TSA still keeps wraps on Chaffetz airport video

Published October 14, 2009 4:50 pm
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2009, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

The Transportation Security Administration is denying media requests to quickly produce surveillance video from an incident at Salt Lake City International Airport in which Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz says he was singled out for additional screening because of his opposition to collective bargaining by TSA officers.

The TSA denied The Salt Lake Tribune 's request to expedite release of the video and to waive any costs associated with producing it. The TSA has not yet denied access to the video, although Chaffetz says he was told the agency would be hesitant to release images of checkpoints because of security concerns.

Chaffetz, a freshman Republican, pushed legislation through the House to ban what are known as whole-body image scanners, a device that allows TSA officers to peer through clothing to detect weapons or explosives. Chaffetz says those machines are a breach of privacy.

On Sept. 21, the congressman says he was pulled from a regular, metal-detector line to use a whole-body image scanner. He then declined to enter it. Per TSA policy, Chaffetz then was escorted through a metal-detector and patted down.

A union representing TSA employees says Chaffetz chose the whole-body imaging line and was disrespectful to a security officer, a former soldier who had just returned from combat and didn't recognize the congressman.

Chaffetz says he hasn't made any requests for the video because he expected the news media to do so but added that he supports its release.

"Nobody wants that video out more than I do," he said Wednesday. "I'd love for everybody to watch from start to finish."

Chaffetz acknowledges reaching for the badge of a TSA supervisor when the officer held it out for him to read. But he says he never touched it and stresses he wasn't obnoxious.

The Tribune is appealing the TSA denial.

tburr@sltrib.com" Target="_BLANK">tburr@sltrib.com

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