TSA, GOP Rep. square off in airport over body scanners
A Republican congressman who recently had an unpleasant run-in with the Transportation Security Administration in a Utah airport is denying allegations that he acted out over being ushered into a line for a full body scanning machine.
Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), a longtime opponent of the security technology witch effectively performs a strip search on its subjects, told a Salt Lake City NBC affiliate that a TSA agent claimed to know “exactly” who he is, causing the congressman to wonder if the whole incident was direct harassment.
He added that while the body scanner is optional, agents tried to force him through it.
“They did not make it optional; and when I told them I didn’t want to do it, they started treating me as though I was some sort of criminal or something, giving me the third degree,” he told KSL NBC 5.
The NBC affiliate reported that TSA said it plans to review the incident, which was captured on video. The agency further reiterated to the channel that body scanners are intended to be optional. Passengers who choose not to allow the TSA to take an electronic rendering of their nude bodies are instead subjected to a pat-down at an alternate checkpoint — an exception that Rep. Chaffetz said he did not so much mind.
“Then, trying to get the supervisor’s name and ID number, the supervisor said to me, ‘We know exactly who you are,'” Chaffetz told the station. “At that point, yeah I said ‘B.S.’ and kind-of spelled it out. … I was frustrated.”
He added that an anonymous agent had later accused him of acting rudely and grabbing one of their ID tags, then “throwing” his business card at them. Chaffetz dismissed the claims outright and called on the TSA to release the video.
These videos are from KSL NBC 5 in Salt Lake City, Utah, broadcast Sept. 24, 2009.