Tagged: Steven Bierfeldt

Soundtrack: Am I legally required to answer that question?

Steven Bierfeldt: <br>flush, iPhone-carrying, libertarian security risk

Steven Bierfeldt: Flush, iPhone-carrying, libertarian security risk

Last March,  Steven Bierfeldt, a 25-year-old libertarian who works for US Congressman Ron Paul, tried to board a plane at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport, when a security x-ray machine turned up a metal box in his carry-on baggage containing $4700 in cash, proceeds from the sale of tee-shirts and literature at a Ron Paul event the previous day.

Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officials hauled Bierfeldt out of the lineup and detained him for half an hour, demanding to know the source of the (perfectly legal) money, along with a raft of other personal information.

Bierfeldt, who covertly recorded the interrogation with his iPhone, politely responded to each question with one of his own: “Am I legally required to answer that?” As the officers grew increasingly belligerent — “You want to play smartass, I’m not going to play your fucking games… Are you from this planet?” — Bierfeldt remained calm and repeatedly asked for clarification of his legal rights. What the TSA officers’ questions had to do with flight security is unclear.

On Thursday, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a lawsuit on Bierfeldt’s behalf, charging that TSA is “subjecting innocent Americans to unreasonable searches and detentions that violate the Constitution.” The ACLU also posted Bierfeldt’s recording of the incident: