SAN DIEGO (CNS) - An Oceanside man has become an overnight Internet sensation after posting a recording of his confrontation with TSA officials at San Diego International Airport on his blog, a dispute that led authorities to stop him from boarding his flight.
John Tyner, a 31-year-old software programmer, was headed to South Dakota for a vacation when TSA officials directed him to a full-body scanner in the airport security line.
He refused the full body scan and opted for a traditional scan and pat down.
However, he did not agree to a "groin check," which led TSA agents to eventually deny him the ability to board his flight. According to Tyner, he was escorted from the security area and was given a full refund for the ticket at his airline's ticket counter.
After getting the refund, Tyner was approached by a TSA official who said that he must submit to the full screening process before leaving. Tyner says he was threatened with a civil suit and a $10,000 fine if he left the airport, but he was also told that no one was forcing him to stay. He then left.
Tyner recorded the entire event on his cell phone's video camera, which he turned on after being directed to the scanner.
Tyner posted the audio and his account of the full event on his blog two hours after leaving the airport.
The scanners have raised concerns over privacy internationally, and Tyner's blog seems to have tapped into the sentiment online.
In response to the situation, TSA spokesman Jonathan Allen told City News Service that "advanced imaging technology" is optional.
"Passengers who decline to be screened by the technology will receive alternative screening to include a thorough pat-down. Anyone who refuses to complete the screening process will be denied access to the secure area and could be subject to a civil penalty," Allen told CNS.
Allen also referred CNS to a 9th Circuit Court of Appeals 2007 decision that supported the TSA's ability to complete a security screening even if a passenger declined to fly.
"Requiring that a potential passenger be allowed to revoke consent to an ongoing airport security search makes little sense in a post-9/11 world," the court noted, said Allen.