WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A Wisconsin man who wrote "Kip Hawley is an Idiot" on a plastic bag containing toiletries said he was detained at an airport security checkpoint for about 25 minutes before authorities concluded the statement was not a threat.
Ryan Bird, 31, said he wrote the comment about Hawley -- head of the Transportation Security Administration -- as a political statement. He said he feels the TSA is imposing unreasonable rules on passengers while ignoring bigger threats. A TSA spokeswoman acknowledged a man was stopped, but likened the incident to cases in which people inappropriately joke about bombs. She said the man was "a little combative" and that he was detained only a few minutes.
The incident has ignited some chatter on Internet travel Web sites. More than 3,000 people have clicked on a FlyerTalk.com forum devoted to the episode, and the forum has grown to include 30 pages of comments.
Bird, the vice president of a company that manufactures industrial equipment, said the encounter occurred at Milwaukee Airport on Tuesday, the day the TSA eased
restrictions on carry-on liquids, gels and aerosols.
Bird entered the airport checkpoint with a see-through resealable bag containing small containers of toothpaste, deodorant, mouthwash and hair gel -- in keeping with new TSA requirements.
"My level of frustration with the TSA and their idiotic policies has grown over 2 ½ years," he said. "I'm frustrated that poorly trained TSA people can pull random passengers out of line and pat them down like common criminals. The average traveler has no recourse."
There is no doubt to me that the run of TSA personnel at airports (and at rail and bus stations, didja know?) are mere drones: uniformed, and granted more power than they are personally capable of exercising with discretion or reflection; mainly, they're of the 'security guard' class: high-school grads--if that--and of a class which delights in inconveniencing the class which travels a lot by air. Like all cops everywhere, they relish their power, and do not countenance any challenges thereunto...
THIS is the 'national security State' at it's most banal.