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Attached is a writeup of the Logan TSA's illegal search & seizure, illegal detention, and literal, retaliatory deprivation of my freedom of speech based on my disability. It includes a listing of claims, a detailed chronological description of events, and a list of what relief I'm seeking. Please feel free to share this with anyone who can help. (Possibly more readable: http://goo.gl/A59WQ.)

ETA4: I've now filed formal complaints with Logan Airport ADA Coordinator and the national TSA Office of Civil Rights and Liberties; the Massachusetts Attorney General's Civil Rights Division; the Department of Justice's Disability Rights office, and the Massachusetts Commission against Discrimination.

If there's anyone else I can work with, whether State, disability advocates, civil rights advocates, or private litigators, please put me in contact.

I've also filed FOIA / Privacy Act / evidence preservation demands on the national TSA; Logan police; Officer Coleman; Logan corporate security; TSA Agent Kukula; TSA Agent Tonge-Riley; and Logan TSA Federal Security Director George Naccara.

Now we wait and see what happens. Their ball.

I'm definitely interested in finding a lawyer to pursue civil litigation — though I think tactically it would be better to put actual action on that front on pause pending the results of FOIA and complaints, that doesn't preclude getting good representation in the meantime. :-)

So: lawyer qualified to MA bar, interested in suing the TSA for Bivens etc etc claims — let's talk. :-)

Thanks!


ETA5: Received FOIA response from Massport: http://goo.gl/qrr4d
My counter-response: http://goo.gl/LyF4p

ETA6: Their counter-response: http://goo.gl/ghfa0

Next up: I need to file a formal administrative appeal of the FOIA denial.

Something that would help: I know that the TSA has released checkpoint video before. Can someone please find any/all citations of this they can find — the more official the better? (That is, other than the videos posted at youtube.com/tsa, which I cited in my counter-response.)
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111 comments
 
I don't really have anything to offer except my sincere dismay and outrage at how you were treated, and my hope that justice will be served.
 
I've shared this out. Boosting the signal.
 
I am horrified by the despicable treatment you have experienced, +Sai Sadly, I have no legal expertise to offer, but I have shared your post with two of the blogs I follow which frequently report on TSA overreach: http://www.techdirt.com/ and http://boingboing.net/ 

I only know you through your posts, but you have garnered my respect and appreciation through what you have shared with this community. I'm so sorry this has happened to you.
 
What a horrible ordeal...Makes me even more unwilling to ever visit the USA... at least by means of airplane...
Have you considered trying to get exposure from http://www.popehat.com/ -- perhaps they can get you in touch with the appropriate people.
 
It's perfectly legal to carry a voided passport or mismatching identification, especially to show proof of an old name. Trans people do it all the freaking time.
 
+Whitt Whitton Thank you for the compliment. I'm sorry it happened, too.

FWIW, I don't actually want to have to sue these TSA agents personally. I think that in large part they are grunts with a shit job who are often treated poorly. However, they also treat us poorly, and their job shouldn't exist to begin with (cf. Schneier). And more to the point, this isn't going to get fixed unless those agents get publicly punished, in their personal capacity, so that all other agents start actually paying attention to civil rights instead of hiding behind the agency.

+Jason Teske Yes, it's perfectly legal. When I applied for my new passport, the US Passport Office sent me back the old one. It has two holes punched in it indicating that it's voided. It's one of the best ways of proving my former identity.

You're not allowed to have two concurrent passports from the same entity. This is different.

Moreover, the fact that I have two passports is totally immaterial; it would not have been discovered were it not for a search that was on its face illegal to begin with, and it does not justify their deprivation of my speech.

+Filip H.F. Slagter I should've thought of that; I'm a fan of them. Will ping.
 
I don't really know how US law applies, but couldn't you have insisted on intervention by the police officer (or another) for them obstructing your civil rights / illegally seizing your possessions?
 
+Sai I am very sorry to see the troubles you had. I wish you can win your case.

TSA really is a stupid agency to begin with. After 9/11, airplane cockpits are locked during flight, there is really not much damage a terrorist can do (more than someone could do on a train or bus or in movie theatre). TSA keeps adding excuses and troubles to increase its own size. It is fooking stupid.
 
+Filip H.F. Slagter "Insisted", no. And in practice, police never intervene. The only means of combatting such violations is through the courts.
 
+Jason Teske I have updated all my information, to the extent I reasonably could. But not all prescriptions get reissued easily (nor need be), I have some old bottles, and there are always random cruft bits of information or documents that stick around.

Please note, my former passport is not "expired", it's "voided". It was deliberately provided to me by the government for exactly this purpose — so that I would be able to prove my former identity if needed.
 
+JD Lindsay Disability law does require the government to facilitate communication for people with disabilities like mine. Moreover, there's a huge difference between failing to affirmatively assist speech, and retributively preventing speech.

It's not purely a 1st amendment claim.

