Pressure from a lawsuit, limited resources and insistent on a fine focus from the Obama Administration all have come together as Transportation Security Administration officials have once again revised their screener directives to stress looking for weapons and explosives.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has dropped its TSA lawsuit after the agency revised its policy on searching travelers, telling screeners they can only investigate transportation-related issues, barring them from seeking evidence of crimes unrelated to air safety. The ACLU sued TSA this past summer, accusing airport screeners of overstepping their authority by searching and questioning travelers about potential crimes that had nothing to do with carrying weapons or explosives onto airplanes, which is the specific role defined for TSA. Even when illegal drugs are discovered, the policy notes, TSA can inform local law enforcement authorities and ask passengers to wait at screening checkpoints, but TSA officials do not have the authority themselves to detain people suspected of anything unrelated to aviation security. A second directive this fall specifically addressed the issues raised in the ACLU’s lawsuit, stating that “traveling with large amounts of currency is not illegal,” and that to the extent bulk quantities of cash warrant searching, it is only to further security objectives.

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