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Sunday, December 19, 2010

SSSS on a boarding pass means "you get searched"

Fox 5 News in NYC reported two nights ago that the random airport search selection appears on one's boarding pass as "SSSS" or "****." If this is news, Fox 5 doesn't travel much. They breathlessly reported, Fox News style, that this obviously tips off the terrorists. I noticed it more than two years ago on a Southwest Airlines boarding pass, purchased with a credit card, for a return from from STL where I was arguing in the Eighth Circuit. I just assumed I was targeted because I hadn't flown Southwest in a while, so their computer didn't recognize me. Therefore, I get picked for a "random" search. This is neither rocket science nor a state secret, ladies and gentlemen of the press, and it wasn't hard for me to figure out why I was selected. I knew it was coming when I saw the boarding pass pop out of the boarding pass "kiosk" with four big S's on it. The TSA screener was really interested in my briefs. He asked what the case was about. Unlike a previous TSA experience, this guy was nice and convivial, and he even directed me to my gate and the restaurant for a respite from my near strip search.

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