As for the case law I cite: it's still good law. Davis got quoted by Aukai 2007 got quoted by Fofana 2009 — despite Davis being from 1973. And you'll note that the TSA's current policy memo directly quotes it, too.

+Jason Teske This isn't about "the validity of the TSA". I am not challenging the Davis standard, which permits a certain limited scope of administrative search in airports. Quite the opposite.
 
+JD Lindsay I'm still annotating the law re the disability side of things, but just to start: 28 CFR § 35.160:
"    (a) A public entity shall take appropriate steps to ensure that   
 communications with applicants, participants, and members of the     
 public with disabilities are as effective as communications with      
 others.                                                               
     (b)(1) A public entity shall furnish appropriate auxiliary aids   
 and services where necessary to afford an individual with a disability
 an equal opportunity to participate in, and enjoy the benefits of, a  
 service, program, or activity conducted by a public entity.           
     (2) In determining what type of auxiliary aid and service is      
 necessary, a public entity shall give primary consideration to the    
 requests of the individual with disabilities.    "
 
I'm sorry this happened to you. Mark my words: I will not rest until society has evolved to the point where this kind of thing is exceptionally rare.
 
It is a shame that this happened and corrective action should be taken on the TSA's side; however, as far as state or federal courts go, I don't think there is much wieght to your case. I'm just trying to be realistic. It seems to me that with the discrepancy of your name on your passports and medications being different and the types of documents you were carrying mixed with your lack of cooperation may justify further investigation on their part. I can understand their disgruntlement when you were supplied with paper only for you to tell them you weren't going to answer their questions and that they were out of their jurisdiction. I'm in no way saying that their behavior is justified, but I'm only trying to propose points that may be given on the latter side of this arguement. I would support contacting the director of the TSA in that particular region, but I don't think you'll have much luck in the court system...there are just too many variables in the situation. Again, I'm sorry this happened, and I hope you can bring awareness to these types of situations so that the corruption is removed.  
 
The National Lawyers' Guild was helpful when I needed to find a civil rights lawyer. They're defending Occupiers too. 
 
This is a lame complaint. Come on dude, they just searched your bags. I actually appreciate they were so thorough with such a suspicious character. It only took a long time because you chose to not cooperate ("I don't consent," "what you're doing is illegal," etc.). Do you really think this is all TSA's problem, and not yours at all? And there's all kinds of conjecture and subjective opinion in your story. Like you say they ignored and disregarded your attempts to communicate, but they could easily say the opposite. They could say they understood what you were mouthing, but didn't believe you or thought what you were saying was suspicious. Nobody violated your civil rights, they just searched a person they found suspicious. 
 
+Fred Grant That is violating Sai's civil rights.  There's this thing in the constitution, and in the law, where searching is supposed to be justified by a need to find something specific and dangerous.  it limits what they can search for, and who they can detain.  We fought for this protection because search is frequently used in tyranny against anybody different, anybody they want to intimidate.  It's precisely that they're not to search anyone "they find suspicious", but only those people who pose a clear danger.  Sai did not.

And you don't think the "we understood" argument is weak?
 
+Gregory Marton That isn't completely correct...plausible cause covers the searching of someone who gives a deceptive impression of truth or reliability. I believe the lack of cooperation and inconsistency of legal documents would be a justifiable reason for further search. I would argue that had this person been more cooperative with the agents, this situation would not have escalated as far as it did.
 
I can't believe anyone finds this kind of treatment reasonable. What is it going to take for some of you to wake up?
 
+Joe Everts, they started "further search" before any lack of cooperation, and well before any documents might have been found to be inconsistent.  It is specifically because of the malleability of that "lack of cooperation" and "deceptive impression" that we have protections against this kind of search.  Anybody can use those ideas to intimidate anyone they want, and it is a violation of those folks' rights.  It was clear after the metal detector and pat-down that Sai was carrying nothing dangerous.  That's where it should have ended.
 
Seems like a horrible experience, however I believe that is the TSA is a necessary evil if you want to fly commercially in the US. If you don't want to be scanned, patted down, questioned, searched, or detained in the name of security, you have no business trying to board a plane. Especially with 2 different passports and a bunch of persciption meds not in your current name. Go Greyhound, they don't give a shit what you carry. 
 
Listen to yourselves! Would you also tell a woman who was raped that she had no business wearing clothes like that? Sai has EVERY RIGHT to his voided passport. The GOVERNMENT gave it back for exactly this purpose! The TSA agents in question BROKE THE LAW! What possible defense is there against that???
 
