Police Searching Cars at Random Outside Airports

Police Searching Cars at Random Outside Airports

[...] The searches at all three major Washington area airports and across the nation have met resistance in some cities as airport managers assess their legality. The measures, ordered by the federal agency in charge of airport security, have been criticized by civil liberties groups and prompted legal scholars to question whether random searches imposed by the federal government violated states' rights.

At least one major airport, Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, said it would not comply with the directive because it ran counter to state laws prohibiting police from searching a vehicle without a specific reason. "We can't just stop everybody, or stop every third car or every blue car," said airport spokesman Bob Parker.

The Transportation Security Administration instructed local police on Feb. 8 to begin the searches "in response to threats and intelligence information" it received. [...] In its defense, the agency pointed to several cases in which federal courts ruled that vehicles could be searched for reasons of public safety. [...]

Constitutional experts said the TSA could face a fight over the new rules. "There is a serious constitutional question about whether the federal government can direct local law enforcement agencies to do anything," said Georgetown University law professor Mark Tushnet. [...]

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3 Responses:

  1. baconmonkey says:

    Like a doctor to a scared child, the govt demonstrates exactly what it thinks of us

    Police at Harrisburg International Airport in Pennsylvania have been sweetening the inspections by passing out lollipops to targeted drivers. "It's so we don't intimidate," said Alfred Testa Jr., the airport's aviation director. "The policemen are very polite. They will have a smile on their face."

  2. jay says:

    Interesting. I was at RDU today to drop off someone from work that was late for his flight.

    As we pulled up to the departure area in my truck, a nice man with an assault rifle waved me away and into an "Inspection Zone". Then a nice lady sans assault rifle looked at my truck passenger side wheel well for a bit then walked around the perimeter of the vehicle and finally waved me on my way.

    I missed a perfectly good chance to ask for the complimentary body cavity search of my hitch hiker.

    • fo0bar says:

      Yeah. I'll be flying to RDU next week. When I return at the end of the week, I'll be sure to leave my copy of the qur'an plainly visible in the back seat and see what they do :)