TSA tweets photo of the contents of a passenger’s carry on. There was nothing illegal inside. (HT: Toqueville)
The passenger was carrying a large amount of cash, which we know risks having that cash confiscated without full due process so probably isn’t a good idea. But having an agency that may start the process that leads to one’s life savings being taken tweet mocking the passenger strikes me as inappropriate.
It seems to me that someone carrying large amounts of cash is highly unlikely to be trying to take down a plane. Terrorists need financing, their don’t burn their own stashes of cash, they don’t carry large bags of cash onto planes they want to take down. The TSA’s behavioral profiling should tell them that anyone carrying this is likely much less of a threat than average and ought to receive less scrutiny not more.
Social media didn’t react well to the tweet.
Since this may have been posted while the traveler was still enroute, a commenter wondered “now that the public knows the exact design, color, and size of this bag and also its contents, how is this traveler safer?”
Another mused, “We can totally trust these yahoos with naked X-rays, very reassuring.”
And to be clear — since this happened in Richmond, Virginia, the passenger was necessarily departing on a domestic flight since no international flights occur there. (It’s a requirement to declare amounts over $10,000 that you’re transporting out of the United States, not just bringing into the U.S., though once having declared the funds it is perfectly legal to transport them.)
The TSA’s response to all of this is that large amounts of cash may signal illegal activities. So given limited resources they’re taking their focus off of terrorism. The justification for the PreCheck program was precisely that they should use limited resources to focus on the biggest threats, but their policies here have them focusing on looking for activities that could be suggestive of illegal activities without even having identified anything illegal.
What’s more, the TSA reports:
TSA turned this bag over to law enforcement, which is investigating.
So the passenger was doing nothing illegal in transporting this cash, but it was still taken from them. Nice. I’m not sure if this is better or worse than TSA manipulating the nude-o-scope to allow them to fondle attractive passengers.
Featured image for this post via the excellent @TSAGov)