Steve Bierfeldt, the director of development for Ron Paul’s Campaign for Liberty, had a particularly frustrating day of travel on March 29, 2009, after attending his organization’s regional conference in St. Louis. There, he sold Campaign for Liberty items, such as conference tickets, bumper stickers, T-shirts, and books. Transporting more than $4,700 in cash and checks from merchandise sales, Bierfeldt traveled from downtown St. Louis to Lambert–St. Louis International Airport with the intention of returning to Washington, D.C. The government, however, had another idea.
Transportation Security Administration officials detained Bierfeldt for further screening when they discovered a metal box in his luggage containing a large amount of cash and checks. The TSA is an agency of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and it, according to its website, “protects the Nation’s transportation systems to ensure freedom of movement for people and commerce.” Bierfeldt might not agree with that last part. TSA agents interrogated Bierfeldt for over a half hour and would not allow him to continue to his gate until he answered some very directed questions: “Where do you work?” “What are you planning to do with the money?” “Where did you acquire the money?” Although having nothing to hide, Bierfeldt, in an effort to maintain his privacy, refused to answer the questions. The officers retaliated by further detaining him and asking viciously demeaning questions. As far as they were concerned, Bierfeldt could be prevented from moving freely so long as he refused to answer every prying inquiry they might conjure up. To them, if he wished to keep his privacy, then he should have wallowed in the safety of his own home. Bierfeldt never answered their questions, and they eventually let him go in time to catch his flight.
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