory, the people on the watch lists might be potential threats to the plane itself, and I was also detained going through customs, so again I can easily chalk it up to bureaucratic stupidity.

    But WTF security risk does cash pose? What is the transportation safety justification for their questions?

    The answer, of course, is that air travel is just a handy excuse for a warrantless search. Pesky constitution, getting in the way all the time.

  18. You people just don’t understand, he could have paid off the pilot to crash the plane, or he could have converted the dollars to change and taken out a flight attendent with a roll of pennies.

    Don’t worry folks, we’ll just have the DEA come in. That’s the great think about the DEA, they can just take your money whether you actually are suspected of drugs or not.

  19. How much cash do suicide bombers usually carry?

    “This $4700 is to pay for dresses for all my virgins.”

  20. This is maddening, but not overly surprising. What does surprise me is to hear the commentators equate this with the government taking over capitalism. The fascism point is well taken, but if that is a shot at the current administration, let’s keep in mind that the TSA was not established last month. My fear of fascism heightened significantly over 6 years ago.

    I hope Napolitano will follow up on this and determine whether or not every participant in that interrogation was fired.

  21. You have to give Ron Pauls’ staffer a lot of credit for being calm and collected during the intense browbeating he was under.

  22. Abuse of power and acting without the support of law should be a termination event, period.

    Unfortunately, that would imply some sort of coherent comprehension of the actual law, both on the part of those who wrote it, and those who administer it. Currently, it is a etheral penumbra, which manifests itself to different individuals in different ways.

  23. You have to give Ron Pauls’ staffer a lot of credit for being calm and collected during the intense browbeating he was under.

    I have to say, there is no possible way I would have been so easy going about it. Especially if I had a recorder going.

  24. How much you wanna bet that the FBI guy was coming in to say “This guy had Ron Paul stickers – he’s probably itching for a lawsuit” rather than “Seriously guys, you’re being retarded”?

  25. P Brooks,

    This, sadly, the qualifying “should be.”

    I must join the chorus of people paying respects to the guy’s calm demeanor. I was tempted to yell while just listening.

  26. “Waaaaait a sec, Fox News and its stable of punditry has regularly supported the expansion of TSA’s powers, cast aspursions on anyone who questioned their tactics, and repeatedly endorsed laws against recording law enforcement officials in any fashion.”

    [Citation needed}

  27. Money; it’s a crime.

  28. Fox News and its stable of punditry has regularly supported the expansion of TSA’s powers,

    You’re absolutely right, some of their commentators had said that private market security systems failed on 9/11 showing that the “market” failed to “protect us”. However, that begged the question because the system had very much protected everybody from gun-blandishing crazies and hijackers for many years and also that there is nothing to say a government system would not have been worse.

    However, Judge Napolitano has been very critical of the TSA since its inception. His show is unique in that it espouses libertarian though much more than some of the regular prime time shows, like Glenn Beck’s.

  29. “Say what ever happened to that cop that executed the black kid in the subway in front of passengers packing cell phones?”

    Officer Johannes Mehserle and another officer were restraining Grant, who was prostrate and unarmed, when Mehserle stood, drew his gun and shot Grant once in the back.

    Grant died seven hours later in an Oakland hospital.

    On January 13, Alameda County prosecutors charged Mehserle with murder for the shooting. Mehserle is the first California police officer in decades to face murder charges for an on-duty incident. He resigned his position and pled not guilty.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BART_Police_shooting_of_Oscar_Grant

  30. I love that part. Some musician should sample it.

    Warty,

    Ever hear Steve Reich’s Come Out? That piece was also sampled on a sick Madlib track. If we’re going to have a police state, at least we’ll have cool music? :-/

  31. So, has Ron Paul made any statement about this?

  32. You have to give [The Campaign for Liberty] staffer a lot of credit for being calm and [equanimous] during the intense browbeating he was under.

    The kid acted bravely, sticking to his rights.

  33. “Am I free to go?”, Obviously this guy has watched the video on how to deal with the cops when they pull you over.

    1. If there is a better way to resist police abuse, lay it out here. Statements like: “Am I being detained, or am I free to Go?”, “I do not consent to searches,” and “I will not answer questions without a lawyer,” contain magical legal words attached to your personal rights under the constitution. Repeat these words enough times and the cops will either break the law and arrest you without cause, or if they’re actually good, honest cops, send them on to more promising efforts in a search for real proof.

  34. I’ve met Mr. Bierfeldt. He not only works for the Campaign for Liberty, but on his own time has also set up a local affiliate in the VA suburbs of DC.

    They picked on the wrong guy. He reacted exactly how I might have predicted, after being in his presence for only a few hours.

    The Supreme Court heard a case just year (CUELLAR v. UNITED STATES) on the right to carry large amounts of concealed cash without automatically being suspected of a crime. They unanimously came down on the right side.

  35. case just year

    Just last year, that is.

