Sai v TSA updates — 3 big ways to help now; TSA's false sworn statements, new info, & more
It's been a while since I posted an overview. (If you'd like to get them emailed to you — about once a month — just fill out my 3 question survey @ http://s.ai/tsa/survey
There's been a lot of activity in the case recently.
One of the biggest highlights: in response to my motion for preliminary injunction (asking the court to make them hand over their responses to my Rehabilitation Act grievances), the TSA claimed, under penalty of perjury, that they never got my request for those documents in the first place.
Unfortunately for them, they emailed me (both by bot and human) confirmations of receiving the request, and my request for admissions formally served them with copies thereof. So either they lied, or they didn't bother to check whether they were telling the truth. That's called "bad faith", or plain English, "a fuckup so major that even the lawyer
can be personally sanctioned".
Before I get to the details though, I'd like to ask you for your help ASAP in three ways:
1. The TSA claims (see below) that there's no real public interest that would be served by producing the documents I'm asking for.
I'd like to prove them wrong, and it would really help me to prove that to have a letter from you.
You're a member of the public, and you know others. Would you be interested in seeing how the TSA responded to my formal Rehabilitation Act grievances about what they did to me at Boston (http://s.ai/tsa/#bos
) and San Francisco (http://s.ai/tsa/#sfo
Would you benefit in some way from knowing how they respond when their high-level employees openly refuse to obey their own policy about allowing medical liquids, or take away a mute person's pen and paper in retaliation for having protested the illegality of their unjustified search?
If so, please write a letter (addressed "to whom it may concern") explaining why you and other members of the public would benefit from the disclosure of these documents, and email it to me (email@example.com) as a PDF, ASAP.
Sorry for the short warning, but this one's urgent.
I want to file your letter as a supplement to the motion for preliminary injunction, and that's due to be decided within about a week. The sooner, the better.
2. This lawsuit takes a lot of time and energy from me (legal research, reading and writing motions, etc). Unfortunately, I won't get compensated for that even if I win.
If I had a lawyer, they'd probably get upwards of $200k in attorney's fees after we won (and it's very likely that I will) — but the law says that if you represent yourself you can't get attorney's fees, and there's no provision for monetary rewards under the FOIA. There is a small provision for monetary rewards under the Privacy Act, and I'm asking for it, but it's hard to get.
Simultaneously, I'm trying to start an ambitious non-profit to improve our political system, starting with campaign finance — https://makeyourlaws.org
. It's not going to pay me a salary in the immediate future, though; actually, it costs me a fair amount of money out of pocket to run.
Unfortunately, that means I have no salary, and I'm running very low on savings. I won't be able to keep it up for much longer without either ongoing support or getting a job in industry that would suck all my time away from doing this. Bluntly put, trying to improve the world is making me risk not being able to pay my basic living expenses.
So… would you be willing to buy me a drink once a month or so?
If yes, I'd really appreciate a recurring contribution. Even small amounts (like the cost of a single drink) add up, and your support would help me continue doing full time non-profit work.
You can set it up with PayPal @ http://s.ai/tsa/donate/pp
(click the 'make this recurring' checkbox) or with Bitcoin via Coinbase @ http://s.ai/tsa/donate/btcr
(If neither of these work for you, please let me know what does and I'll try to set that up.)
Thanks a lot in advance.
3. This one's simple: please share this with your friends, followers, etc.
Feel free to quote whatever you like; http://s.ai/tsa/legal
is up to date with everything about the case (and has donation links at the top).
If you want to get occasional summary updates (like this) by email, please go to http://s.ai/tsa/survey
— and please share that link too, so others can stay updated.
I'd appreciate getting tagged (facebook.com/saizai
, Twitter @saizai, G+ profiles.google.com/saizai
, Reddit /u/saizai) or emailed a link if you do, so I can help answer questions and get feedback.
Now on to your regularly scheduled update…
(FYI, all of this is @ http://s.ai/tsa/legal/#foia
— together with the formal case documents):
1. I asked to amend my complaint (http://s.ai/tsa/foia/complaint
a) include 2 FOIA/PA requests I forgot to include in the original and 2 that happened (and were improperly responded to) since I filed the case (see http://s.ai/tsa/legal/#requests
for the full list);
b) name Boston and Richmond airports as defendants, for unlawfully refusing to give me the checkpoint video I asked for; and
c) improve the complaint by making it more succinct and state additional "causes of action" (i.e. ways the TSA violated the law) that came out of my continuing research of FOIA/PA law.
