Airline Snitches for the Feds Called Illegal

     (CN) — The Drug Enforcement Agency had a paid confidential informant working for United Airlines who violated federal law by sharing passenger information, a man claims in a federal complaint.
     Breland Lee says his civil rights were violated during a flight from his home in North Carolina this past April 12.
     While trying to board a connecting flight from Chicago to Los Angeles, authorities seized his suitcase without a warrant or probable cause, according to the lawsuit, filed July 12 in Chicago.
     Lee says the suitcase was returned to him, days later, short $4,900.
     In a footnote to the complaint, Lee notes that the U.S. government “conscribed” domestic air carries to collect information for it.
     The Transportation Security Administration’s “SecureFlight information” includes date of birth and gender, according to the complaint.
     Lee says the use of that information is strictly limited, however, by 77 FR 69491, a federal Privacy Act regulation concerning “secure flight records.”
     “Upon information and belief, the unknown United Airlines employee necessarily provided the DEA Chicago Filed Division with Mr. Lee’s ‘Boarding Pass Instruction’ from TSA SecureFlight by telling the DEA that United issued Mr. Lee a boarding pass (in addition to providing the DEA Field Division with his name, date of birth and gender which was, upon information and belief, was used to lookup his drivers’ license photo and run an NCIC check),” a different footnote to the complaint states, abbreviating the National Crime Information Center (parentheses in original).
     Lee says “agents of the government paid an employee of a US air carrier for the very information they are prohibited from gathering by other means even though they conscripted the collection of the information in the first place.”
     “Without date of birth and gender, it is unlikely that law enforcement would have been able to run an NCIC or drivers’ license check,” the second footnote concludes.
     Lee is represented by Brendan Shiller with the Shiller Preyar Law Offices.

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