John Tyner, 31, was supposed to board an American Airlines flight to South Dakota Saturday morning, but said he would not submit to what he calls excessive screens by the Transportation Security Administration.
"I think people have an irrational fear of terrorism," said Tyner. "We're spending inordinate amounts of money on security that isn't necessary and arguably doesn't work. I didn't intend to go thru that machine or be groped."
Tyner said he was escorted out of security at Lindbergh Field Saturday because he refused a body scan.
"They asked me to go thru the scanner," Tyner said. "I said 'I don't think so.' (Those) are literally the words I used."
Tyner isn't alone. There has been backlash against the Transportation Security Administration's use of the "full-body" scanner. Many people argue that the machines are simply too invasive and possibly harmful to the body.
In Tyner's case, the TSA officer directed hiim to go through a "pat-down" and his cell phone's video camera recorded what happened next:
"I'm also going to be doing a groin check, which means that I'm going to place my hand on your hip and one hand on your inner thigh, slowly go up and then slide down. I'm going to do that two times in the front and two times in the back," the officer can be heard telling Tyner on the cell phone recording.
"We can do that out here, but if you touch my junk," Tyner was recorded as saying, "I'm going to have you arrested."
The TSA official responded, "We're going to have a supervisor here, because of your statement."
After he was escorted out of security, Tyner was refunded his ticket by American Airlines.
"Then a supervisor's supervisor told me I had to go back through security because it was against federal law to start the security process and not finish it to the end," Tyner said.
"'It would look better for you (Tyner), when we bring the case against you that you cooperated,'" Tyner said the authorities stated.
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 said.
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, according to Allen.