  36. Whoops, it was when Madlib was doing Madvillain with MF Doom. My bad.

    Song hier

  37. “””Yo, fuck the surveillance state.”””

    In our country, the surveillance state fucks you.

  38. If you are sporting Ron Paul bumperstickers in Missouri you are already assumed to be a subversive.

  39. No audio at work. Does the TSA agent recognize his folly, apologize, and wish the detainee well? Balko’s so due.

  40. Yeah, more and more, supporting freedom is becoming a threat to the government.

    Who won the cold war?

  41. Shouldn’t this be referred to as Obama’s TSA? I seem to hear the president tagged to his executive branch helpers much less since January 09.

  42. “We gonna help you understand”.

    From a real person, that would be a threat. From a bureaucrat, it’s protecting America.

  43. I have to say, there is no possible way I would have been so easy going about it. Especially if I had a recorder going.

    I generally let my wife handle all interactions with the po-po if I can get away with it at all. I am unable to maintain my cheerful easy-going demeanor for more than about 3 seconds.

  44. In our country, the surveillance state fucks you.

    Ow, my ass!

  45. Does the TSA agent recognize his folly, apologize, and wish the detainee well?

    Yup. And the whole sordid affair ends with a heartwarming singalong. I thought I detected strains of “Queef Free,” but couldn’t tell for sure.

  46. It would have been a lot more productive for his movement if he had gotten the shit kicked out of him by TSA officials for not answering their questions.

  47. And just think how much support our movement would get if we were all executed for posting here! Awesome!

    Not to read too much into your comment’s intent, but hoping for trouble in the name of the cause is just another form of the victim mentality.

  48. FrBunny,

    So I can end the private reenactment of Ruby Ridge in my condo?

    [placing shotguns on safe]

  49. It’s worth noting that neither the TSA, nor its agents will suffer any penalty from this encounter. The only one to lose out here was the guy standing up for his rights.

  50. I thought I detected strains of “Queef Free,” but couldn’t tell for sure.

    Ah, Dagny! That’s gross! It’s just not funny, Dagny!

  51. For now, HEB.

    And just to be clear, the Mango Punch scenario has definitely played out off-tape far too often, so I can see the apparent value of finaly capturing it for cable newz.

  52. [Takes deep breath. Learns to let her own typos slide.]

  53. A) Supreme kudos to that guy keeping his calm. I would have lost my temper and told them.
    B) Of all fucking people for the TSA to detain. Seriously. Of all fucking people.

  54. Sort of remonds me of a story by Declan McCollough (I know that is spelled wrong) back in the 1990s called “That’s the Constitution, Gilligan and You are Stepping all over It!”

    It was about a customs inspection with lots of uestions about his books. No questions about his laptop.

  55. Queefs are never, never, never not funny.

  56. That’s gross! It’s just not funny, Dagny!

    Once again, we see that Canadians are at the forefront of all that is hilarious and gross.

  57. The show is Judge Andrew Napolitano’s Freedom Watch, shown in foxnews.com every Wednesday as a web cast

    Thanks. I was going to ask how that presentation could possibly have made it onto FOX (TV), they being the pro-Bush, pro-Patriot Act, law-and-order network.
    The good judge is the exception to that rule.

  58. “Thanks. I was going to ask how that presentation could possibly have made it onto FOX (TV), they being the pro-Bush, pro-Patriot Act, law-and-order network.
    The good judge is the exception to that rule.”

    Granted Fox sucks a large hard one, But MSNBC swallows There’s this show called 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. So you’d think it was about the presidency. But it’s not. It’s just a daily bash of Republicans.

  59. No kidding. MSNBC is anti-Republican, all the time. They’re the anti-FOX. The joke, of course, is that both networks are, for the most part, anti-freedom. They just go about it in different ways.

  60. Dagny T.

    Gross. Damn that South Park episode! And to think I missed you!

  61. I mean, why bash Palin everyday? Ignore her? Sure. And they constantly bash Jindal and just about anyone one else in the Republican party who’s beginning to gain national attention. Very preemptive. It’s as if they are an official arm of the DNC and they want to be certain to poison the image of anyone who might take on Obama in 2012. The’ve spend days upon days bashing Sen Michelle Bachman (R-MN). Bachman? I mean, who even gives a shit about Bachman. And the half truths and bald-faced lies? It’s just amazing.

  62. I meant Congressperson Bachman not Senator.

    I regret the error.

  63. I was on a watch list because my name is almost as common as “John Smith” (JS has 79 million hits on google, my name only has 60 million).

    You’re having us on. No way does “lunchstealer” get 60 million google hits.

  64. It’s as if they [MSNBC] are an official arm of the DNC

    Keith Olbermann is obsessed with Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity and FOX in general. His unrelenting psychotic rants comprise a large portion of his evening show. He’s paid millions but loses the ratings war with O’Reilly every week. Bill O’Reilly is a populist bully and megalomaniac who occasionally gets it right, but Olbermann’s whole raison d’etre is hatred of Republicans. That’s a pretty shallow format, suitable for the simple-minded. But to be beaten like a cheap rug by the likes of O’Reilly, week after week, must be destroying Olbermann’s brain.

