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Hello, I was detained and questioned by TSA after alarming…

Customer Question
Hello, I was detained and questioned...
Hello,
I was detained and questioned by TSA after alarming on a trace explosive detector during a manual screening at Ft. Lauderdale airport.
In detention, I was approached by 5 agents at various times and interrogated
with questions, such as:
How long have you been in Ft. Lauderdale
Where you on vacation?
Did you go to the beach?
Do you take medication?
Were you visiting your mother?
Do you play golf?
I was repeatedly asked if I was having a problem with the way i was being treated by TSA.
A tactic used to try and make me answer the questions, was that I needed to cooperate in order to be released.
I was finally released with no arrest or charges of wrong doing.
Questions:
Is the causing of such an alarm, a violation of any law or regulation?
Were they within their power to question me, as above?
Was I within my rights not to answer the questions, as above?
Can I find out if I am on any list that would complicate my passage through the airport in the future?
How can I protect myself against this treatment in the future?

Thank you for your time.
Burt
Submitted: 6 years ago.Category: Criminal Law
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Answered in 8 minutes by:
3/4/2012
Criminal Lawyer: Law Educator, Esq., Lawyer replied 6 years ago
Law Educator, Esq.
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 125,320
Experience: Attorney with over 20 years law enforcement, prosecution, civil rights and defense experience
Verified
TSA has the right to question passengers, especially if they set off a security alarm. Passengers have a right to not answer the questions, but TSA also has a right then to refuse to allow them to pass through the screening. If an alarm was sounded for possible explosives, this is their probable cause for detention and questioning. They will not disclose to you or anyone who is on their security list, but chances are that if nothing was found and had you cooperated, you would not be on any list. There is no real way to protect yourself from TSA, the only thing you can do is either not fly or cooperate with them at the security checkpoints but legally they have a right to do this as part of the security screening process (which is why everyone is so upset with TSA right now, but as of yet no court has limited their powers).


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Law Educator, Esq.
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 125,320
Experience: Attorney with over 20 years law enforcement, prosecution, civil rights and defense experience
Verified
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Customer reply replied 6 years ago
Dear PaulMJD,

Thank you for your response. I paid you for the answer.
I already knew the general answer you gave me, with regard to asking questions and answering them.
The question I was asking, that I didn't know the answer to, was do I need to answer questions such as:
if I play golf or was visiting my mom or was picking my feet in Poughkeepsie.
I believe setting off the alarm only gives them the right to ask questions impacting airport security concerns and committing felonies.
I am wondering how asking about playing golf or visiting my mom, is pertenent to airport security and not answering those questions would be a legitamate cause for stopping my passage on the flight.

Thank you in advance for entertaining this followup

Burt


Criminal Lawyer: Law Educator, Esq., Lawyer replied 6 years ago
Thank you. I wish I could tell you to tell them you do not have to answer their personal questions (I have been through their silly interrogation actually), but I am afraid I cannot. The questions about where you have been during your stay, even the personal ones are considered legitimate in the event they would have found something so they would have some information on where you traveled when in the state.

Thus, I am afraid and sorry to say that they could indeed delay you or refuse you passage through the security points for you not answering them. Of course, you do not have to answer them any more than "Yes" or "No" to the questions calling for a yes or no answer.
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