TSA Orders Valets to Search Cars at Rochester Airport

by Will Allen

Transportation Security Administration officials at Greater Rochester International Airport in Monroe County, N.Y. have ordered valet parking attendants to search every car they park, according to Rochester NBC affiliate WHEC. A local woman alerted the station after picking up her Subaru at the airport and finding a placard on the dash that read, “Thank you for your patronage. Your vehicle has been inspected under TSA regulations.”

Iacuzza emphasized that she received no advance notice that her car would be searched. “I was furious,” she told WHEC’s Berkeley Brean. “They never mentioned it to me when I had booked the valet, or when I picked up the car, or when I dropped it off.” When a WHEC camera crew visited the airport, they found a large sign posted on the window of the valet booth to warn customers that their cars would be searched; Iacuzza maintains that “it was not there” when she dropped her car off.

The owner of the valet-parking company would not say when the sign had been posted, but valets interviewed at the airport said that they have been searching cars for large quantities of explosives for about a month. The search is a 30-second process that includes the trunk, the engine compartment, and a brief scan of the interior and does not include the console or the glove box.

Brean spoke with John McCaffery, TSA director at the airport, who explained that only valet-parked cars are searched because they pose a greater threat to the terminal building. McCaffery explained that vehicles in the short- and long-term parking lots, “even if they carry pretty large amounts of explosives, would not cause damage to the front of the airport. But for those who use the valet, the car could be there for a half hour or an hour, so there is a vulnerability.”