Former Minnesota Governor, ex-professional wrestler and current TRU TV host Jesse Ventura is suing the Department of Homeland Security and the TSA over the new airport security measures instituted last year. In a complaint filed in Minnesota district court on Monday, Ventura alleges that body scans and enhanced pat downs at airports violate his Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. The suit even claims that pat downs “meet the definition for an unlawful sexual assault.”
Ventura flies two or three times a week for his job as the host of Conspiracy Theory With Jesse Ventura. The 59-year-old had a hip replaced in 2008, and the titanium implant sets off airport metal detectors. As a result, he is forced to undergo additional screening every time he goes to the airport. The complaint argues that the TSA and Homeland Security “have no factual basis to support any reasonable suspicion that Governor Ventura poses any threat to airline safety, nor does he in fact post any such threat.”
The complaint further argues that a body scan amounts to a “warrantless, non-suspicion-based, electronically-recorded strip search” and says the “demeaning and degrading” scans “meet the definition of unlawful video voyeurism.”
Pat downs, meanwhile, “violate Governor Ventura’s basic rights to privacy and dignity” because they involve “offensive touching, gripping and rubbing of the genital and other sensitive areas of his body.”
The complaint concludes that Ventura is essentially being forced to undergo these procedures, because his only other option is to retire “and forgo his income.”
The suit names DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano and TSA Administrator John Pistole as defendants.
Eric Lach is a reporter for TPM. From 2010 to 2011, he was a news writer in charge of the website’s front page. He has previously written for The Daily, NewYorker.com, GlobalPost and other publications. He can be reached at ericl(at)talkingpointsmemo.com