  65. Anyone who works for the government is a cocksucking little bitch.

  66. Technically, you do work for them. Interstate commerce is subject to just about anything now.

  67. Naga,

    I think he was hitting on you.

  68. You’re having us on. No way does “lunchstealer” get 60 million google hits.

    You beat me to it. I was going to say this goes on long way in explaining why there are no free lunches.

  69. I think he was hitting on you.

    Good thing he dumped that Japanese Asian chick so he can be available for this guy.

    More action back in the Ninja thread.

  70. I would have gave them a smarmy, “So I am not under arrest anymore? I am just trying to understand your law.”

  71. Anybody know what kind of phone he was using? I found a blog post that said he was using an iPhone, if he was, what kind of application would activate a recorder on a shake (like with a Star Trek communicator)?

    Anyways, I googled and found full audio here: http://www.dailynewscaster.com/2009/04/02/audio-full-version-steve-bierfeldt-detained-and-questioned-by-st-louis-tsa/

  72. what kind of application would activate a recorder on a shake

    That would be the Shake on, shake off, the shaker app. since it is an iPhone you can purchase apps with carbon credits.

  73. You’re having us on. No way does “lunchstealer” get 60 million google hits.

    You beat me to it. I was going to say this goes on long way in explaining why there are no free lunches.

    On the other hand, you can see why they’d detain me. Think of the havoc I could cause with 200 airline meals.

  74. when asked to explain why he’s carrying $4,700 in cash

    I would have just answered “Because its mine” and kept walking.

    Of course, I’d probably be in wheelchair by now, too.

  75. ok after listing to the entire tape, this is what i have come up with.
    The TSA agents were incredibly unprofessional in both the execution and idea of thier jobs. They were DICKS! It appears that the officer/officers who were real cops acted much more professionally and when he got to the real cops, not a guy who thinks saying box of monies is correct english, things went smooth and he was allowed to proceed. The true law officers respected his rights, and moved things along. the TSA Dicks even after he was released were behaving badly.

  76. Why was it necessary for Napolitano to ask them to put the man’s picture back up on the screen and then make the comment, “Does he look like a terrorist?” I don’t really think that’s appropriate, his appearance has nothing to do with this. Would it have been alright for them to detain him if he had looked a certain way?

  77. Would it have been alright for them to detain him if he had looked a certain way?

    No. The judge was making a funny. Because the victim looked like he was taken from Republican central casting.

  78. “Are you from this planet?!” This is INSANE.

  79. It’s obvious these TSA officers were acting like every other police officer – they see something mildly suspicious, try to goad you into surrendering your fourth amendment rights, then get upset when you assert your rights and try to badger you into giving them up, because, as the officer said, “you look suspicious” and “if you have nothing to hide, you’d tell us.” That last bit would be true if police weren’t targeting citizens based on political affiliation.

  80. The TSA agents were incredibly unprofessional in both the execution and idea of thier jobs. They were DICKS!

    Probably because the TSA has an insecurity problem, they even had to get new blue police-esque uniforms so they could feel better about themselves.

  81. This is about the drug war. That’s why the Totally Stupid Assholes were talking about taking him to the DEA. DEA knows large amount of cash = drugs. Large amount of cash + airport = must ask questions, and away it went. Cops rarely ever put up with people invoking rights, they don’t like at all. Yet that’s the first thing they do when suspicion falls on them.

  82. No. The judge was making a funny. Because the victim looked like he was taken from Republican central casting.

    I get that, but unless somebody was following him around with the American flag backdrop, he’s just another blond white guy in the airport.

  83. Cops rarely ever put up with people invoking rights, they don’t like at all.

    Police work is largely about intimidation. Their ability to perform their job generally depends on being seen as an authority figure. Likewise with interrogations. If your suspect is scared and believes that cooperating will help, he will. The implied threat against the innocent is that failure to cooperate will make your next 72 hours very unpleasant.

  84. Good day! We (TSA Blog) just posted a statement on this incident. Click here —> http://tinyurl.com/cqvg4o

    Thanks,

    Blogger Bob
    EoS Blog Team

  85. Nobody mentioned sueing these TSA guys as individuals for ‘false arrest’. Was that a possibility?

  86. The implied threat against the innocent is that failure to cooperate will make your next 72 hours very unpleasant.

    The older I get, the more ready for unpleasant I am.

  87. This video has been deleted due to copyright infringement.

    What a surprise.

  88. Now YouTube are either running scared or under control of the government; the video has been deleted due to copyright infringement.

    Is everyone running scared of the socailist governments?

  89. Here’s the full audio:

    http://www.aclu.org/national-s…..gation-tsa

  90. Not that it balances things, but I record my government interactions and then save them at haveproof.com to use technology on MY side to protect ME.

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