Sunday, April 5, 2009

TSA detains official from Ron Paul group

Sundary, April 5, 2009

The Transportation Security Administration is investigating the detention and harassment of a Ron Paul organization official by airport screeners, an incident that was caught on tape at a St. Louis, Missouri airport.

Steve Bierfeldt, director of development for Campaign for Liberty, was selected for additional screening after officials spotted a metal box in his luggage that contained a large amount of cash and checks made out to the campaign.
Mr. Bierfeldt was attending his organization's regional conference in St. Louis and said he was keenly aware, as the situation unfolded March 29, of a controversial report issued to Missouri law enforcement officials intended to identify members of radical militia members.
"Militia members most commonly associate with third-party political groups," said the report, issued Feb. 20 by the Missouri Information Analysis Center. "It is not uncommon for militia members to display Constitution Party, Campaign for Liberty or Libertarian material. These members are usually supporters of former presidential candidates Ron Paul, Chuck Baldwin and Bob Barr."
Mr. Bierfeldt was carrying Campaign for Liberty bumper stickers and other campaign literature, and was interrogated by TSA screeners and airport police at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport for nearly a half-hour before being allowed on his flight to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.
The money he was carrying, more than $4,700, was in the form of cash and checks received from ticket sales, bumper stickers, books and other conference-related items.
Mr. Bierfeldt recorded the event on his iPhone, and provided a copy to The Washington Times for review.
On the tape, Mr. Bierfeldt is asked repeatedly where he works, where he obtained the money and why he was in St. Louis.
In each instance, Mr. Bierfeldt asked whether he was required by law to answer the questions.
"You want to play smartass, and I'm not going to play your f--ing game," the TSA official said.
Mr. Bierfeldt continued to refuse to answer, asking whether he was compelled by law to do so. The officers accused him of "doublespeak" and "acting like a child."
"Are you from this planet?" one officer asked.
The officers threatened to handcuff him and turn him over to the FBI and Drug Enforcement Administration for questioning.
"You're going to have to prove why you have so much money to the DEA," a second unidentified officer said.
"We're going to help you understand [the law]," the TSA official said.

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