Edited video of TSA spat is inconclusive, but Chaffetz claims vindication

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2009, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz gets what appears to be an extensive pat down and waits. And waits. And waits.

After several minutes, the Utah Republican walks up to two Transportation Security Administration officers, hands over a business card and walks away. Then he returns.

Those are the details gleaned from surveillance video released late Friday night by the TSA at the request of several news media outlets, including The Salt Lake Tribune .

The edited video cuts out at the point when Chaffetz returns to the two TSA officers at the Salt Lake City International Airport on Sept. 21, and it's unclear what happened after that point. The whole video, as requested by The Tribune , was not released.

Chaffetz, who voted against allowing collective bargaining for the TSA officers' union and is pushing a measure to ban so-called whole-body-imaging scanners, says he was singled out for extra screening after refusing to enter a body-scanning machine.

TSA officials say travelers who decline, as Chaffetz did, those screening machines, which can peer through passengers' clothes, then must enter a metal detector and be patted down.

As the video cuts out, Chaffetz appears to be reaching for something on a counter near the two TSA officers but it's unclear what. He motions to the officers but no audio is provided in the tape.

Nonetheless, Chaffetz says he feels vindicated by the video because it disputes allegations by the union that he chose the whole-body-imaging line and threw his business card at TSA officers.

"It corroborates exactly what I've been saying," Chaffetz said. "It dispels the erroneous myth perpetuated by the union."

Nevertheless, Chaffetz, reached for this interview while at Atlanta's airport flying back to Salt Lake City, said he wishes more of the video had been released but that "it's time to move on to something more important."


See the video

The video of Rep. Jason Chaffetz's encounter at Salt Lake City International Airport can be found at www.tsa.gov/research/reading/index.shtm.