Last Saturday, Kahler Nygard took a Spirit Airlines flight to Denver to visit with friends. When he departed from Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, Transportation Security Administration agents patted him down and allowed him to board his flight. When the plane landed, he was singled out and ordered to exit before the other passengers. After he exited the aircraft, TSA agents approached Nygard and demanded that he go through an additional pat-down and a screening of his luggage for explosive materials.
He had already arrived safely at his destination in Denver and simply wanted to leave the airport. After an argument, which can be seen in the above video, Nygard refused the pat-down, despite the fact that TSA agents claimed that he would be arrested if he did not comply, and exited the airport without incident. According to KMSP-TV Fox 9 News, Nygard flew back to Minnesota yesterday without any complications.
KUSA-TV notes that Nygard indicated that he knew that he had been placed on the FBI’s “no fly” list around three years ago, despite not being told why, and took the flight to Denver in an effort to see if he was still on the list. However, he was apparently downgraded to a lower-level watch list that labeled him as a “Quad S” passenger. Passengers carrying the label “SSSS” on their boarding pass are forced to undergo additional scrutiny during TSA pre-flight screenings. Nygard says he believes he was placed on the list because he posted on anti-government websites, but describes his own advocacy as being against government corruption, rather than the government itself.
The plot thickened when TSA agents working at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport started forgetting the extra checks on Quad S passengers. Reportedly, two other Quad S passengers, in addition to Nygard, slipped through security over the weekend without additional screening. When the crew on Nygard’s flight noticed the “SSSS” designation on his boarding pass, they contacted officials on the ground in Denver, who then made the questionable decision to attempt a second, more thorough screening on Nygard after he reached his destination and was on his way out of the airport, when it would have been impossible for him to pose any conceivable threat to any airline passenger.
Nygard responded to the screening order by asking if he was being detained. Said Nygard, “Why do you need to do more screening if I traveled from point A to point B safely, right? Why does there now need to be more screening before I am allowed to leave? That would lead me to believe that I am being detained, am I not?”
“I’m not going to argue the process with you,” said the TSA agent.
Nygard reiterated, “Are you detaining me?”
“I am not detaining you,” the agent replied.
“So then I’m going to leave. I’m just stating what I’m going to do,” Nygard fired back.
The TSA agent then threatened Nygard with arrest. “And I will reach out to Denver police, and they will apprehend you.”
Nygard left the airport without consenting to the pat-down and was not arrested by police. He flew back to Minnesota yesterday with his father and arrived without any further complications.
The TSA is investigating the incident and issued the following statement to KMSP-TV Fox 9 News, “For security reasons, TSA cannot confirm whether specific individuals are on any type of watch list. TSA conducts watch list matching of all airline passengers against information controlled by the FBI’s Terrorist Screening Center. This is one of several important security measures in place to protect US national and transportation security. Individuals known to pose a threat to aviation who are on this list will not be issued a boarding pass and are not allowed to fly. If an individual has received a boarding pass, he or she is not on the No Fly List.”