Disclaimer: This post is intended to show how *I* dealt with a FOIA situation with the federal government, and is not intended as legal advice. I am not an attorney, and I am certainly not your attorney.
I got my first reply to my FOIA request regarding my false arrest and detention in FLL, and noticed my claim number assigned was “TSA11-0859.” This leads me to believe that my request is #859 to the TSA for the year, which suprised me as incredibly small. So, I’d like to share how I filed my request in case you have something you’d like from the TSA and want to see how someone else went about requesting something.
I mailed in the request 3 days after being abused by Transportation Security Manager Alejandro Chamizo. Timing is important — if you wait more than a month, the security camera tapes are probably overwritten.
I received a reply back saying the request was received 16 days after I mailed it, that they might charge me fees, and that I needed to submit an affidavit affirming my identity since some of the records I requested can only be released to the person who is in the records (me).
My reply includes the affidavit (which next time, I would include with the original letter), a note that they received it only 4 days after I sent it according to the post office, and a request to waive the fees, hurry up, and don’t forget anything!
Within the first document, you also get a look at my FTCA claim, which is necessary under most circumstances for suing the federal government (notable exception: constitutional violations). Since I’ll be claiming constitutional violations in addition to other (state-law) claims, I needed the FTCA claim.
Update: A reader claiming to be a TSA employee claims that he has reviewed the list of TSMs at FLL, and that Mr. Chamizo is not on it. For clarity, I was told by a uniformed TSA screener that the man was a TSM, and his clothing and demeanor seemed congruent with that. I will continue to update when I receive new information.
Update 2: Broward County has confirmed for me that Mr. Chamizo is NOT a county employee. Until I see evidence otherwise, I stand by my original statement of TSA TSM (or similar position).