Beating the TSA: How a determined passenger spent hours arguing his rights before being waved through the checks, by James White, November 23, 2010:
It's the solution that millions of American airline passengers have been searching for - how to avoid bodyscanners and intrusive pat-downs when they fly.
Now one patient traveller has proved it is possible to bypass the high-level security measures in place at all airports, but only if you have time on your hands.
Blogger Matt Kernan recorded his epic experience as he returned to North Kentucky International Airport in Cincinnati from Paris on Sunday.
Exasperated at being told to prepare for a body scan and with time on his hands, the determined businessman decided to make a stand - with remarkable results.
Writing on his website noblasters.com, he said: 'I certainly don’t enjoy being treated like a terrorist in my own country, but I’m also not a die-hard constitutional rights advocate.
'However, for some reason, I was irked.'
'Maybe it was the video of the three-year old getting molested, maybe it was the sexual assault victim having to cry her way through getting groped, maybe it was the father watching teenage TSA officers joke about his attractive daughter.
'Whatever it was, this issue didn’t sit right with me. We shouldn’t be required to do this simply to get into our own country.'
As a result, Mr Kernan informed staff he did not want to go through the infamous Backscatter imaging machine.
He was told he would have to undergo an invasive pat-down search, but again politely told staff that he would consider any contact with his genital areas as assault.
After being told that the two options were TSA policy, he replied: ' I disagree with the policy, and I think that it is unconstitutional.
'As a US citizen, I have the right to move freely within my country as long as I can demonstrate proof of citizenship and have demonstrated no reasonable cause to be detained.'
As the situation escalated further airport police were called and more senior TSA officials but Mr Kernan refused to back down, remaining calm throughout.
Eventually causing a stand-off between police and TSA officers over who should resolve the situation, Mr Kernan was told by a superviser: 'Here’s what we’re going to do. I’m going to escort you out of the terminal to the public area.
'You are to stay with me at all times. Do you understand?'
He was then escorted by the police and no less than 13 TSA officer through security without a hand laid on him.
He said: 'And then came the most ridiculous scene of which I’ve ever been a part.
'I gather my things – jacket, scarf, hat, briefcase, chocolates.
'We walk over to the staff entrance and he scans his badge to let me through. We walk down the long hallway that led back to the baggage claim area. We skip the escalators and moving walkways.'
He was then waved away by annoyed officers and said: 'In order to enter the US, I was never touched, I was never “Backscatted,” and I was never metal detected.
'In the end, it took 2.5 hours, but I proved that it is possible. I’m looking forward to my next flight on Wednesday.'
The passenger's success shows that even senior TSA staff are unsure to handle awkward passengers who question the legality of the checks.
The revelation comes as TSA workers admitted they have been left terrified by a public backlash over the checks.
Angry passengers have allegedly subjected Transport Security Officers to verbal abuse and even physical threats.
The American Federation of Government Employee, the union which represents officers, said a TSO was punched by a passenger in Indianapolis.
Union President John Gage called for more information on the searches including leaflets for passengers.
He said: 'TSA must act now — before the Thanksgiving rush — to ensure that TSOs are not being left to fend for themselves.'
Up to two million passengers per day are expected to fly today and tomorrow ahead of Thanksgiving, with huge delays expected.
Apparently, this guy is not some kind of activist - he's just an ordinary guy.
And when Washington starts pissing off the ordinary guy, that's when the backlash really starts.
The TSA employees are afraid, and they should be. This is essentially a sexual assault, especially when done by young punks commenting about how pretty a girl is. Sexual assault committed by government officials under color of authority... how is this really different from the current regime in Iran, or the Nazi regime?
The government has gone too far.
Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, and George Soros all need to go through the same treatment that they send down from Mt. Olympus for us less-priveleged mortals.
And, there's an important lesson in how-to: don't get loud or violent; just quietly, politely assert your rights with determination.
(I was going to say "stick to your guns", but then someone from the government would probably have to waterboard me to find out what that meant in the context of airline security.)