TSA & FLL Airport Admit Lying in FOIA Response, Say They Can

If you’ve been following along for a while, you know that I have a lawsuit against the TSA for unlawfully detaining me at FLL airport after I told them they couldn’t “touch my junk,” in addition to the lawsuit that’s now sitting at the US Supreme Court which hopes to ban the scanners and the groping. After the FLL incident, I requested, via the Freedom of Information Act, the checkpoint videos of the TSA illegally holding me for one hour. I eventually got responses from all parties who could have possibly had the videos saying that no video exists:

This despite signs at the checkpoint that say, “Checkpoint under video surveillance” and at least 14 visible camera domes at the checkpoint. Eventually, the truth came out: Broward County has (or at least had) the videos, but formally lied to me “for security purposes.” Follow this logic: there are signs that say there is video being taken, there are more than a dozen visible camera domes, and every idiot expects they are being video taped while inside an airport, but the TSA and Broward County think that, for security reasons, they can’t admit to having a video of me at their checkpoint.

Or, you know, maybe Broward is lying about that too, since the more likely explanation is that they hid the video evidence of the TSA telling me that I could not leave the security checkpoint when no lawful authority to hold me exists (remember, the TSA screeners are not police officers, and even a police officer needs probable cause to detain you).

So, naturally this violation of the FOIA is a part of my lawsuit, and Broward has now twice asked a judge to dismiss these claims because the TSA and Broward feel that they have the legal right to lie to the public, so long as they think it’s in the interest of security (their first motion was denied for procedural reasons). But, we can’t actually call it a “lie” since that would make them feel bad about their false statements:

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?

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.

Corbett v. TSA – Broward’s Second Motion to Dismiss (.pdf)
Corbett v. TSA – Plaintiff’s Opposition to Broward’s Motion (.pdf)

50 thoughts on “TSA & FLL Airport Admit Lying in FOIA Response, Say They Can

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  1. If TSA presumes the right to irradiate and molest travelers, they will also presume the right to LIE about it.

  2. Thank you Mr Corbett, for fighting this fight, wish more of us could.
    You are a patriot and good man.
    God Bless you.

  3. Do you have a fund started? I would like to donate to it if you have one. Thank you for your patriotism.

  4. Mr. Corbett, where have you been the past 30 years or so? You just figuring out now that the governments are lying about everything? Pull your head out, man! It’s everything they are lying about! Not just the TSA.

  5. Please keep doing what you are doing. I opt out of the body scanners for the manual searches but they are getting progressively worse where they are brushing there hands near you junk. This is not right. If you go through the x-ray scanners they still pat you down once you get through it. Something is very wrong about all this.

  6. Jonathan, There are so many of us who support what you are doing. I admire your determination. Please keep up the good work. 🙂

  7. I just heard they approved the conversion to private screeners for a Florida airport. Good. But we still need to stop the policy of privacy & dignity invasion, as even private screeners need to comply with those TSA rules

  8. I have a similar situation pending with the TSA. Fight them. They are thugs, and they are criminals who have given themselves their own authority to bypass their charters and subvert human freedom.

    It doesn’t surprise me that the TSA wouldn’t operate in good faith and in open light. They haven’t with me, they won’t with you. I recommend reading a small pamphlet called ‘how bureaucrats think http://www.mind-trek.com/articles/t02b.htm, its a very insightful look into how these people think and operate, and even gives some insight as to bypass their logic and operate from the freedom oriented mindset.

    Keep up the good fight.

  9. It’s counter-intuitive for lifetime bureaucrats, but there is something even higher than “TSA directives and federal regulations”: the law. When departmental rules instruct functionaries to defy the law, those rules must change. That’s just fundamental.

  10. God bless you, sir. We need more courageous Americans like you that will stand up to these Assholes that are taking our rights away. I dont know who to be more mad at, the people trying to strip us of our rights, or the lazy half of the population that is allowing it to happen. I sent a small donation and will try to help more if possible, thank you again for your efforts!

  11. all the time i used to read smaller articles or reviews that as well clear their motive,
    and that is also happening with this paragraph which I am reading here.

  12. You got them for failure to disclose and in fact misconduct for failing to disclose Brady material, demonstrable bad faith, and false statements. You got this mang. You got this.

  13. 49 CFR Part 15 (Code of Federal Regulations) does indeed prohibit the release of SSI to those who do not have a need to know. However, regulations are not law; and cannot be used as a shield to conceal wrong doing. Here is the relevant text of the law:

    49 USC 40119
    (b)(3) Nothing in paragraph (1) shall be construed to authorize the designation of information as sensitive security information (as defined in section 15.5 of title 49, Code of Federal Regulations)—
    (A) to conceal a violation of law, inefficiency, or administrative error;
    (B) to prevent embarrassment to a person, organization, or agency;
    (C) to restrain competition; or
    (D) to prevent or delay the release of information that does not require protection in the interest of transportation security, including basic scientific research information not clearly related to transportation security.

    If TSA can lie, then any and all testimony by TSA and others claiming this authority should be excluded; (if they are so worried about disclosing SSI, why are they even in court?) and moreover, any and all convictions against passengers should likewise be reversed.

    Keep fighting the good fight Jon!

    1. It’s worth noting that 49 USC 40119 (b) (2) also says the following:

      “Paragraph (1) of this subsection does not authorize information to be withheld from a committee of Congress authorized to have the information.”

      Note that TSA is not authorized to withhold information from a “committee of Congress authorized to have the information.” and by inference, is authorized to withhold information from everyone else, including the courts.

      For this reason, all evidence and testimony presented by TSA and DHS must be considered suspect, for there is nothing in the law that explicitly forbids them from withholding information from the courts.

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