2. TSA asked the court to prevent me from getting any
discovery from them at all.
They objected before even seeing my request for admissions, refused to negotiate with me about possibly narrowing the RFA, gave only vague (not particularized) objections to my RFA, and insisted on bringing the discovery dispute before the judge despite that.
I responded by explaining that the cases they relied on only disfavor discovery of documents that are unrelated to the case, at issue in the FOIA/PA requests themselves, or for which the government has claimed an exemption and submitted sworn affidavits about the content. TSA simply hasn't claimed or submitted any such thing.
Moreover, they had a mandatory responsibility to confer with me in good faith to narrow the request. I proffered a narrowing; AUSA Simon (TSA's lawyer) flatly refused to negotiate.
And case law says that asking for an order protecting them against all
discovery, rather than actually objecting to specific requests like they're required to under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, is in itself bad faith.
So I also asked the court to sanction both TSA and ASUA Simon.
3. In response to my motion for preliminary injunction (which asks the court to make them give me the Rehabilitation Act responses that they should have given me over a year ago), TSA filed an opposition, together with a sworn declaration from the TSA's acting FOIA Officer, Amanda Deplitch.
In summary, they argue (and swear under penalty of perjury, for the first two) that
a) my November 2013 FOIA/PA request for those responses doesn't exist;
b) I never responded to their letters improperly denying two of my requests;
c) there's no public interest that would be served by disclosing the documents; and
d) I'm arguing they shouldn't be allowed to claim that some of the documents are exempt.
I replied to their arguments — and showed proof that not only did the request exist, it was explicitly a acknowledged by TSA, and both it and the responses to their letters were served on them a month ago.
I also pointed out a simple fact: there's no way that the responses could be exempt, and the TSA didn't even try to claim
that they were. They just complained that I was somehow oppressing their ability to make such a claim, which is total nonsense.
Given that their sworn declaration under penalty of perjury has at least three statements that are materially false, known to TSA as an agency to be false, and served on them already, I've also asked the court to
a) sanction the TSA, their lawyer, and the FOIA officer who swore false things under oath;
b) compel the TSA to give me all emails they have about me or my requests (so that I can investigate who knew what when, which would help prove whether the statement was just in bad faith or actually perjury), and
c) order the FOIA officer to submit to a deposition where I can question her about her sworn declaration and the various false, vague, and misleading statements in it.
4. The declaration does
have some interesting information, e.g.:
* they found 10 pages & 1 video for "items identified with specificity" about my Boston, LaGuardia, and Chicago related requests (Which ones? That's not identified with specificity. \o/ ><)
* they found 15 pages about my request for TSA's contracts with Boston airport
* they found 40 pages & 1 video about my request related to San Francisco
* all the above will take 45 days to review (… even though they've already had 6-12 months to do so, and the law says they only get to have up to 20 days)
* they reopened my request for all their policy & procedure documents, but it'll take "several months" just to search for them (… even though they're all on one server), plus time for review & redaction of "Sensitive Security Information" (… even though these are documents that they're required by law to have published preemptively)
There should be more action soon.
The court is likely to issue an order about my motion for preliminary injunction in about a week, and sometime soonish (I don't know exactly when) about the various discovery issues.
If I get granted discovery … well, I'm guessing that it'll be very interesting indeed to find out what they were saying about me & my requests, and to know what their FOIA officer has to say about having sworn as true things that in fact were false and she'd have known were false had she used, as she swore she did, information available to her in the performance of her official duties.
Summary of how you can help right now:
1. ASAP: Email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) a PDF letter explaining why you or other members of the public would benefit from the public disclosure of their responses to my Rehabilitation Act grievances over what they did to me at SFO & BOS.
2. Would you buy me a drink once a month?
Set up a recurring contribution (even a small one helps!).
3. Share this far & wide.
Tell people your own thoughts & feelings about it (and the events @ http://s.ai/tsa/#sfo
Explain why it matters to you.
Tag me on FB/G+/Twitter/Reddit, or email me a link.
Feel free to quote any of this post & to share my email address too.
(the things they did to me)http://s.ai/tsa/survey
(getting occasional email updates like this one)
Thanks in advance for your help, and for your ongoing support. It really means a lot to me.