Tags: tyner | video | security | patdown | xray | dont | touch

TSA 'Don't Touch My Junk' Video Stirs National Debate

Monday, 15 Nov 2010 12:11 PM

A video of a California man arguing with airport security officials has set off a torrent of outrage over the electronic and physical scanning methods used by the Transportation Security Administration to screen passengers. The TSA said Monday that while it tried to be sensitive with full-body X-ray scans or hand pat-downs, everyone who boards a flight must be searched one way or the other, according to CNN.

In the cell phone video, which has gone viral, software engineer John Tyner refuses an X-ray scan at the San Diego, California airport. Tyner told CNN Sunday that he was surprised to see so many people take an interest in his refusal, and the dispute with airport screeners that followed it. But he said he hoped the video will focus attention on what he calls a government invasion of privacy.

Tyner said that after he declined the body scan, a TSA agent told him he could have a pat-down instead. Once the procedure was described, Tyner said he responded, "If you touch my junk, I'll have you arrested."

Tyner was threatened with a civil suit and a $10,000 fine if he left the airport's secured area. An in-depth article from the San Diego Union-Tribune explains that Tyner was wary of full-body scanners for both health reasons and privacy concerns. He even went so far as to check the Transportation Security Administration's website before leaving for the airport to confirm that Lindbergh Field didn't use them, according to Yahoo! News.

"Advanced imaging technology screening is optional for all passengers," TSA said in a statement released Monday. "Passengers who opt out of [advanced imaging] screening will receive alternative screening, including a physical pat-down."

"Obviously, everybody has their own perspective about their personal screening," TSA official John Pistole told CNN. "The question is, how do we best address those issues ... while providing the best possible security?"
I don't think that the government has any business seeing me naked as a condition of traveling about the country," Tyner said.

Pistole admits the agency is "trying to be sensitive to individuals issues and concerns," but adds, "the bottom line is everybody who gets on that flight has been properly screened."

The dispute that followed, Tyner said, included police escorting him from the screening area and a supervisor saying he could be faced with a civil lawsuit for leaving the airport before security had finished screening him.

"The whole thing just seemed ridiculous... I don't intend to fly until these machines go away," he said.

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