Monday, November 15, 2004

Fly The Friendly Skies. Not!

Former Congresswoman (R-ID) Helen Chenoweth-Hage was on her way from Boise to Reno, and was ticketed on a United Airlines flight. When she got to the airport, the hall monitors singled her out, and wanted to search her, possibly because she was on a one-way ticket. Ms. Chenoweth-Hage insisted on seeing a copy of said regulation before submitting to the search. Just the regulation, not the criteria used to apply it. She wanted to know "Why they're shaking down a 66-year-old white grandmother they greeted by name."

Local TSA security director Julian Gonzales (who has since been replaced) refused to show her the regulation, and refused to allow her on the aircraft. When asked why he wouldn't show it to her, he responded "Because we don't have to." He went on, "That is called 'sensitive security information.' She's not allowed to see it." Chenoweth-Hage rented a car to drive to Reno (and lost $100 to a change fee).

The ultra-conservative former Congresswoman wants the government to show her the new rule that's made pat-downs mandatory since Sept. 20. Sounds reasonable if you read the Fourth Amendment: "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."


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