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