Jan 112011

Associated Press reports:

A man who stripped to his underwear at a Richmond International Airport checkpoint to protest security procedures won’t face a criminal charge.

Media outlets report that a disorderly conduct charge against 21-year-old Aaron Tobey of Charlottesville was dropped Monday following a hearing in Henrico General District Court.

Read more on MSNBC.

 Posted by at 6:32 pm  Tagged with:
Jan 012011

For those in the D.C. area or who are willing to travel, there’s an event on January 6th about TSA security procedures that may be of interest.  From EPIC.org:

January 6, 2011

The Carnegie Institute for Science
1530 P St., NW
Washington, DC

Featured Speakers:

  • Ralph Nadar
  • Rep. Jason Chaffetz (invited)
  • Rep. Rush Holt (invited)
  • Nadhira Al-Khalili
  • David Greenfield
  • Kate Hanni
  • Prof. Jeffrey Rosen
  • Bruce Schneier

This one-day public conference will be devoted to an assessment of the TSA airport security procedures and recommendations for reform. Experts in law, aviation security, and health safety, advocates for flyers rights, privacy protection, and religious freedom, as well as lawmakers and policy advisors will participate in the event. The event will also include a rich media display, with images from airport protests, YouTube videos, and campaign materials.

Advance registration is preferred.

According to the Cato@Liberty blog, Jim Harper will also be speaking at the event.

 Posted by at 11:07 am  Tagged with:

What TSA is doing

 Surveillance, U.S.  Comments Off
Apr 042010

Stewart Baker writes:

The press has been spending a lot of time on TSA’s new policy.   This New York Times story is representative (I’ve linked to it here because it has the first ever MSM reference to Skating on Stilts).

Despite all the attention, though, there’s a surprising lack of certainty about exactly what TSA is doing that’s different.  After making some assumptions that weren’t quite right, I think I now understand and can explain what TSA has done.


So what happened last week? It looks as though the administration tweaked the system further. Now, when TSA scrutinizes the passenger list, it won’t just be looking for known terrorist identities but also for fragmentary identities. So, if we know that a Nigerian is training for an attack and that his first name is Umar, we’ll select a lot of Nigerian Umars for screening. This is a good thing, but not in my view as significant as the earlier step.

For some reason, though, last week the administration didn’t have a good plan for explaining what it was doing.

Read more on The Volokh Conspiracy.

 Posted by at 11:54 am  Tagged with:
Dec 222009

Anne Youderian reports:

A federal judge in San Francisco ordered the Transportation Security Administration to release some evidence relating to a Muslim woman’s inclusion on the government’s “no-fly list,” breaking what the judge called a “potential jurisdictional impasse.”

Rahinah Ibrahim, a Malaysian Muslim, said she was illegally detained at the San Francisco International Airport because her name appeared on the “no-fly list,” which had been implemented after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Ibrahim said airport police handcuffed her in front of her 14-year-old daughter and detained her for two hours. She was getting her doctorate at Stanford University at the time, and had no criminal record or link to terrorists.

Agents later released her and told her that her name had been removed from the no-fly list. But when she tried to return to the United States to finish her degree, she learned that her student visa had been revoked.

She sued, claiming she’d been wrongfully included on the no-fly list.

U.S. District Judge William Alsup dismissed for lack of jurisdiction, but the 9th Circuit reversed on a 2-1 vote.


But the case faced a second jurisdictional hurdle on remand.

“[I]t turns out that important evidence at the heart of the case is still under lock and key by TSA,” Judge Alsup wrote. “The federal government asserts that this Court again lacks subject-matter jurisdiction, this time lacking jurisdiction to compel TSA to release the evidence. Fortunately, a portion of the jurisdictional impasse can be broken – a recent statutory amendment allows district courts to compel the production of at least some of the sensitive information” (original emphasis).

The judge ordered the TSA to produce FBI phone logs related to Ibrahim; TSA employee logs; documents discussing the incident, instructing police to detain or arrest Ibrahim, and discussing those instructions; and airport video recordings.

Read more on Courthouse News.

Related: Court opinion.

Nov 212009

FourthAmendment.com brings us news of a court opinion that Transportation Security Administration (TSA) employees engaged in an unreasonable search of a passenger’s luggage and that the child pornography they uncovered should be suppressed. In United States v. McCarty, the court held:

Despite the testimony indicating that the TSA employees searched the photographs solely to determine if any children were in harm’s way, the government argues that the search was nonetheless proper because Andrade was required to inspect the photographs for sheet explosives. Pl.’s Nov. 3 Suppl. Opp’n 2-6. The court readily accepts that a packet of photographs may cause a dense item alarm and TSA protocol requires the TSA employee to ensure that the photographs do not include any sheet explosives. The testimony, however, does not establish that Andrade and Moniz examined the photographs for sheet explosives — rather, after they noticed the photographs that were initially visible, they inspected the content of additional photographs for the purpose of determining their criminal nature.

Read more on FourthAmendment.com

Nov 122009

TSA hassled the wrong person. Previous coverage here.

TSA has changed two rules about airport searches after an aide to Congressman Ron Paul recorded an incident on his iPhone. The rules changes have prompted the ACLU to drop legal action against TSA on behalf of Steve Bierfeldt.

Bierfeldt was detained in March while attempting to board a plane at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport carrying $4,700 in cash. TSA agents spent half an hour questioning him about why he was carrying so much cash, and Bierfeldt recorded the exchange on his iPhone.

Bierfeldt is the director of development for ‘Campaign for Liberty’, a group formed by Congressman Ron Paul’s after his failed presidential bid. Bierfeldt attempted to send a metal box with the cash and checks through a metal detector at the airport, precipitating the confrontation.

Read more on Aero-News Network.

Hat-tip, Infowarrior

Nov 112009

EPIC filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit challenging the Department of Homeland Security’s failure to make public details about the agency’s Whole Body Imaging program. The devices capture detailed naked images of air travelers in the United States. After the agency announced that the body scanners would become the primary screening device in US airports, EPIC demanded that the agency disclose records that describe the scanners’ capacity to save and transmit images. In June, EPIC sent a letter to the Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano urging her to suspend the digital strip searches. For more, see EPIC Backscatter X-ray, Whole Body Imaging and EPIC Air Travel Privacy.

Source:  EPIC.org