Travel writer and civil rights activist Edward Hasbrouck had a bad day at Dulles Airport, which as he says, leaves many Unanswered questions:
… the TSA has crafted its procedures so that the demand for identification credentials is made neither by the TSA itself nor the airline, but by a third party whose identity and authority are entirely unverifiable to the traveller, and who is accountable to the traveller neither through government legislative and regulatory procedures nor through enforcement of contractual rights (since they have no contractual relationship to the traveller).
To give an added frisson of resemblance to countries with corrupt or dysfunctional police and governments, the people in uniform demanding people’s credentials are lying about being government employees. The real government employees watching them don’t care. And if, like me, you so much as ask a few polite questions about what is going on, you are detained, threatened with arrest, searched, investigated, your papers copied by the government for your permanent (I can only presume) dossier, and the unaccountable third party (and, in the case of any RFID passport, anyone else within range with a reader in their luggage) left with the unregulated legal “right” to use and sell any data obtained from its government-coerced scrutiny of your credentials.