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Traveler with anti-war signs finds complaint inserted into bagg

Sunday, March 16, 2003

SEATTLE -- An airline passenger who had two "No War with Iraq" signs in his suitcase says the federal security agent who opened his luggage inserted a note criticizing his "anti-American attitude."

"I found it chilling and a little Orwellian to have received this message," said Seth Goldberg, 41, of Cranbury, N.J.

Federal Transportation Security Administration officials are investigating.

Goldberg says that after a March 2 flight from Seattle to San Diego, he opened his bag and found a card notifying him that TSA had opened and searched it.

A handwritten note on the card said: "Don't appreciate your anti-American attitude!"

He said it would have been hard for anyone else to have placed the note because when he claimed the bag in San Diego the zipper pulls were sealed with nylon straps that indicated a TSA inspection.

If a TSA employee placed the note, "we will take appropriate and swift action," TSA spokesman Brian Turmail said Saturday from Washington, D.C.

"That is not appropriate behavior and not within the very high expectations we hold ... and that the American public has a right to expect," Turmail added.

Screeners are trained "in a range of customer service issues ... to assure the security process is polite, professional and appropriate," Turmail said.

Goldberg said he picked up the anti-war signs in Seattle. "In New Jersey there's very little in the way of protest and when I got to Seattle I was amazed how many anti-war signs were up in front of houses," he said.

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