Sounded to me like the X-ray tech probably had never seen an "ocarina" is a bag before, and initiated the "further search" because it looked "suspicious." Having never seen anything like that, the TSA agent probably just took the conservative approach and decided to search the bag. When they started searching and asking questions, they got resistance from Sai, which made it even more suspicious. Multiple passports and documents with various people's names (possible aliases) are things you might expect to find on a terrorist or enemy agent. Combine all that with his apparent unwillingness to cooperate, contempt for authority, and suspicious chemicals (sounds like many medications, including some expired (seems like people wouldn't carry expired medications for medicinal purposes; I personally throw them out when they expire)), and you have a perfect recipe to cook up suspicion in the men and women who's responsibility it is to keep all those men, women, and children on that plane safe and free of terrorist oppression. They weren't harassing him because of his disability or detaining and searching him to be tyrannical, they were just doing their jobs. These kinds of bogus claims really detract from more serious civil violations that happen all the time. Sai, quit being an uncooperative whiney-pants, and I suggest not carrying odd-shaped musical instruments or other weird items with you and all your other suspicious possessions on airplanes. 
 
+Joe Everts The double name thing was only discovered about halfway into their search. It cannot possibly justify the search to begin with.

+Fred Grant I carry the ocarina every single time I travel. It is ceramic and does not show up as a suspicious item on x-ray; it is x-ray transparent. And it's quite obviously a musical instrument.

(Indeed, I think I had hardly anything that wasn't x-ray transparent at all, aside from a few clearly identifiable and segregated computer peripherals.)

Even if it did, it would have been trivial to them to specifically get — it was located in one of my bags, not all of them, and in a very accessible location. As I said, I've had items come up on x-ray before, and this is exactly what happens — they open that specific bag, look in the area that it came up, and look at the item.

That's not in the same ballpark as looking through all your stuff and reading it, including things like bank statements.

Carrying multiple medications is perfectly legal, and the TSA has no purview to investigate that. Their exclusive right is to look for weapons or explosives, not to generally investigate anything they think is suspicious, and also not when justified only in retrospect.

I would also point out that it is illegal to retaliate against someone who stands up for their civil rights. Part of my allegations is that the search was a retaliation for my opting out. That is, in itself, illegal. Ditto if it had anything to do with my restricted speech ability.
 
+Fred Grant, their job is to look for dangerous things, not to pry into strange things.  We have a right to be strange, and we have a right not to put up with their prying.  They had excluded the possibility that Sai was carrying dangerous things, and they should have stopped.
 
If by "strange" you mean "unknown," then strange is potentially dangerous and should be investigated. Sai, it would have been retaliation if they beat you up or poked you with sharp objects to inflict pain. They merely searched your person and belongings, which is something you willingly consented to when you bought the plane ticket and decided to go through the security line. Some searches are more thorough than others. You just have to deal with it. They didn't come into your home or invade your privacy. Everyone who flies knows there is a chance their belongings will be thoroughly searched. And even more thoroughly so if they resist it - resistance leads to suspicion of I'll intent. Why else would someone who already consented to search (by buying the ticket and entering the line) start resisting?
 
Even if they had reasonable grounds to stop and search his bags and even if they, in the process, had reasonable suspicion that Sai was up to no good, preventing him from talking and refusing to engage with him are unacceptable.

Edit furthermore, preventing him from communicating or communicating to him their reasons are incredibly counter-productive for them. Surely the first response upon seeing two passports and believing there's something up, is to ask "why do you have two passports?", followed by "wait here a minute, I'll go and get an ASL speaker - hang on, do you want a piece of paper, maybe?"
 
+Fred Grant, "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated".  Houses are part of it, but their persons, papers, and effects, are a big part too.  The law is the tradeoff the people have chosen, and it is up to the courts, thankfullly not up to you, whether this is a violation.  All security is a matter of tradeoffs, and I'm glad that the law seems to stop short of allowing these security guards to invade his bank statements and other documents in their effort towards safety. 

Those documents have no bearing on whether or not someone could inflict large-scale harm on their fellow passangers, that those passengers themselves couldn't easily stop.  There are all kinds of bad people.  The point of the TSA is to stop people from carrying the kinds of things that will kill a lot of people quickly.  Sai did not have those kinds of things, and that was clear early in the search.
 
+Fred Grant The ocarina was physically discovered late in the search.

And again: either the x-ray was clear, or they violated TSA protocol for how to handle suspicious items on x-ray. They weren't looking for something in particular; my bags had already been screened by x-ray. They were instead reading through my documents.

As for your argument that objecting is suspicious, (a) have you read 1984?, and (b) refusing consent to search is not suspicious and does not justify any retaliatory action whatsoever. See www-bcf.usc.edu/~usclrev/pdf/075403.pdf for a thorough legal review.
 
I only know UK law where you're not allowed to opt out of searches: even so, the officer must have good reason to perform a search and be looking for something in particular, they have to tell you why you're being searched and what they're looking for and you must be formally detained (which differs from arrest). Then they have to give you an opportunity to come clean. If they find anything, they have to give you opportunity to explain why you have it and must make considerations for the person's ability to speak - even if you speak no English. Given that most Americans think that the UK sounds like a police state or something from 1984...
 
