Rutherford Institute sues over 'virtual strip searches' and 'rub-downs'

news-body-scannerThe traveler wears no clothes.
PHOTO BY JOHN WILD

The Rutherford Institute has taken aim at stepped-up airport security that exposes every intimate detail of travelers' bodies and filed a lawsuit on behalf of two airline pilots who refused to submit to "whole body imaging" scanners or the alternative hands-on pat down.

The Fourth Amendment suit filed in federal court names as defendants Janet Napolitano, Department of Homeland Security secretary, and John Pistole, Transportation Security Agency administrator.

Pilots Michael Roberts and Ann Poe were not allowed to go to work when they refused to be scanned or patted down.

“Forcing Americans to undergo a virtual strip search as a matter of course in reporting to work or boarding an airplane when there is no suspicion of wrongdoing is a grotesque violation of our civil liberties, undermining our right to privacy and to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures by government agents,” said John W. Whitehead, president of the Rutherford Institute. “Indeed, TSA is forcing travelers to consent to a virtual strip search or allow an unknown officer to literally place his or her hands in your pants.”

The new technology and procedures have spurred a national Opt-Out Day on November 24, the day before Thanksgiving and one of the busiest travel days of the year.

36 comments

Hmmnn. Wonder what the breakdown is between suits Whitehead has brought against Democrat administrations or politicians versus those on his side of the aisle.

My copy of the Constitution doesn't distinguish between Republicans and Democrats

@ObviousMan: Well, Whitehead was right about defending Paula Jones. Clinton DID flash his pecker at her. He just never manned up to it (all Jones wanted was an apology, but Clinton, a sex addict and congenital liar, didn't have the cojones for that). Whitehead is right to defend these pilots too. If you're so anxious to have your junk massaged, go to 14th Street in DC. They'll take care of you there. Maybe your masseuse will be a Democrat, if that makes it even more enjoyable for you. If these porno pics and groin massages were being done while Bush was prez, no doubt you'd be raising h*ll.

@democracy: These are the actual facts of what happened with the Jones case. If this is your idea of the case getting thrown out, I wouldn't pursue a career in law if I were you. Or journalism.
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Before the case reached trial, Judge Susan Webber Wright granted President Clinton's motion for summary judgment, ruling that Jones could not show that she had suffered any damages. Jones appealed the dismissal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, where, at oral argument, two of the three judges on the panel appeared sympathetic to her arguments.
On November 13, 1998, Clinton settled with Jones for $850,000, the entire amount of her claim, but without an apology, in exchange for her agreement to drop the appeal. In March 1999, Judge Wright ruled that Jones would only get $200,000 from the settlement and that the rest of the money would pay for her legal expenses.
In April 1999, Judge Wright found President Clinton in civil contempt of court for misleading testimony in the Jones case. She ordered Clinton to pay $1,202 to the court and an additional $90,000 to Jones' lawyers for expenses incurred as the result of Clinton's dishonest and misleading answers about his alleged affair with Monica Lewinsky. This amount, however, was far less than the $496,000 that the lawyers originally requested from Clinton after he was found in contempt of court.
Wright then referred Clinton's conduct to the Arkansas Bar for disciplinary action, and on January 19, 2001, the day before President Clinton left office, he entered into an agreement with the Arkansas Bar and Independent Counsel Robert Ray under which Clinton was stripped of his license to practice law for a period of five years. His fine was paid from a fund raised for his legal expenses.

These measures are ineffective. Any explosive material that fits in the buttcrack or groin area would fit in body cavities as well. Should women pull out tampons and show them to TSA to make sure they're not filled with C4?

Exactly.

As long as the Morris Shifflett's of this country keep falling for this, 'They're out to get us,-" crap, the Bush's and Obama's are going to keep using it.
Al Quada finished "attacking us" nine years ago; since then, just dealing with warmongers and make-work militaries.
Copier bomb!
Don't cut the Pentagon budget!

@Copier Bomb:

"Al Quada (sic) finished attacking us nine years ago"????? I guess you forgot about the shoe bomber, the underwear bomber, the Times Square bomber and that Muslim Army Major at Ft Hood who murdered 12 soldiers. Numerous other plots were uncovered too. You're living in a dream world.

quote: "But it’s a bit of a stretch to imply that there are TSA personnel out there who can’t wait to get to work so they can pat down someone of the same sex. Please."

So, you actually believe that TSA does not have gay or lesbian employees?

It turns out women have more to worry about than men...

http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2010/11/tsa-sees-sanitary-napkins-body-scans/

I'll bet the pilots that were slashed to death with boxcutters would rather have had a pat down instead. Quit yer whining.

I say the only way to get Al Queda's attention is to let it be known that if another attack is made on american interests, we will nuke mecca.

No, just kidding, there is no way to stop them, they will probe for weakness and attack. Patience and persistence are what they will use against us.

Let's just hope they don't start to appeal to citizens of this country who are angry with government. Imagine that, a law abiding citizen with an axe to grind decides to convert to radical islam.
Wait, that already happened at Fort Hood..........

