Stop Illegal Car Searches at Airports

car search

Target: John Pistole, TSA Administrator

Goal: Prevent further unwarranted searches of cars valeted at airports

Recently, a woman had her car valet parked at Greater Rochester International Airport. Upon her return, she found a card stating that her car had been searched according to TSA regulations. This was done entirely without her knowledge or consent, and according to airport employees, has been going on for years.

Saour Merwan, a valet keymaster at San Diego International Airport stated that, “We search every car, we open the trunk and take a look around. We were told by airport authority to do that, since about two years ago. [We] keep an eye out for something suspicious, like wires and cables. The airport has security regulations and we have to follow them.” He explained further, stating that if anything illegal is found, such as narcotics, they will inform the authorities.

This is a massive violation of the 4th Amendment, which protects citizens against unlawful search and seizure. These unwarranted searches can bring up evidence that does not pertain directly to airport security, yet these finds are still turned over to authorities. The 4th amendment aims to protect citizens from exactly that: searches anytime, for any reason.

This cannot be allowed to continue. Sign this petition to demand the end of these searches. Tell the TSA that our constitutional rights will no longer be violated, and if cars are to be searched it will be with explicit consent. The constitution applies to all citizens, and the TSA has no right to operate above the law.


Dear Mr. Pistole,

Recently, a woman who left her car valeted at the Greater Rochester International Airport returned to find a notice informing her of a TSA-approved search. This was done without her knowledge, and without her explicit consent. Further, another TSA employee stated that “If TSA is made aware that evidence of illegal activity is discovered incidental to a search for explosives, that information will be relayed to law enforcement.” Generally, such evidence is inadmissible in court due to the nature of its confiscation.

I insist that your organization cease the searches of cars that are parked at airports without explicit consent. If you plan on searching valeted cars, those who choose to use that service need to be informed directly. Otherwise, you are violating citizen’s rights. While you may choose to operate outside the law, the majority of us are compelled to abide by it. Take that into consideration whilst conducting these searches. Stop these unlawful searches, and stop violating the privacy of citizens who choose to park their cars at airports. Remove these guidelines from your approved airport security methods.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: CBP Photography via Flickr

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42 Signatures

  • Hermann Kastner
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