Richmond, Va. (CBS DC) — A Transportation Security Administration spokesperson has been criticized after tweeting a photo of a passenger’s luggage showing $75,000 cash in their bag.
A Twitter account attributed to TSA Public Affairs spokesperson Lisa Farbstein posted a photo of a passenger’s unusual luggage from Richmond International Airport, WWBT-TV reports. The photo shows a pile of bundled cash in what appears to be a carry-on bag.
“If you had $75,000, is this how you’d transport it? Just asking! TSA @ #RIC spotted this traveler’s preferred method,” Farbstein wrote via Twitter.
Farbstein’s tweet drew wide criticism, with many commenters arguing the TSA violated that passenger’s privacy and potentially elevated their threat of theft.
“Is there any TSA policy against photographing and publicly posting the contents of a person’s bag?” one person responded.
“Is it any of your business? Is there a law, you know, other than the privacy laws you violated?” another tweeted.
The TSA regularly posts images of strange confiscated items found in luggage on the TSA Blog. But the blog does not identify the airports in which the contents went through security. Most photos depict weapons and or other bizarre items confiscated.
A Richmond International Airport spokesperson tells WWBT that under asset forfeiture laws a person must provide some type of bill of sale or have proof of explanation for why they’re carrying such an amount of cash. In the case of the $75,000, the man was unable to do so and had to hand the money over to the federal agency.
The passenger wasn’t charged and was allowed to continue onto his flight after handing over the cash.
“TSA officers routinely come across evidence of criminal activity at airport checkpoints,” Farbstein told WWBT in an email statement. “Examples include evidence of illegal drug trafficking, money laundering, and violations of currency reporting requirements prior to international trips. TSA turned this bag over to law enforcement, which is investigating.”