Well I am not flying without the scans and patdowns. You could hide enough C4 explosive in your buttcrack to blow a plane to pieces, even easier a small .25 Beretta tomcat. Get over yourselves! I would walk buck naked through a checkpoint to keep terrorist and nuts from killing innocent people. Quit being naive. They are coming for us! What short memories the American public has of the horror of 9/11.

Well it is obvious that Bin laden got his way...

perhaps He should put up a banner saying "mission accomplished"

Google "TSA images" and see for yourself.

I hope you enjoy getting getting groped by felons and people who were too rude for walmart.

Don't worry though they won't be saving sny of the pictures of YOUR daughter to spead around the net.

Correct, BillMarshall! He's sitting in a cave somewhere laughing his rear off at Americans now. Even worse than accomplishing his mission, we haven't been able to put our hands on him or locate him for the past 10 years.

If the government gets away with this, god knows what they'll think they have permission to do. Tooth and nail, people. Don't fly until the scanners and patdowns go away.

"...people who look like (and very well may be) 8th-generation Americans."

Judging by what are considered high priority social issues today I tend to agree with you. When people stop protesting real issues but will protest t-shirts something is wrong.

After 9/11 and some of the ridiculous kneejerk procedures that were put in place I quit flying. Without doubt, EVERY single time I went through a major airport I was pulled to the side and tested for gunpowder residue, bag searched and was "wanded" or "frisked". I was a freqent flyer with hundred of thousands of air miles.

The final straw was in NY. I was pulled once again while a group of roughly 6 people who did fit a profile passed right by me unhindered.
Personally, I do not trust the people doing the security and I surely do not trust them with full body images that are supposedly destroyed.

If this is a way to get people to agree that profiling isn't such a god awful thing, then it was worth something.

The pilots could get jobs cooking french fries at fast food restaurants, unless they are offended by the requirement to wash their hands.

Another case of shutting the barn door after the horses have escaped. What amazes me is that the powers-that-be and fear-mongering politicians really seem to think that anybody who might possibly be a terrorist is also dead-solid-perfectly stupid. The same group of people who coordinated a 4-prong attack on 9/11 (where America SHOULD HAVE LEARNED that people willing to martyr themselves are nearly impossible to defend against) could easily fill a car with C-4 and detonate it inside the NYC underwater tunnels and kill thousands while paralyzing the economy of New York for YEARS. No TSA to stop them.

Or they could arm themselves and disperse throughout America and behave like the Beltway Snipers to terrorize all of America. Think about how long they escaped capture, and multiply them by 20 terrorists using the same strategy. Would you pump your own gas then?

A thousand targets that have nothing to do with air travel, yet that's where we focus our resources. It's because we always seem to defend against the last attack instead of the next one.

As for Jim's comment that if 9/11 got people to agree to profiling then it was worth it, don't be surprised if the next terror cell discovered contains people who look like (and very well may be) 8th-generation Americans.

As usual, a political solution to a problem yields a poor outcome. We need to focus on the person as the threat, not what they carry, and should use the tools available to keep terrorists off the planes; use criminal data bases, tied to facial recognition software, and profiling to select the small number of people that deserve attention by security. We could learn how to do this by the Israeli's, who don't force this crap on their citizens.
And Janet N's comment that if the American public doesn't like the procedures, they don't have to fly, should lead to her dismissal.
http://travel.usatoday.com/flights/2010-11-16-airportpatdowns16_ST_N.htm

Well sure, this is reasonable. Right?

http://goo.gl/rnQb7

BillMarshal is correct, again! The new procedures are still in the "next to useless" category for a determined person, unless of course a full cavity search is conducted. And since TSA is taking this security one step at a time, cavity searches may be in the not so distant future.

And this "same sex" patdown leaves a lot to be desired too if you stop and think about it for a moment. There are women who enjoy touching other women, and men who enjoy touching other men.

morris, they are not looking up your buttocks...... YET but give them time...

What we need is pre screening so that those of us who wish to submit to a background check can go through an expedited system. It is stupid for pilots to be humiliated since they don't need a bomb THEY HAVE THE STEERING WHEEL IN THEIR HANDS!!!

Everything in life is a calculated risk. These bozos can do just as much damage driving a car bomb right through the front doors of an airport. Their goal is not to kill americans but to shut down the economy so we cannot interfere in their world. They are responsible for at least a trillion dollars of our debt already.

The TSA has gone too far and Napolitano is clueless. The images are out there and it is only a matter of time before we get a hollywood celebrities picture out on the net.

They need to back off and stop bullying people. They need to show some respect to the 99.999% of people that they have looked at and felt up. We pay their salaries. We pay their outrageous benefits and we even pay for their lawyers when they cross the line and someone files a lawsuit.

If a plane blew up tomorrow the odds are that the person doing it sauntered right past security while they were frisking grandma.

Not surprisingly, it took some skin to for our "conservative" friends to wake up to the utter loss of privacy over the last decade.

