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Man Arrested for Trying to Record Underwear Strip-Down at TSA Checkpoint

November 22, 2010

Planning on filming any “minimally invasive” TSA pat-downs this travel week? Think again. After trying to film his over-the-top stunt at a San Diego TSA checkpoint, Samuel Wolanyk was arrested and charged with refusing to complete the security process and trying to videotape the event.

On Friday, Wolanyk opted out of the advanced imaging screening at San Diego’s Lindbergh Field. When told he would need to get a pat-down, he instead stripped down to his underwear, the NBC San Diego affiliate reports.

“TSA needs to see that I’m not carrying any weapons, explosives, or other prohibited substances, I refuse to have images of my naked body viewed by perfect strangers, and having been felt up for the first time by TSA the week prior (I travel frequently) I was not willing to be molested again,” Wolanyk said in a statement on Sunday.

TSA requested that Wolanyk put his clothes back on in order to complete the pat-down, but he refused, according to his attorney.

While it’s not surprising that Wolanyk was taken into custody for stripping down (and we already knew that failure to complete the screening process could carry consequences), the charge of unlawfully recording the event is new.

“Harbor police also confiscated his iPhone and the video camera used by his companion, who was also charged with unlawful recording within the airport without permission,” Wolanyk’s attorney told the San Diego Union Tribune. “He was handcuffed and paraded through two airport terminals in his underwear to the Harbor Police office.”

According to the TSA website, filming a TSA checkpoint is not illegal as long as it does not interfere with the screening process:

TSA does not prohibit the public, passengers or press from photographing, videotaping or filming at security checkpoints, as long as the screening process is not interfered with or slowed down. We do ask you to not film or take pictures of the monitors. While the TSA does not prohibit photographs at screening locations, local laws, state statutes, or local ordinances might.

It’s unclear what specific statute against recording the man and his companion violated.*

According to the attorney, the phones and recordings have not been returned. San Diego is the same city where John Tyner filmed his pat down and now famously told TSA agents not to touch his “junk.

UPDATE:

After calling and talking to the Harbor Police in San Diego, The Blaze obtained a copy of the filming statute. Section “a” of statute 7.14 says:

No person shall take still, motion or sound motion pictures or voice recordings on the facilities and airports under the jurisdiction of the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority (the “Authority”) without written permission from the Authority’s Executive Director or his or her designee.

As for failing to complete the security process, section b-1 of code 7.01 seems to address that:

If the Facility is an airport, then such person shall complete successfully all portions of the airline passenger pre-boarding inspection process to the satisfaction of the appropriate controlling authority and shall afterwards remain only in authorized locations maintained for passenger embarkation and debarkation.

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