A Southern California man recorded a confrontation he had with an agent at Lindbergh Field this weekend regarding the TSA's new enhanced pat-down searches at airports.
With his recent upload of YouTube video and blog posts, John Tyner of Oceanside near San Diego has tapped into a growing anti-full body scanner tide popping up across the U.S. His story has gone viral and the confrontation he documents as happening in San Diego's airport over the weekend is now making national news.
Tyner said he arrived at the airport around 5 a.m. to travel to Rapid City, SD with his brother-in-law and father-in-law and stood in line for the metal detector at the security checkpoint.
Because no one was in the Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT) machine, Tyner said he was pulled out of the metal detector line and told by TSA agents that he needed to go through the new machine that scans a passenger's body image.
Once he opted out of the AIT machine, Tyner said TSA agents told him he must submit to the pat-down.
He says he wasn't comfortable with the procedure that he compared to a sexual assault.
On the video, an agent can be heard explaining the new procedure.
“Someone is going to pat you down, and they will be raising their hand up your inner thigh until they reach the bottom of your torso. If you're not comfortable with that, we can escort you out and you don’t have to fly today,” the agent said to Tyner.
Tyner questioned the procedure, “I don't understand how a sexual assault be made a condition of my flying.”
“It's not considered a sexual assault,” the TSA agent said.
“It would be if you weren't the government,” Tyner told her.
Tyner refused to fly and when he tried to leave says he was threatened with legal action from a TSA supervisor.
“I wasn't comfortable with the gentleman touching my groin,” Tyner told NBCSanDiego. “I'm not going through those machines and I'm certainly not going to let my wife or child go through them or be groped by a TSA agent.”
Tyner said his initial concerns were that the images from the AIT machine would violate his privacy.
"The jury still seems to be out on how safe that is," Tyner said of the AIT machine. "I just didn't feel that some TSA agent looking at me naked should be a prerequisite of me getting on a flight."
In light of recent Al-Qaeda threats, TSA agents have gotten more aggressive with pat-down searches for passengers who opt out of those full body scans.
Officers are now sliding the front of their hands inside passengers’ legs and across their chests.
The agency has previously released a statement saying the new security procedures are necessary.
Tyner said American Airlines refunded the cost of his ticket.