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Harvard Law Students Sue TSA

Dec 3, 2010

Two Harvard Law students recently filed suit against the Transportation Security Agency for their use of intrusive full-body scanners and enhanced pat down techniques. Go Crimson!

harvard tsa adp Harvard Law Students Sue TSA

Jeffrey H. Redfern and Anant N. Pradhan, both second year Law School students, argue that full-body scanners, which take pictures of the naked body, and enhanced pat-down techniques, which require touching of the genital areas, are unconstitutional and violate the Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable search and seizure, according to the suit filed on Nov. 29 at a U.S. District Court in Boston.

On separate trips out of Boston Logan Airport, Redfern and Pradhan both opted out of the full body scan and felt the enhanced pat down was “highly intrusive.”

In a recent interview with the Harvard Law Record, Pradhan said a TSA agent put his fingers inside the waistband of his pants, lifted his buttocks, and felt his groin. “They’ll go all the way up until—well, they go all the way up,” he told the Record.

Pradhan and Redfern argue that the enhanced pat down, “if done non-consensually, would amount to a sexual assault in most jurisdictions,” and should not be used without reasonable suspicion and probable cause.

The TSA has recently seen a deluge of negative media surrounding the full body scanner and pat down techniques. Last month, John Tyner sparked the flame when he refused to go through the body scanner. When Tyner told the TSA agent preparing to give him a pat down, “If you touch my junk, I am going to have you arrested,” he was fined $11,000 and made an instant hero.

The TSA is also being sued by Thomas Sawyer, a cancer survivor who was recently harassed and humiliated by TSA agents. Complaints over the TSA’s conduct are many—from the cancer survivor who was forced to remove her prosthetic breast and the seven year old boy who was strip searched at SLC international airport, to the pregnant mother who was harassed by TSA agents because she rightfully did not want her breast milk to go through the x-ray scanner.

The TSA’s polices intrude on our privacy and personal space. The government has given the TSA an enormous amount of power to which they are egregiously abusing. It is about time that TSA is held accountable for their blatantly reprehensible actions.

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