TSA Directives” supersede Freedom of Information Act
The engineer who garnered global press attention by proving the TSA’s fleet of body scanners were completely useless is causing the federal agency more embarrassment – by highlighting the fact that the TSA argues that it can lie to the public for “security” reasons.
The claim appears in a lawsuit brought by Jon Corbett over his unlawful detention by TSA officers at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.
Corbett was detained for an hour at a TSA checkpoint after he refused to allow security screeners to perform an advanced pat down, which as we have documented often includes TSA agents literally touching people’s genitals.
After filing a Freedom of Information Act request in an attempt to obtain video footage of the incident, Corbett was told by Broward County authorities that “there are no documents, photographs, audio, or video that exist for this request,” despite the fact that the airport was littered with signs saying “Checkpoint under video surveillance,” in addition to Corbett personally seeing “more than a dozen visible camera domes.”
When Corbett included the charge that Broward County and the TSA had lied about the non-existence of the video footage as part of the lawsuit, Broward County attempted to have the judge dismiss the claim because of their belief that lying to the public is acceptable for “security reasons,” in turn tacitly admitting that the footage does exist, which represents a clear violation of the FOIA.
“The County was required by the TSA to withhold that information because it (the existence of video from any particular CCTV camera) constituted SSI (Sensitive Security Information). Any disclosure of the existence of the videotape would have violated both TSA directives and federal regulations pertaining to the disclosure of SSI,” states the lawsuit.
In other words, “TSA directives” apparently allow for the federal; agency to lie to the American public and also supersede the sanctity of the Freedom of Information Act.
“What kind of democracy would we be in when the government is allowed to lie to its citizens? How can we meaningfully exercise our constitutional rights to vote, petition our government for redress, and due process when the government not only hides from us the facts, but affirmatively says the exact opposite of the truth?” asks Corbett.
“Luckily, there is no precedent for allowing deception in FOIA responses based on a designation of “sensitive security information,” and I do fully expect the judge to slap down Broward’s motion. The best they can lawfully do, if there were legitimately a security concern about disclosing the existence of the videos, is to have simply said, “We can’t confirm or deny if a record exists.” Lying is simply unjustifiable, and it’s truly sad that a judge has to tell them that lying to the public is wrong.”
Back in March, Corbett released a You Tube video which illustrated how he was able to fool the TSA’s $1 billion dollar fleet of body scanners by simply securing an object inside an external pocket sewn on to an item of clothing
The federal agency even went to the lengths of threatening mainstream media reporters not to cover the story, claiming Corbett “clearly has an agenda” and should not “be aided by mainstream media.”
Corbett followed up by interviewing a TSA whistleblower who revealed that the scanners routinely fail to pick up prohibited items such as knives, guns and powder designed to resemble explosive material.
Corbett is also engaged in a second lawsuit against the TSA, currently with the Supreme Court, which seeks to eliminate both enhanced grope-downs as well as naked body scanners.
Paul Joseph Watson is the editor and writer for Prison Planet.com.