Just when you thought your silver and gold coins were portable and outside of the realm of government intervention and scrutiny, we learn that the Transportation Security Administration may very well be starting to scrutinize possession of such coins if you travel through checkpoints, be they at airports or other public venues:
A traveler flying into Las Vegas was questioned by the TSA about his small collection of silver coins, another example of how the federal agency is acting more like a secret police unit than an airport security outfit, routinely interrogating Americans about their financial affairs.
Alex Jones talked to Jeff, a software engineer, after he passed through security, who told him that TSA agents had questioned him about why he was carrying silver coins and demanded to know their value. The screeners also asked if Jeff was collecting them for a hobby or an investment.
Jeff explained that he was simply planning to cash in the coins and use that money on his vacation instead of dipping into his bank account. The total value of the coins was no more than $600 dollars.
Alex Jones interviews Jeff after he was screened and questioned about his silver:
Though reports of these or similar incidences are rarely, if ever, carried by mainstream news, they happen more often than you might think.
You may be under the impression that gold or silver coins could be mixed in with regular coinage and transported without knowledge by screeners, but a post on the TSA Blog regarding an incident in St. Louis in March of 2009 indicates that TSA agents are on the look-out for travelers who possess precious metals, especially if “suspicious activity is suspected.”
On March 29th, a metal box containing a large amount of coins and cash was flagged for additional screening. Any large amount of metallic objects in one place (loose change or rolls of coins) appear as opaque images and are difficult and sometimes impossible to clear without being searched. I blogged about this type of search last October. If we can’t see through something on the x-ray, we have to take a closer look by opening the box/bag. Due to the contents, the passenger was taken to a private screening area which is customary when screening money or high dollar value items such as jewelry.
While it’s legal to travel with any amount of money you wish to carry when flying domestically, movements of large amounts of cash through the checkpoint may be investigated by law enforcement authorities if suspicious activity is suspected. As a general rule, passengers are required to cooperate with the screening process. Cooperation may involve answering questions about their property. A passenger who refuses to answer questions may be referred to appropriate authorities for further inquiry.
Source: TSA Blog [TSA.gov]
This is nothing short of a policy of guilty until proven innocent. If you happen to be of a world and paradigm view that differs from the status quo, you are engaged in suspicious activity. And if you attempt to opt out by refusing to submit to additional screenings or questioning than you get to join the millions of other people who are ‘on the list’ and will be from that point forth considered a domestic extremist. It’s as simple as that.