Tuesday, November 20, 2012

'Flagged by Big Brother'

Dec. 21, 2010 bag checks at Braddock Rd. via @deafinthecity.

From anonymous:
I entered the Bethesda Metro after work the other week. As I came to the bottom of the escalators in a crowd of commuters, a security official caught my eye and waved me over to what I'll call the "TSA table."

I complied although another security person a few paces away made sure to remind me!

Having never seen this setup before, I asked amiably if it had something to do with the election.

One replied (and I later learned) that they've been doing this for awhile.

My bags were swabbed down while I waited. After the swab tested positive in their little machine for possible explosive material, several more security personnel were called over to the table. There must have been five or six security people gathered around me. I'm not sure if all of them were TSA, but all seemed armed.

They somewhat awkwardly swabbed my bags down again, and I was told the dog would check my bag before being escorted to the other side of the tunnel where two officers began asking me whether I'd come in contact with hand sanitizer, etc.

They also began writing down my personal information: name, address, phone, place of employment, job title. One officer asked to see my ID. I told him it was in my bag on the other side of the tunnel where they'd left it, and he laughed embarrassed. "Oh, yeah, everyone says that," he said.

They seemed suspicious when I told them I had an out-of-state area code for my cell phone.

After questioning, I was lead back to the TSA table where the embarrassed officer poked through my bags, then let me go.

The officers had this weird mix of friendliness, awkwardness and scrutiny. The whole ordeal was pretty creepy, especially considering the government's ability to detain citizens indefinitely under the NDAA.

Had I known my rights, I might have had more courage to protest this search. Now I'm just left feeling unnerved by the thought that I've been "flagged" by Big Brother.
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