Radio talk show host and ardent Homeland Security critic Alex Jones was detained by the TSA at Austin-Bergstrom airport earlier today and threatened with arrest for refusing to take his shoes off at a security checkpoint.
Traveling to New York to appear on CNN’s Piers Morgan Tonight, Jones had already showed his ID as he approached the metal detector. Jones and colleague Rob Dew noticed that a large number of people across all age ranges were not removing their shoes as they walked through the metal detector. The x-ray body scanners were not in use.
As soon as he approached security, Jones was addressed by a TSA screener who said, “Hello Mr. Jones,” indicating that she knew who he was, and immediately ordered him to remove his shoes.
When Jones refused, citing the fact that innumerable other people had not removed their shoes, the TSA screener claimed that only under 12?s and over 75?s were not mandated to remove footwear under TSA policy.
When Jones contested the point, arguing that numerous travelers in their 40?s had not removed their shoes, other TSA agents ordered him to take off his shoes, before Jones was approached by a police officer who immediately got in his face and started threatening him with arrest.
Despite Jones’ protests that he was clearly being discriminated against because he was a known critic of the TSA (the rest of the TSA screeners also knew him by name), the officer growled, “Take your damn shoes off or I’m gonna arrest you.”
Not even giving Jones the option to leave the airport, the cop continued with threats to arrest Jones and prevent him from flying as the radio host threatened to file a lawsuit for civil rights violations.
One of Jones’ primary concerns regarding the removal of shoes was the fact that he had caught athletes foot from that very process in another airport years previously, meaning that he now carries a spare pair of socks to change into when he boards the aircraft.