January 25, 2011
Former Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura is suing the TSA and Homeland Security for humiliating and ‘offensive’ pat-down procedures he’s been subjected to during airport security checks that included ‘warrantless, non-suspicion-based offensive touching, gripping and rubbing of the genital and other sensitive areas of his body.’ Ventura, who had a hip replacement procedure in 2008, says he was unduly targeted due to his disability. His lawsuit, filed yesterday in Minnesota, claims the pat-downs violated his privacy, his 4th Amendment right and legally meet ‘the definition for an unlawful sexual assault’.”
Alex Jones, who traveled with Ventura last September during the production of his “Conspiracy Theory” TV show over the course of multiple flights, witnessed the former governor being groped and inappropriately touched in a pat-down procedure that Ventura faces everytime he travels. “That’s why I want to leave the United States,” Ventura had told Jones at the time. “This is why I go down to Mexico– this is wrong.”
But Jones says Ventura was even more upset everytime he witnessed some old man in a wheelchair harassed or manhandled by the TSA, without any basis for suspecting them. That’s when Ventura first revealed his thoughts of suing the TSA. In November, Ventura went on the Alex Jones Show and vowed never to fly commercially again until TSA reversed its policies. Part of Ventura’s suit includes a complaint about violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act, whereby he says TSA has unduly selected numerous disabled passengers for secondary screening and potential harassment without cause.
Ventura, who travels frequently for his job hosting a TruTV program when he isn’t in Mexico, further commented that he would ‘no longer be forced by the TSA to prove he is not a criminal or terrorist.’ Ventura lamented on Jones’ program. “It probably means an end to my career,” referring to his difficulties with air travel. He’s not alone, as representatives from the travel, airline and tourism industry have already met with Big Sis to lobby DHS to back off of the enhanced pat-downs that caused a traveler backlash in the fall and what they say are more than 41 million travelers who ‘avoided’ flights and didn’t spend an estimated $9 billion in travel sales.
Ventura’s attorney, David Olsen, told KSTP in Minnesota “The security procedures are going too far. There’s a line somewhere and he believes that line has been crossed.”
Steve Wagstaffe, then D.A.-elect, now current D.A. of San Mateo County, California, stated in November 2010 that he and his deputies would be patrolling San Francisco International Airport for possible violations by TSA staff and would prosecute any employees engaged in “lewd and lascivious behavior” while conducting pat-downs. He further noted that groping of travelers’ genitals, even if backed by TSA policy, amounted to a felony offense. The TSA recently settled with an Amarillo, Texas woman whose breasts were exposed by TSA employees who then laughed at the matter.
Jesse Ventura is reportedly working with the press from Mexico and should be appearing on the Alex Jones Show in the near future.
This article was posted: Tuesday, January 25, 2011 at 5:01 am