I know, I know: another attack on the TSA. But after reading this, I hope you agree another post was warranted.
Chris Elliot, a travel blogger, Washington Post columnist, and MSNBC contributor asked the TSA to clarify its new screening policies. The TSA did not get back to Elliot. Perhaps in frustration or perhaps performing his duty as a pseudo-journalist, Elliot published the entire new TSA directive (reproduced below) he had obtained from an undisclosed source.
Last night, he got a knock on his door and was served a subpoena asking him to divulge the source of his information.
According to Frishling, federal agents this morning removed his computer for forensics analysis. He says he didn’t see any other recourse than to hand over the equipment. "It was ‘give it to us voluntarily or we will take every computer, blackberry and iPhone out of your house’," Frischling tells RWG.
A couple points. First, did the TSA or the directive itself ever indicate that it was sensitive information that could not be disseminated or reproduced? Sort of. It does say:
AIRCRAFT OPERATOR dissemination required: The aircraft operator must immediately pass the information and directives set forth in this SD to all stations affected, and provide written confirmation to its PSI, indicating that all stations affected have acknowledged receipt of the information and directives set forth in this SD. The aircraft operator must disseminate this information to its senior management personnel, ground security coordinators, and supervisory security personnel at all affected locations. All aircraft operator personnel implementing this SD must be briefed by the aircraft operator on its content and the restrictions governing dissemination. No other dissemination may be made without prior approval of the Assistant Secretary for the Transportation Security Administration. Unauthorized dissemination of this document or information contained herein is prohibited by 49 CFR Part 1520 (see 69 Fed. Reg. 28066 (May 18, 2004). [bolding mine]
But apparently that blurb was not part of the document received by Elliot and Frischling. Frischling claims that he had no reason to believe that the TSA had prohibited the disemenation of the security directive.
Second, are you comfortable with the fact the TSA can shield information that directly affects you under the guise of national security? I am not. And that is why I will continue to harp on the TSA, an organization which I am convinced has given terrorists a victory almost as sweet as murder.
As long as we continue to be complacent in accepting the TSA/DHS power-grab, we will only have ourselves to blame when we wake up one morning to find ourselves queuing like mules in airport security lines, forced to present our "papers" to travel, and face arrest for questioning that the government knows what is best for us. Oh wait…
Due to the recent event on Delta’s flight 253 AMS-DTW, airlines are being asked to use a best faith effort to implement, as soon as possible, the following security items on international flights arriving into the United States. We expect additional information/changes from the TSA to be disseminated within the next 24 hours.
I. BOARDING GATE
A. The aircraft operator or authorized air carrier representative must ensure all passengers are screened at the boarding gate during the boarding process using the following procedures. These procedures are in addition to the screening of all passengers at the screening checkpoint.
* 1. Perform thorough pat-down of all passengers at boarding gate prior to boarding, concentrating on upper legs and torso.
* 2. Physically inspect 100 percent of all passenger accessible property at the boarding gate prior to boarding, with focus on syringes beingtransported along with powders and/or liquids.
* 3. Current restrictions regarding liquids, aerosols, and gels will be strictly adhered to.
* 4. Crewmembers working the flight and those deadheading in uniform are exempt from the above screening measures.
II. IN FLIGHT
A. During flight, the aircraft operator must ensure that the following procedures are followed:
* 1. Passengers must remain in seats beginning 1 hour prior to arrival at destination.
* 2. Passenger access to carry-on baggage is prohibited beginning 1 hour prior to arrival at destination.
* 3. Disable passenger cabin SATCOM capability. Any need for air to ground communication will be coordinated through the flight deck. GPS generated moving maps in the cabin will also be disabled. Attempts to access the moving map display will lock up the screen requiring a Flight Attendant reset to access other components of the IFE program.
* 4. While over U.S. airspace, flight crew may not make any announcement to passengers concerning flight path or position over cities or landmarks.
* 5. Passengers may not conceal their hands under blankets, pillows, or personal belongings held on their lap beginning 1 hour prior to arrival at destination. Pillows and blankets may be stowed under the seat in front or in overhead bins. Customers may retain any reading material issued by the Company and/or a personal book. They may also retain a jacket or sweater as long as their hands are not concealed by the garment.
Please contact your dispatcher or Chief Pilot Office if you have any questions concerning the above items.
Vice President Flight Operations
According to this, airlines are responsible for insuring we are screened a second time before we board the aircraft. Good thing such job duties are part of the AFA contract.