Federal agency refused to comply with Freedom of Information Act request
Paul Joseph Watson
Friday, March 16, 2012
Former Congressman Bob Barr’s Liberty Guard organization has filed a lawsuit against the TSA after the federal agency refused to comply with a Freedom of Information Act request that sought to discover whether or not the TSA temporarily amended its security policies for political reasons during the height of the national opt out day protest in late 2010.
Watch an interview with Bob Barr from yesterday’s Alex Jones Show in which he discusses the lawsuit.
The lawsuit seeks to discover if there was internal TSA discussion of individuals and websites that promoted the national opt out day, including prominent critics of the TSA like Matt Drudge and Alex Jones.
Liberty Guard’s original FOIA request sought to obtain all internal TSA material that mentions the terms “Matt Drudge”, “Drudgereport.com”, “Alex Jones”, “PrisonPlanet.com”, “John Tyner”, “national opt-out day”, “Opt-Out Alliance” and “domestic extremists.”
The lawsuit, to be heard in the Eastern District Court of Virginia, seeks to secure the release of 9 pages of material the TSA admits it has which include some or all of the terms listed above, but has refused to disclose.
“This lawsuit will help empower all those who travel by commercial air carrier, to be protected against arbitrary and privacy-invasive techniques employed by the federal government that are of questionable constitutional validity,” said Barr in a press release.
The controversy stems from the fact that the TSA responded to the widely publicized national opt out day, which took place on November 24, 2010, by suspending the use of its naked body scanners in airports across the country.
As we documented at the time, body scanners at major airports like Newark International were roped off and sat idle for the day, preventing people from being able to join the protest by opting out.
At the nation’s busiest airport, Atlanta-Hartsfield, there was,”limited, if any, use of the controversial full-body scanners,” the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
Later reports confirmed that, the TSA had “backed down and resorted to using the old screening procedures — metal detectors and less-intrusive pat-downs.”
The TSA even mockingly suggested that “What some protesters threatened as an opt out day has turned into a TSA appreciation day.”
In reality, it appeared that the TSA had arbitrarily dispensed with the security procedures it usually lauds as all-important for a period of one day purely for political reasons – to defuse the impact of the opt out day protest.
Given the fact that the TSA routinely targets journalists who have been critical of the agency for harassment when they travel, it’s almost certain that the internal documents which the TSA refuses to release do contain information pertaining to prominent TSA critics like Matt Drudge and Alex Jones, as well as their websites.
Now that airports once again have the power to replace TSA workers with private screeners, an opportunity already taken up by Florida’s Orlando Sanford International, any further blow to the federal agency’s reputation would increase the likelihood of more airports opting out.
The full lawsuit can be read below.