+Sam Stutter In the US, you may not opt out of airport administrative search once you submit to it. However, the extent of that permissible search is very strictly limited, by the Davis standard which I quoted. This went well outside it. (Also, it is not a police search, and TSA have no police powers, like detention.)

The ADA protects my right to communicative aids in all situations, especially sensitive ones like the boundaries of consent, especially when the "aid" being demanded is merely a pen and paper that are readily available.
 
+Sai it sounds like you're a little too obsessed with 1984.  If a TSA officer had stopped you for no apparent reason on the sidewalk outside of WalMart, and began searching your bags and papers, that would be illegal.  But you consented to the search when you put your bag through the x-ray machine.  I don't know how you decided the ocarina was "x-ray transparent," but it seems you have never looked at the display of one of those x-ray machines.  The ocarina may not have showed up bright green, but I bet it was at least suspicious.  Maybe a big blank spot on the display or something.  Who knows?  Bottom line is they saw something suspicious they thought warranted further search.  And your damage is that you were almost late to your flight? Gimme a freakin break!  And regarding the Southern California Law Review article, notice that "...while the Court has made clear  that a refusal to consent is not sufficient by itself to constitute probable cause or even reasonable suspicion, it has never addressed whether such refusal can be part of the basis for a search or a Terry stop."  So while your refusal to further search alone cannot be deemed probable cause for further search, it could potentially play into a number of other factors, such as the presence of a strange object, two passports, expired meds, etc., to create a reasonable suspicion.  Hell, just based on your own account, I'm suspicious.  What the hell were you doing traveling with two passports?  Why did you have expired meds?  Who brings a bunch of sensitive and personal documents in their carry-on luggage?  I kind of want to search your bags too!  And honestly I'm glad TSA did.  You're a suspicious character!
 
+Fred Grant 1. Actually, I've seen my ocarina on x-ray screens, in sane countries like Canada and Germany where checkpoints let you see your own items being screened. It is transparent. It looks like a thing with holes arranged in the way of a normal musical instrument. It does not look like a weapon, and weapons are the only things they are allowed to search for.

2. If they were suspicious of it, they would have opened  the one bag that had it and taken it out easily. They did nothing of the sort.

3. Yes, I consented to the limited search permitted to the TSA. That limitation does not extend to what they did.

4. My damage is not that I almost missed my flight; my damage is the distress, plus the numerous violations of my rights. 

5. You appear to be trolling me. Please provide good faith demonstration that you are not, or I will block you.
 
+Gregory Marton so let's say +Sai is in fact an Islamist terrorist, just for sake of argument for now.  Say he's carrying some component needed to make a bomb on the airplane (it looks like an ocarina, but TSA officers have never seen such a thing, so they conservatively treat it as though it's part of a bomb).  They open the bag to check it out, and still don't know what it is, so they ask him.  His attitude is uncooperative and he starts making demands and refusing any further search.  So if part of the bomb is in one bag, maybe the other parts are in the other bags, and the x-ray missed them.  TSA better check the other bags.  Lo and behold, in searching for bomb parts, they find a stash of chemicals in medicine bottles with expired labels and suspicious documents like multiple passports that one might expect a terrorist to have.  And in all this, when they give him a pen to allow him an opportunity to explain himself, he is still uncooperative and refuses to explain himself.  So they didn't find a complete bomb, are not sure if they may have found part of one, and have reasonable suspicion this person may actually be a terrorist!  They gave him an opportunity to explain himself and he refused!  So, what would you like them to do with this terrorist?  Just let him through security with his partial bomb?  I would prefer that they consult with law enforcement.  And where exactly did they violate his rights?  By not having an ASL person on hand?  They gave him pen and paper.  By continuing a search after obtaining reasonable suspicion that he may be a terrorist carrying bomb-making materials?  You people have been reading a little too much 1984, and it's clouding your common sense judgment.  These were TSA officers - ordinary people using their best judgment.  Not some brainwashed secret service agents upholding a tyrannical regime.  You're taking it too far.
 
I love how this troll felt the need to specify you as an islamic terrorist, even though his whole post was supposed to be something hypothetical.

Anyway, good luck with your case +Sai. Please keep us informed of the progress and outcome. :)
 
+Fred Grant, I think it's you that's been taking in too much terrorist fiction.  The actual probabilities of the things you're talking about are so spectacularly small that they're not worth considering.  The probability of someone, on this evidence, being the peaceable guy that Sai is, on the other hand, is enormous.  By comparison to bomb parts, gigantic numbers of people have strange musical instruments or art pieces.  Go ahead, research the numbers.

You say they gave him an opportunity to cooperate, but it doesn't sound that way to me.  When you want to get information from someone, and you can see that they're willing and able to write, even keen to write, then you don't take pen and paper away from them.  If you're truly seeking the truth, you let them write as much as they want.  The reason to take that away from them is if you're afraid that what they write may harm or incriminate you.  That seems to be precisely what happened: they were reminded that they were breaking the law, and they thought that the more they're reminded, the more culpable they'll be.

