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Was the TSA Wrong for Harassing a Man in the Airport for Carrying Cash? Readers Respond!


Reader feedback to last week’s article, Man Carrying Cash Threatened with Possible Arrest at US Airport? Hear What John Stossel Called “Evil,” has been overwhelming, and we heard you loud and clear.

The vast majority agreed that the Transportation Security Administration officials had overstepped their bounds while detaining and harassing Steve Bierfeldt at the Lambert-St. Louis International Airport, and many of you felt it was a sign that basic freedom was being threatened in the United States.


“I grew up in a free world. That is now a fantasy. Of course the TSA was out of line and it was obvious this man was acting more appropriate than any of them. They were the threat, not he” --Anonymous

If you haven’t yet seen the video, you can watch it here.

Sometimes just discussing an important issue like this one is enough to spread awareness and knowledge -- and ultimately prompt real change.

So thank you to ALL who took the time to share their thoughts; if you know of anyone who could benefit from the article above and these comments, please pass it on to them as well!

While we could not possibly reprint all the comments we received -- and there were MANY excellent ones -- here is just a sampling that you may find interesting.

Question: Was the TSA wrong for detaining a man carrying $4,700 cash? Readers Respond:

“I believe we are entering a very dangerous time in America. A time when our freedoms are threatened and our rights are being taken away a little at a time in the name of "safety.” This man committed no crime and yet he was treated as a criminal. The real crime is the acts of terrorism committed on the public by our own government and its agencies.
--K Mecca, Palmyra, PA

“ABSOLUTELY!!! The American Public does not realize how quickly and silently their individual liberties are being taken away. I do not believe we are flying any safer than before 9/11, but the public blindly and mindlessly believes anything without using the sense that the good Lord gave them and rationally think things through. God help us all!!!!!”
--D Patocka, Enid, OK

“Individual freedoms should never, never be stepped on in America! In spite of what some in government would now like us to believe, we are still individuals with individual rights. The individual had the right to ask why he was being questioned and stopped. If the "authorities" cannot explain, (we are still innocent until proven guilty?) the reason they are demanding something of him, then he is certainly in his rights to refuse.”
--Becky Sassmann, Farmingdale, NJ

“Yes, that was a blatant violation of our civil liberties. I hope the media pick up on this, PBS, major outlets, etc. I urge everyone to bring this to the attention of their elected officials.”
--Victoria Snelling Louisville, KY

“These people who confiscated the money and harassed this lawful citizen should be arrested and jailed for this UNLAWFULL act.”
--Robert Huff Pinckneyville, Illinois

“Yes, I believe they were wrong for harassing this young man as he did not have a gun or lethal weapon and they would not answer his very important question about his legal rights. I often hear them say, you have a right to remain silent but I never heard that said. Well, I am a Canadian so what do I know about USA law? My opinion is what they did was wrong.”
--Joan Bund Castlegar BC Canada

“Of course! It does not bode well for our culture and our country when something like this occurs. The most benign explanation may be that the TSA officers were poorly trained or flexing their "muscles", but the reality may be much more sinister, especially if further investigation points to higher-ups.”
--Judith Katz-Schwartz New York City

“If it is against the law then it should be posted along with the limited amount of cash one can carry. Other wise it should be considered as harassment and security personnel should be dealt with and kept under control ,ie. within the legal limits. They should not have the right to accost people who are within their legal rights.”

“Absolutely, they were wrong!!! How long before TSA wants all of us to provide a voucher to even travel. This is all a little too Hitleresque. Campaign for Liberty supporting qualifies as possible terrorists? Give me a break.”

“He should have been more open with them. Law enforcers have a hard enough job and are here to protect the majority. They were right.”

“Definitely the TSA was overstepping their bounds. The old saying of absolute power corrupts absolutely has never been more true today. These types of agencies/agents have taken the power given to them and used it to strip Americans of their rights. Treating everyone like they are criminals; guilty until proven innocent. It is bad and will only keep getting worse.

“Remember the Constitution!!! Most people have forgotten!!!”

“This scenario would probably have been entirely different if Mr. Bierfeldt had just answered the questions he was asked. His lack of cooperation only made the situation worse.”

“Another effort to control the life of an ordinary citizen by a government that seeks to bully the public.”

“America the free has disappeared from the face of the earth. This is just one more abomination foisted on us by our government. Those who give up their liberty for safety have neither.”

“Absolutely! He was obviously harassed without any valid reason and he had every right to question his legal concerns. The TSA was COMPLETELY OUT OF LINE and totally unreasonable. This is a free country and the presence of cash is not an item that precludes harassment in his case. The officers were abrasive, had no answers for him, so they just go on looks and stop this man for no justifiable reason???”

“Yes. If he was found with something like $50,000.00 that might be different and suspicious, but $4700.00 is more like vacation money. Completely RIDICULOUS!”

Recommended Reading

The FBI's Biometric Database: Is Your Face Already in It?

Proposed National Database Sparks Privacy Controversy


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