Jesse Ventura loses bid to halt airport searches

  • Updated: November 3, 2011 - 11:18 PM
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Jesse Ventura

Photo: Marlin Levison, Star Tribune

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Jesse Ventura wants airport security screeners to keep their hands off "The Body."

But a judge ruled on Thursday that the former Minnesota governor's concerns about modesty, personal freedom and constitutional rights were misplaced when he filed a federal lawsuit in St. Paul last January.

Challenges to the Transportation Security Administration's (TSA) procedures must be brought in Circuit Courts of Appeals, wrote U.S. District Judge Susan Richard Nelson in dismissing Ventura's lawsuit.

Ventura, who served as governor of Minnesota from 1999 through 2002 and earlier had a professional wrestling career as Jesse "The Body" Ventura, currently hosts a program on the truTV network called "Conspiracy Theory."

After getting a titanium implant in his hip in 2008, Ventura's lawsuit says, he started lighting up airport magnetometers. At first, screeners waved a magnetic hand wand over him and sent him on his way. But last year, the TSA initiated enhanced screening procedures, his complaint says, which meant he had to go through invasive full-body scans or pat-down searches.

The scans reveal too much and the pat-downs require a security officer to grope his body, "including private and sensitive areas," his suit says.

Last November, he triggered the extra search procedures at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. Having done so, the suit says, Ventura was not free to leave the area or to decline his scheduled flight to avoid the additional screening. Ventura argued that the TSA's policy results in an unreasonable search and seizure in violation of the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution.

Certain members of Congress are exempt from the digital body screens and pat-downs, as are airline pilots, Ventura said, so why can't other frequent fliers get equal treatment? The judge said that if he really wants an answer, he'll have to ask the Circuit Court of Appeals.

Ventura's attorney, David Bradley Olsen, declined to comment. "Governor Ventura will speak to the press on Friday, Nov. 4, at noon, in front of the Federal Court Building in St. Paul," he said.

Dan Browning • 612-673-4493

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