as far as I can see.
It doesn't have any "Confederation of Drug Smugglers" membership stickers, or "Association of International Arms Dealers" luggage tags on it. But on returning from my last 3 trips, I've opened it to unpack, and found a slip of paper advising me that "To protect me and my fellow passengers", the TSA have opened my bag and physically searched it.
Once is annoying. Twice is a concern. After the third time, I'm starting to get paranoid. (And no, cramming everything into a carry-on isn't always an option when I travel on business.)
Of course they haven't found anything. Nor are they likely to. So, I fall into the "If you've done nothing wrong then you have nothing to fear from the government searching your property" category. Even though it was done without my consent, or even my presence.
Or do I? I mean, what is the purpose of such a search? Suppose they 'do' announce that they found some contraband? I wasn't there when they searched my bag, so don't I have a simple case of denial? "It isn't mine, you must have planted it."
Suppose you came out of a restaurant to find a note on your car saying "To protect you and your fellow motorists, the police physically inspected your car and found a stash of blow in the wheel well. You're nicked." Wouldn't you have the option to deny it? How could you prove you didn't put it there?
Because if it's just a case of the TSA's word against mine, I have a nagging feeling it won't be me that would be believed. Let's face it, in the post 9/11 era of "You're guilty if the government says you're guilty" there are a lot of people currently in custody on flimsier evidence than this.
I'm not really asking for legal advice over the Internet, that would be silly. But...how does this work?