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TSA Responds To Ron Paul Supporter Cash Incident

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Just found a comment left by the Transportation Security Administration in the post I wrote yesterday about that situation in St. Louis where a Ron Paul supporter was held and questioned because he had $4,700 in cash on him (which is roughly represented in the picture above).

From Evolution of Security:

At approximately 6:50 p.m. on March 29, 2009, a metal box alarmed the X-ray machine at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport, triggering the need for additional screening. Because the box contained a number of items including a large amount of cash, all of which needed to be removed to be properly screened, it was deemed more appropriate to continue the screening process in a private area. A Transportation Security Administration (TSA) employee and members of the St. Louis Airport Police Department can be heard on the audio recording. The tone and language used by the TSA employee was inappropriate. TSA holds its employees to the highest professional standards. TSA will continue to investigate this matter and take appropriate action.

Movements of large amounts of cash through the checkpoint may be investigated by law enforcement authorities if criminal activity is suspected. As a general rule, passengers are required to cooperate with the screening process. Cooperation may involve answering questions about their property, including why they are carrying a large sum of cash. A passenger who refuses to answer questions may be referred to appropriate authorities for further inquiry.

A few things…

  1. I applaud the TSA for reaching out like this and responding so quickly. And the fact that they said some of the employees were acting inappropriately is a MASSIVE shift from what we’ve seen the past several years.
  2. I still would like to see what law requires passengers to answer questions about why they have cash on them. Because the officers on the tape never answered the question and this blog post doesn’t either.
  3. Why would $4,700 in a metal box constitute criminal activity? I can understand if this guy was hiding it the lining of a suitcase or in his underwear, but from I’ve heard of the story, it was your basic lockbox.

So yes, there are still some questions to be answered and I still think the TSA needs to think about revising some of their policies, lest they receive an inordinate amount of backlash for incidents that never needed to happen in the first place.