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Saturday, May 25, 2024 | Back issues
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Jesse Ventura Takes on Airport Searches

(CN) - Former Gov. Jesse Ventura sued the Department of Homeland Security and the Transportation Security Administration for their pat-downs and whole-body imaging searches at airports. Ventura claims that pat-down searches are essentially "sexual assault," and that whole-body imaging meets "the definition of unlawful video voyeurism," and likens it to an "electronically recorded strip search."

The pat-down searches "include warrantless, non-suspicion-based offensive touching, gripping and rubbing of the genitals and other sensitive areas of his body," Ventura says, which violate his constitutional right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures.

The Navy veteran who was governor from 1999 to 2002, says he travels "frequently and extensively" on commercial planes, for his job as the host of the TRU TV Network show, "Conspiracy Theory."

In 2008 he got a titanium implant during hip replacement surgery and since then has set off alarms on every airport metal detector he has walked through. He says that before November 2010, he only had to subject himself to "a non-invasive magnetic hand-wand inspection."

But in November 2010, he set off a metal detector "at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, was directed by TSA agents to submit to additional security and, once so directed, was not free to leave the airport security area or to decline his scheduled flight to avoid additional screening, which is a seizure of his person, and he was subjected to a pat-down body search, which is a search of his person," according to his complaint in Minneapolis Federal Court.

"Since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, TSA has implemented enhanced airport screening procedures, including the phased introduction between 2007 and the present of whole body imaging technology and physical pat-down body searches," according to Ventura's complaint.

"Pursuant to TSA's stated policy and practice, Governor Ventura has been required to undergo a pat-down body search, and will be required either to undergo a WBI, if available, or submit to a pat-down body search each and every time he enters airport security."

Ventura says that despite his being a "frequent flyer, a veteran of the United States military and having been the State of Minnesota's highest elected official, and despite his easily verifiable medication condition, TSA did not give him the option of submitting to less intrusive security measures such as use of a magnetic hand wand, nor was he given the option of a 'trusted traveler' medical or other exemption from the WBI or pat-down body search procedures."

Ventura says the Department of Homeland Security and TSA have no reason to believe he is a threat.

He demands an injunction. He is represented by David Olsen with Henson & Efron.

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