Could they have asked him to wait while they checked with their superiors?  Sure.  Could they have sent his stuff through the x-ray again? By all means.  Could they have used the bomb-chemical tracer as they did?  Certainly.  But when they had the evidence that he did not have the means to kill lots of people, then whatever his intent, it was their duty to let him go.  They didn't do that.

Try to think about an actual bomb plotter with a ceramic vessel and stuff that looks like old meds, and nothing on their person (verified by pat-down).  You think they're going to opt out, for extra search?  You think they're going to do anything but smile and cooperate?  Do you know how many actual weapons the TSA misses, because they look for "suspicious" people instead of doing their job?  There are some interesting numbers on that, too.

Now, you have every right to your suspicions.  The question is what you're suspicious of, and what you should do about it.  If you're suspicious that Sai is not someone you'd like to have dinner with, not someone you'd like to lend your car to, or not someone you'd like your family members to marry, well, that's all your business.  If, on the evidence of a ceramic vessel that you can see through, and evidence, at worst, that he's in a bad mood, you decide to be suspicious that he's trying to kill you and has a good shot at it, and then you decide to trample over his right to be safe in his personal effects and papers, well, then you're exaggerating the threat, and you've become a criminal.

That old cliché about those who are willing to sacrifice fundamental freedoms for a little extra safety?  That applies to you right now.  No amount of extra safety was even gained, because they already knew he didn't have bomb parts, from the x-ray and chemical tracers and pat-down.

The best way to protect the way of life we hold dear is to take seriously the liberties that form its core.  The biggest threat to it is not terrorists, but people overreacting to terrorists with real terror, terror that leads them to give up their rights voluntarily.  That (charitably) is what the TSA officers seem to have done here, and what you're in the process of doing.  But it's not too late: you can, and should, reconsider.
Angyl
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Oddly, I don't think he was trolling, I think he was trying to explain that sai's very account of the situation can trigger "wtf suspicious" in normal people, and explain that most people decide to opt-out of that battle by making decisions about what they will travel with and how they act. When Doctorow and others were actively pushing TSA buttons they were very careful about the way they did it and they planned on the delays and had backup plans for their challenges. Unfortunately it came across reading more like victim blaming than battle choosing as he was trying to rephrase perhaps for the wrong audience later.

But I do find the battle choosing point valuable. When we travel by air, I do take time to consider what I'm bringing and how I'm packing it, I make sure I pull the stupid nail trimming kit and tweezers out and put them in checked bags, I put my contacts in individual bags with clearly sealed lens fluid of the appropriate size, I spend the $5 to get new sealed toiletries and put them in their own clear bag, and I have a system to empty my bags for easy examination as they go through if they're densely packed. I'm prepared to turn on any devices I brought with me if asked. And we always leave ridiculously too much time just in case.

So, yes, the situation you went through sucked. I'm no lawyer so I won't speculate about case potential. But I'd advise not tossing with the bath water the baby that there are certainly things you can do to make your battle easier if this is one you're choosing, or to avoid it if it's not worth the pain for you. Less distress would maybe be worth a little effort no?
 
+Angyl Bender Unfortunately, right now I'm homeless (I'm currently staying in a hotel, but I wouldn't trust leaving my stuff here over a weekend). What I was carrying is the entirety of what I'm living out of. That necessarily includes a couple months' supply of all my medications, lots of documents, etc.

I prepared extra time; I took my shoes off early; I had everything properly baggied and all that bullshit. I made sure my old passport was baggied with my old meds, so that they'd explain each other if needed. I wasn't going in looking for a battle, I was just trying to go home, and I think I did as much as anyone can reasonable expect to make that smooth.

That doesn't mean that I'm willing to tolerate violations of my rights. If you don't stand up for them, you lose them. Making things smooth does not, to me, mean submitting to an electronic strip search; letting TSA agents prevent me from communicating; consenting to illegal search, seizure, and detention; etc.
 
It is remarkable how much what people tolerate as reasonable has drifted over the years, and for what? The TSA has not stopped one terrorist attack to my knowledge. It reminds me of the South Park episode called "The Entity" (highly offensive of course).
Angyl
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I guess I tolerate it because I don't view air travel as a right. It's a useful way to get somewhere faster. It's a situation that conscientiousness can make MUCH more smooth for everyone involved. My personal battle is I don't want the scan, so I plan to opt out, and try to set things up so I can do that smoothly without missing any flights, since for me it's not worth that. When Hans flies to Iaido events, he takes a sword. He knows a sword case looks like a rifle case so he prepares to be asked about it when he checks it. Personally I think it's totally reasonable and expected to ask about unfamiliar objects or suspicious behavior if that's your job...

