The Airport Nazis Strike Again!

The below article shows once again how overzealous undertrained security guards are destroying commercial air travel in the U.S. These are the "agents" who are "guarding our safety" by stopping and body searching 80 year old war vets, congressmen, little old ladies, infants and others, while NOT profiling young Arab/Middle Eastern men of military age!

Banned Airport Items May Cost You Big Bucks

Travelers Can Be Fined For Confiscated Items

(Received this one in email. Author's name not mentioned)

POSTED: 8:03 am PDT May 24, 2005

UPDATED: 8:15 am PDT May 24, 2005

 

    SAN DIEGO -- With today's tightened security, most people know they're not supposed to pack certain items when getting on a plane. If you do forget and get caught with a banned item, you simply hand it over and continue through the gate. Right? Maybe not. Thanks to a little known federal safety policy, you may literally have to pay the price, not only with your pocketbook but also with future travel troubles. Airport officials say they are simply aiming for safer skies. But privacy experts, and some on Capitol Hill, are up in arms. When Jon Zetterlund mistakenly packed a Swiss Army knife in a carry-on, he wasn't surprised when airport security confiscated it.
    But Zetterlund was shocked when an official letter arrived a few weeks later. "I had been assessed a fine of $250 for bringing a weapon into the sterile environment of the airport," said Zetterlund. This stepped-up safety plan was created by the Transportation Security Administration and implemented at Lindbergh Field and airports nationwide. The TSA took over and restructured the civil penalties for carrying-on prohibited items in February of 2004.Zetterlund is one of nearly 10,000 passengers fined in the past year for packing banned items.
    "Our intent is just to make sure that people who are a threat, you know, are dealt with accordingly. The, 'oh, I forgot I had it' doesn't work with us anymore," said Lauren Stover, the Eastern Regional Public Affairs Supervisor for the TSA.
    Stover says the fines range from $250 to $10,000 depending on the violation. But the penalties are not automatic. "We take a lot of factors into consideration," said Stover. These factors include a person's attitude with screeners, whether a person has tried to conceal the item and how dangerous it is. Zetterlund was fined because of the length of his blade but says he doesn't think he should have been a target at all.
    "I don't feel as though I had intent that would really go hand-in-hand with a fine," said Zetterlund. "Someone can take something into one airport and end up with a penalty; another airport, the individual item is let go by," said John Mica, Chairman of the House Aviation Subcommittee.
    Mica says the system is too arbitrary and wants most of the fines to be eliminated. "I think TSA has gone overboard. They've fined people for bringing a wedding cake knife on a plane," said Mica.
    "Fines are imposed as a deterrent, that we can get people to think a little bit," said Stover. Are the fines working? The TSA intercepted more than seven million items last year, with fines in place. That's up a million from the year before with no penalties." Passengers are not getting the hint of what they can and cannot bring to the airport," said security expert Eric Grasser.If you do get "bagged," you should also be aware that it could cause problems on future flights. 10News has learned that your name and personal information may be added to a secret database.
    The TSA confirms there is a list of names of people who have been fined. This list can make these passengers a target for extra surveillance, including the dreaded rectal probes, when they fly. Stover says there is no way to know whether you're in the database, and that the list is confidential for security purposes.
    "Certain people get placed on a list that would require them to get additional screening every time they fly," said Stover. Airport security officials admit this list is off-limits for security purposes. That has some people outraged. Privacy expert Marcia Hoffman says it's important to know what information is maintained about you by the government. If you can't even find out if you're in the database, "you're not able to verify the accuracy of that information and change it when it's incorrect," said Hoffman of the Electronic Privacy Information Center. While it's policies are sparking controversy, the TSA insists its one and only mission is to protect. "Everything that we're doing right now is to keep the passengers safe," said Stover.
    

Yeah, right.

 

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