TSA to Texas: Ban Patdowns, and We'll Ban Flights
Justice Department sends threatening letter
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted May 26, 2011 12:05 PM CDT
A Transportation Security Administration agent performs a patdown check on an airline passenger at the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport in this file photo.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – The Justice Department has sent a letter to Texas, warning that there will be dire consequences if it passes a law classifying airport patdowns as sexual harassment. The Texas House has unanimously passed the bill, and if it becomes law, “the TSA would likely be required to cancel any flight or series of flights for which it could not ensure the safety of passengers and crew,” US Attorney John Murphy wrote, according to Consumerist.

Murphy also worries that TSA officials will “be put to the choice of risking criminal prosecution or carrying out their federal duties.” But the bill’s supporters insist that the bill won’t unfairly punish TSA workers, as long as a “constitutionally sanctioned federal law” allows the searches. “Instead of threatening to shut down flights in Texas, why doesn’t the TSA just show us their statutory authority to grope or ogle our private parts?” asked the bill’s author, Rep. Dave Simpson.