I guess we all know you're a smart guy, and maybe some of us expect smart people to realize stuff can be problematic, therefore might assume you were trolling the TSA trying to force an altercation, especially if they're newcomers who don't know about your traumatic history with authorities?

Again, not saying it was cool. Just offering a different perspective that the banned guy seemed to be trying to express. I could be wrong about that, dunno.
 
If you're interested in speaking to an attorney, I do recommend talking to a bar association, either in DC (which I think is where TSA is headquartered), the city you were traveling through, or in the Bay Area. Another idea is to look at who has brought similar disability-search-related suits against the TSA, and which attorneys represented the plaintiffs in those cases. 
 
+Angyl Bender I view all travel as a right.

I wasn't carrying anything that was even suspicious-looking, let alone that looked like a weapon or explosive. That's where the question ends; the TSA has no more authority than looking for those two things, in the minimally intrusive possible manner.

Reading my papers is not minimally intrusive.

As for whether I was trolling them or not: does that even matter? I wasn't, but what's relevant is only whether or not they obeyed civil liberties and disability law. They didn't, and I intend to see them punished for that.
 
+Beth Winegarner I contacted the MA NLG for attorney reference.

I haven't seen any other disability suits against the TSA, just lots of people who were abused but didn't sue. But that's a good idea; I'll try looking.
 
The first thing any dictator does is clamp down on the transfer of information. One of the best methods is to artificially restrain travel - I'm not saying this is commencement of evil plan stage 1 here but, if travel is physically possible, it should not be limited. TSA, in theory, makes travel safer, so is Good. But the ability to travel freely should be used as a measure of liberty - if you can afford it, you should be able to do it.
 
"TSA, in theory, makes travel safer, so is Good" Um, except they have yet to stop one terrorist.
 
Ohey, I forgot a piece of evidence: I have a neurologist's letter. A copy of it was in my wallet, and they read it, and they still denied me access to the things it clearly states I need constant access to.

/me adds as attachment to the above document
 
All they have done is harass people with disabilities (including children and the elderly, as a matter of routine), people who forget to check nailfiles and pocket knives or other work tools that they routinely carry and so forget about, and make air travel so unpleasant that airline after airline has had to beg for bailouts from the government or else fold.

Personally, as the mother of two autistic children, I simply don't fly with them. This has meant that we have missed family events, such as funerals and weddings and births, because it is illegal to take your kids out of school for a week and half to travel across the country by car/train/bus. If you do, you will be charged with truancy, and if you are working and take that kind of time off, you will most likely be fired, because the assumption is that air travel will be used instead.
 
+Beth Winegarner I've done a search for disability suits involving the TSA. I've come up with several employment related disability suits, but none alleging disability violations against travelers.

Perhaps you have better search-fu than I.
 
I would contact those lawyers anyway. If they can't represent you, they may be able to recommend someone who can. 
 
+Beth Winegarner, TSA brags about statistics on how many "prohibited items" they seize.  Just look at their blog, that's most of the content. FBI brags about terror plots they've supposedly disrupted no matter how vague, implausible, or entrapment-induced.

Why on earth would you think that TSA wouldn't brag if they caught a terrorist?  Neither their own inclination, nor the inclinations of other US security agencies, suggest such an idea.
 
+Sam Stutter, not only does TSA not make travel safer, it actively makes it less safe.  Because of TSA, more people choose to drive instead of fly, resulting in millions of safe plane trips being replaced by less-safe car trips, and hundreds of additional deaths.
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Hey Sai... sorry... didn't know where you were looking. I'd say you're taking the right steps and if you want a lawyer, you should contact your local bar association and ask for a referral to someone who represents people in civil rights cases against the government.
 
+Alan Jaffray I'm content to be corrected. My thinking was that if the TSA were a real agency, they'd probably want to keep their discoveries hidden rather than tip off suspects, so that they could keep catching them for making the same dumb mistakes rather than broadcasting to the whole world what they're looking for and what they're finding. But I go through 2-3 security checkpoints every workday, so I realize that most "security checkpoints" are a joke. 
Angyl
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You should see her WEEKEND rockstar identity.
 
Attached copies of the paper I used for communication as exhibits.
 
I've prepared a FOIA / Privacy Act request to be sent to a bunch of happy recipients tomorrow. I've also revised the complaint to separate it more strictly into affidavit of facts vs legal argument, in preparation for filing a formal complaint w/ MCAD tomorrow.
 
FOIA requests have been sent out by certified return receipt US mail to  national TSA; Logan police; Officer Coleman; Logan corporate security; TSA Agent Kukula; TSA Agent Tonge-Riley; and Logan TSA Federal Security Director George Naccara.

Also, sent formal MCAD complaint.
 
