The Transportation Security Administration has opened an investigation of John Tyner, the Californian who left San Diego’s Lindbergh Field under duress Saturday after refusing to undertake a full body scan, reports the San Diego Union-Tribune. Tyner recorded the half-hour long encounter on his cell phone and posted it to his personal blog. The blog went viral, attracting hundreds of thousands of readers and thousands of comments. Michael J. Aguilar, chief of the TSA office in San Diego, said the investigation could lead to prosecution and civil penalties of up to $11,000.
Tyner's stand tapped into an undercurrent of resentment toward the TSA and how security checks are conducted at the nation's airports. Those commenting about Tyner's experience at SignOnSanDiego.com told their own stories of personal humiliations and invasive body searches. Tyner, 31, was on his way to South Dakota on Saturday to go pheasant hunting. He was chosen for a full-body scan and opted out because he thought it was invasive. He was then informed that he would be subjected to a body search. He told the TSA agent, “”You touch my junk and I’m going to have you arrested.” Tyner likened the proposed search procedure to a “sexual assault.” Tyner was told by a TSA supervisor, “By buying your ticket you gave up a lot of rights.” Aguilar says Tyner was facing the traditional pat-down that TSA has used for some time, and not a more aggressive body search in effect since late October.