Virtually no outrage when AT&T routed ALL domestic email through NSA servers. No outrage over chronic law enforcement abuse of the "Patriot" Act to conduct illegal searches for non-terrorist investigations. Little concern over REAL ID or data mining done on ordinary law abiding citizens by state Fusion centers.
The TSA scanning is just the tip of the iceberg. The electronic Privacy Information Center at Epic.org has the details for those who care.

Clearly, there have to be security measures in airports (and elsewhere). And it's also true that people (the screener of the three-year-old in the video link posted by Jim Duncan, for example) are sometimes too rigid and don't think well (or at all).

The scanners are not going away. And neither are terrorists. But it's a bit of a stretch to imply that there are TSA personnel out there who can't wait to get to work so they can pat down someone of the same sex. Please.

And where is Osama bin Forgotten? He sure wasn't in Iraq. And Saddam sure didn't have any WMD.
And the crazy logic used to justify that war (other than WMD) ââ?¬â??ââ?¬â?? "we have to fight them there or we'll fight them here" ââ?¬â??ââ?¬â?? never held any water either. The war in Iraq has not only cost a ton on money (some economists project its total cost at $4 trillion) and many lives (and wounded), but also it has increased the recruitment of terrorists and increased the likelihood of terrorist attacks in the future (here and elsewhere).

One way to enhance security is to have strong, cooperative, mutually-respectful relations with other nations and peoples. The use of torture, advocated (and practiced) by some, undermines the prospects for and practice of such relations. So too does conservative religious dogma, from any faith.

One poster said that too many have forgotten "the horror of 9/11." That's likely true (at least to some degree). And too many never understood what led to that tragedy, and still don't. Blame was misplaced. Big mistakes were made. We're all paying for them....more security policies and procedures, more inconvenience, more costs (for which, quite oddly, we borrow the money rather than tax ourselves), increased threat(s).

Too many people have also forgotten the immediate run-up to 9/11. Urged to focus like "a laser" on terrorist threats, the Bush administration focused instead on unfunded tax cuts and deregulation.
The Presidential Daily Briefing memo of Aug. 6, 2001 ââ?¬â?? one of many warnings ââ?¬â?? went unheeded. And it was more specific than many said. See:
http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB116/index.htm

So, many years later, we are less safe, we have a huge national debt ââ?¬â??ââ?¬â?? caused in no small part by wars, defense and intelligence and security spending, unfunded tax cuts and breaks and "incentives" that never trickled down, deregulation that allowed Wall Street to become one big casino, and rampant, unchecked greed ââ?¬â??ââ?¬â?? and we complain. And place blame. And get it wrong. Again.

Those who've so often touted "accountability" for others ââ?¬â??ââ?¬â?? for the unemployed, for public schools, for welfare recipients ââ?¬â??ââ?¬â?? too often avoid and evade it for themselves. If the recent elections are any indication, it's reasonable to expect that narrow ideology will make things worse, and not better.

As the old comic strip character Pogo said, "We have met the enemy, and he is us."

It is a shame that we have to use such extreme tactics to ensure the safety of our traveling public. I would think that we could come up with a more non-invasive way to get the same results. To give in to the desire of our enemy is simple minded. We are reacting in fear and not with a focused and clear mind. The evil ones are laughing at us!!!

Just curious....is the 6:49am post still "awaiting moderation?"
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If the Rutherford Institute was "right" to "defend" Paula Jones, then why did a federal judge throw her lawsuit out for lack of merit?

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/politics/special/clinton/stories/jo...

And why did Jones wait so long to file suit?

And who funded Jones' suit(s), besides Rutherford?

http://www.salon.com/news/1998/04/cov_02news.html

One genuine concern that pilots might truly have is that of being scanned by these machines each and every time they fly. Over time, the effects of this radiation might truly add up. Because no one knows what these effects are, pilots may be forced into early retirement or simply put out to pasture to deal with the lifelong issues all by themselves. That isn't right, is it?

ML,

Actually, my comment was about the scanners and groping causing the tide to turn on profiling; not 9/11. I probably could have phrased it better. Either way, I'm done flying until this is fixed, and that's more of a stand against the loss of privacy than any embarassment or concerns about radiation. Hopefully it will be agreed by Napolitano or her successor (please hurry) that this was an overreach.

How much you want to bet that Stretch Pelosi, Janet Incompetano and Harry Reid don't have to go through a Nude-O-Scope (or get a groin massage if they decline having their porno pic taken)?

Music Lover, you wouldn't happen to be named Wendell Butler would you?

http://www.theonion.com/articles/local-man-foremost-expert-on-what-the-t...

If I was on that jury and the others felt as I did, TSA's budget would be wiped out. In fact, $50,000 of the final verdict against the government should come out of the TSA employee's salaries, although they're probably protected (unfortunately).

@realist: just picturing nudie pics of any of those three....eewwwwwww!

Thanks a lot....now I can't eat the rest of the day.

Agreed, cookieJar! There's probably many TSA employees who hate going to work now. But the fact remains, there's still many who enjoy their "new" duties. :)

I'm sure there are just as many TSA employees who cringe at the thought of having to pat down slovenly overweight American travelers all day long.