Today I got:
* signed certified mail return receipts from the two letters to TSA agents and the police officer (not signed by them, but by whoever the mail clerk is presumably)
* a letter from the MA AG declining to take the case, suggesting I talk to MCAD, ACLU, MOD, DoJ, & TSA (which I have; MOD just pointed to MCAD, and ACLU said no — no response yet from the other three)
 
Copy your US Senators and Representative on everything. Ask for their help; demand their attention. They are ultimately responsible for this rogue agency being allowed to operate without accountability, outside the Constitution. Try to get publicity for your case in your local newspapers and other news media. In Alaska, many people who've tried to get any information from TSA, myself included, have waited months, years, and forever, and only finally get any response if a US Senator or Congressional Representative intervenes.  Join the following organizations (you can start by liking them on Facebook and subscribing to them): Freedom to Travel USA, We Won't Fly, Boycott Flying, and Alaskans' Freedom to Travel USA.
 
+Sai I just about your situation and have to say that i'm appalled at the way that you were treated.   That is just disturbing to say the least.   The TSA really needs to go.   They haven't don't a single thing to prevent terrorists since their inception.   Since 9/11, there have been over 50 "cases" (Note, I am using quotes around cases, because a large number of those cases have been SETUP and then thwarted by the FBI, and therefore shouldn't be in the list.), 2 of which have actually made it on planes to be thwarted by the passengers, and not a single catch by the TSA.   They have done nothing but harass law abiding US citizens, and continually violate the rights of American's on a daily basis, and maintained a MASSIVE double standard to how they treat people.   Try to do a pat down on someone on the street....you will be arrested and thrown in jail, but it's ok for the TSA agent to do that to you just so you can fly?   And to take it even a step further, the TSA agent can pat you down, but you will be arrested if you do the same to the TSA agent IN THE AIRPORT.   That is the very definition of a double standard if you ask me.

The ACLU is about useless nowadays.   They no longer can about the rights or civil liberties of the American people.  They just deal with cases that they know they can win and don't bother to stand up for the American civil liberties as they should.

I really hope that you find some retribution in this situation.   You have my condolences with your situation with them.

And to all the individuals that think what TSA is doing is ok, You all need to spend some time reading the constitution and the bill of rights that our country was founded on.  Millions of American's have died in support of their oath to "Support and defend the constitution", and even if you don't agree with those documents, you have to respect them and the people that died to protect the rights given by those documents.
 
+Sai My experience is pretty run-of-the-mill - just getting groped when I used to have to travel for work.  I was shocked the first time I went through a metal detector (after 9/11) and, despite not having even set the detector off, the screener told me I had to remove my suit jacket and then she had to place her hands on me and feel around my waist.  I asked what law authorized her to touch me and what possible need there was for her to touch me, and she said, "Al Qaeda".  I asked for a supervisor and got the same answer. I was traveling home to Alaska from Albuquerque, so "not flying" was not an option; there was no discussing anything with them, and I had to put up with it.  I was incensed.  I later had a screener put her hands on my breasts; this was also years ago back when we all found out the hard way that women's bras with wires along the bottom set off the metal detectors. Then I lost an expensive shoe from a bag the TSA had searched outside my presence.  It took a year of forms and correspondence and intervention from my now-deceased US Senator (Ted Stevens) before I finally got reimbursed for a new pair of shoes.  They also broke my computer in another bag search, but I did not have the energy to fight for reimbursement that time.  I just quit flying except for essential trips to avoid TSA as they have continued to grow worse and worse, but really, just the fact that these baggage screeeners suddenly started placing their hands on our bodies, ANYWHERE, let alone sensitive areas, is enough for me to fight them for the rest of my life, if needed. Now I'm semi-retired; refuse to go through any TSA checkpoint ever, for any reason, and have become an activist to replace the TSA with something that is Constitutional, cost-effective and based on common sense, none of which apply to the current model.  Other than Sen. Stevens intervening specifically for the 'shoe', I  have not been successful in getting Alaska's Congressional delegation to act.  Senator Murkowski is somewhat sympathetic. Congressman Young sponsored the act that created the TSA, although he has made noises about regretting it.  Our other Senator, Begich, is a TSA apologist.  Keep fighting, join all the organizations that are doing the same, and don't give up.  Even if I knew for an absolute fact that I'd never win this fight, I'd fight anyway.  The minute I started fighting back in the form of letters, protests, organizing a group, speaking out... I felt better than when I was just complaining and wringing my hands but doing nothing.  No matter what happens, I can at least say I tried, and that I refused to give into this assault.
 
+Diane Schenker I don't know that I have the energy for the more fundamental fight you describe, though I agree with it. At least for what I'm describing, they're violating their own policies and what the courts have previously said are the boundaries of what they're allowed to do.

Fighting over what those boundaries ought to be is another thing. I think they're too broad currently, but I also can't really do anything about it myself. I think pursuing the more limited issue here, where I'm on stronger legal grounds, will at least help.
 
Did the agencies who declined to take your case say why?
 
