A few days ago, Kahler Nygard reportedly received a boarding pass indicating secondary screening was required, but that pat-down was reportedly never done. So when the plane landed, they took the passenger off the plane ahead of the others and requested that he submit to the screening at the destination airport, after the flight. He recorded the incident on his phone, and after confirming that he wasn't being detained, simply walked away.

The proposition that screening a passenger after the flight has landed might retroactively increase the fight's safety is, I think we can all agree, counter to the fundamental nature of causality.

But the question is this: Is screening passengers after they have arrived at their destination without incident within the rights and responsibilities of the TSA? Clearly it doesn't jive with the whole "cause and effect" framework of reality that we all live in, but are they within their rights to demand such screening anyway?

  • $\begingroup$ The TSA can screen people when they like, even after a flight. They don't usually do it after because it's pointless. It's probably an example of CYA. $\endgroup$ – GdD Sep 16 '14 at 7:53
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    $\begingroup$ Not necessarily pointless. While the TSA is supposed to protect flights, they are also one part of the whole Dept of Homeland Security and are also chartered with protecting the entire US. If there was a security concern about the individual (I am not stating there is/was such a concern as I have no information regarding this specific incident at all), it's the TSA's duty to perform whatever checks are needed to ensure the safety of all US Citizens. (I'm also not stating whether I, personally, agree with what the TSA does, or not). $\endgroup$ – CGCampbell Sep 16 '14 at 11:28
  • $\begingroup$ The answer is contained in the question. The TSA can ask to search someone after the flight, but the don't have to submit. It's stated in the account. $\endgroup$ – DJClayworth Sep 16 '14 at 18:57
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    $\begingroup$ This question is probably better suited on Travel.SE, since it pertains to airport-side procedures $\endgroup$ – Danny Beckett Sep 17 '14 at 1:12

TSA staff actually have very little authority - they can prevent you boarding an airplane, they can stop the airplane from leaving. For everything else, they call the local police (the phone is their Big Stick - they can call in some serious assistance, like SWAT or some loaded F-22s).

This sounds like a classic bureaucratic whoopsie - someone missed the initial screening note, someone else noticed that the box wasn't ticked in the system, and protecting the monthly performance statistics prevailed over common sense. Since the passenger declined the search they can prevent said passenger from boarding a flight, but since he did not wish to board a flight (and has not done anything illegal) all they can do is ask him to leave the secure area. As that is exactly what the passenger wanted to do anyway.....

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    $\begingroup$ their big stick is people thinking they have the right to do whatever they like... And of course the fact that that includes the cops and other security agencies they can call upon who will do whatever the TSA asks them to without thinking because it's after all DHS business and everyone cooperates with DHS else you're in trouble. $\endgroup$ – jwenting Sep 17 '14 at 13:14

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