Airport Car Searches: TSA Responds

Reports of airport car searches have prompted a response from the TSA. Laurie Iacuzza used valet parking at the Greater Rochester International Airport. When she returned from her trip, she found a note in her car alerting her that her that it was searched.

As reported by WHEC News, the note stated “Thank you for your Patronage. Your vehicle has been inspected under TSA regulations.” The note, and implications, caused outrage nationwide.

The TSA has now issued a statement, denying the practice. As stated at TSA.gov, representative Bob Burns explains:

“TSA officers are not inspecting cars or mandating that they be searched… the car was searched by an employee of a car parking service.”

Burns further explains that each individual airport “is responsible for securing airport property… at this particular airport car searches are part of their ‘airport security plan.”

It remains unclear whether the TSA was aware that valets at the Greater Rochester International Airport were searching vehicles.

Iacuzza explains that if she was informed of the search before it happened, “it probably wouldn’t have been a problem.” However, she feels a search without notice is a violation of her personal rights.

Inacuzza insists there was no prior notice when her car was searched. However, a sign is now prominently displayed at the valet parking kiosk, warning that vehicles will be searched.

New York Senator Chuck Schumer is concerned about the airport car searches. He states that “there is no TSA protocol” that allows for searching vehicles without cause. He is committed to finding out why the cars are being searched and under which authority.

A spokesman with the Rochester TSA explains that searching valet parked cars is simply a “proactive approach” to maintaining safety. He points out that the valet parked cars are often lined up along the curb, which could pose a safety risk.

Airport car searches have become a hot topic for debate. While airport authorities maintain that it is done as a safety precaution, travelers are concerned about infringement on their personal rights.

[Image via Flickr]