No; it was only TSA that I dealt with. Once I got the on-line form to fill
out for reimbursement by TSA, I just waited and waited and they would not
respond to my requests for a status report at all. I think I got one form
letter at first, but it was ridiculous to have it drag on for a year. It
turned out, according to what I later learned, that during the first year
TSA was in operation, TSA and the airlines were fighting a big battle about
who would have to pay for all the lost/stolen/damaged property, since now
they both touch it after we check it. All claims were in limbo for nearly a
full year while they battled on this issue. TSA eventually lost and is the
one that has to pay reimbursement now, since there's really no way of
knowing if it is them or an airlines employee who is responsible. I think
it is one of the reasons airlines do not object to TSA. It lowers their
liability in many ways, and you can tell by the way they designed seats,
schedules, and meals that they never really felt like they needed to worry
about our feelings, anyway, so our ire at TSA means nothing to them. I
suspect the airlines would fight any move to get rid of TSA.
 
I carry two passports: one current one, and another voided one with current visas on it. Duh, TSA, how stupid can you be?
 
+Russell Nelson TSA ≠ Customs. They have no training in anything visa related, nor do they have any jurisdiction to check such things.
 
+Richard Finne You seem like a nice fellow, I hate to eviscerate your argument, but when you say Go Greyhound, they don't give a shit what you carry, do you realize that the TSA is already searching T passengers in Boston, and is working towards "securing" all transportation, including buses, trains, automobiles, and for fuck's sake, probably walking, too?
 
+Sai No, I know that. I'm just pointing out that it's INCREDIBLY stupid for the TSA to object to someone carrying any NUMBER of voided passports. There is no conceivable reason (other than abject stupidity and a lack of training) why they would think there is a problem with carrying a voided passport with you.
 
I saw this post linked by a G+ friend of mine, and I clicked on it thinking, "This should be an interesting read; another crazy who can't wrap his head around the realities of a post-9/11 world." (No offense intended; just my initial, raw thought.) I have to say I'm very surprised at your experience, and more than a little outraged. In the spirit of "innocent until proven guilty" I'll withhold my full vitriol for the TSA agents in question, but if what you allege is true then this is an egregious violation.

They say absolute power corrupts absolutely, but it's less often said (and more often true) that even a little power can corrupt as far as it can reach. I think that's where we're at with TSA. We have people whose job it is to try to find weapons, but they're acting like detectives in a county jail. Only sans the training of a Sheriff's Deputy and sans the "inmate" status of those being searched. I've seen this before when working insurance liability when I'd get police reports from some rookie cop who decided he'd be investigator, judge, and jury in his report (instead of simply stating the facts). People often think that a position equals expertise, even when they have no real claim to said expertise.

As for TSA keeping us safe, I wish that were the case. I think we need a TSA-like entity in our post-9/11 world, and anyone who thinks otherwise is naive. But I don't think TSA is doing the job. Let me relate a quick anecdote. A friend of mine was flying commercial to Kosovo years back as part of the Army Cavalry. He carried his M-16 with him as well as some other goodies, which were all allowed as they were part of his assigned outfit. However, the TSA agent took away his personal nail clipper as it was a "prohibited item." If that doesn't tell you the problem with the approach the agency is taking to their duty, I don't know what will.
 
+Skipper Kagamaster No offense taken. FWIW, I tried to be neutral in the statement of facts, including parts of it that are potentially against my interest if I wanted to tell a purely onesided story. (Of course, my arguments based on those facts are anything but neutral.)

TSA have repeatedly been told by courts that they have no right whatsoever to conduct law enforcement motivated search. This one could most optimistically be described as that (more pessimistically, IMO more accurately, as outright retaliation for either my signing or my opting out).

I've heard the gun vs nailclippers story before. Sure it was your friend? I can't tell if it's apocryphal or frequent.
 
This story needs to go on CNN!
 
Personal friend of mine had it happen to him. With the number of troops we've sent overseas via commercial flights and the tenor of the TSA employees, I doubt very much it was an isolated incident.
 
Received FOIA response from Massport: http://goo.gl/qrr4d
My counter-response: http://goo.gl/LyF4p

I'll follow up with administrative appeal (and then lawsuit) once this part plays through.

Something that would help: I know that on at least one occasion before, the TSA has released checkpoint video. Can someone please find any/all citations of this they can find — the more official the better? (That is, other than the videos posted at youtube.com/tsa, which I cited in my counter-response.)
 
Also, responded by phone to the TSA's FOIA/PA response received by mail, which claimed that my letter failed to meet the identification requirements of the Privacy Act. (In fact, it does meet all such requirements to the letter.)

Will see what update there is from them.
 
Just got an email from the TSA FOIA/PA handler.

"Thank you very much for your voicemail message regarding your FOIA request. Regarding the Privacy Act authorization, you are correct - your initial request does meet the necessary criteria. You do not need to submit an additional statement."

Ha.
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