Oct 27 2008

Where is “Secure Flight” headed next?

Now that the TSA has released their final rule for the Secure Flight program, which would extend DHS control and surveillance of airline passengers to domestic flights, what happens next (after the final rule is published in the Federal Register, which normally happens within a week or so)?

Under the laws appropriating the funds for TSA and DHS operations, the next step should be review by the Government Accountability Office (GAO).  Section 522 of the Homeland Security Appropriations Act 2005 provides:

None of the funds provided by this or previous appropriations Acts may be obligated for deployment or implementation, on other than a test basis, of the Computer Assisted Passenger Prescreening System (CAPPS II) or Secure Flight or other follow on/successor programs, that the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), or any other Department of Homeland Security component, plans to utilize to screen aviation passengers, until the Government Accountability Office has reported to the Committees on Appropriations of the Senate and the House of Representatives that: [10 specified criteria have been met]. Read More

Oct 27 2008

Charges against an Olympia lawyer who refused to show identification during an anti-war protest at the Port of Tacoma have been dismissed.

The lawyer for Legrand Jones had argued that it’s not a crime to refuse to identify yourself to police. Attorney William Ferrell said police were stopping people without cause during the July protest to gather information and discourage demonstrators. Under state law, it’s not a crime to refuse to identify oneself to police. “The Washington Supreme Court struck down Washington’s former ‘stop and identify’ statute,” Ferrell wrote in court filings. “In doing so, they made the following observation, a detainee’s refusal to disclose his name, address, and other information cannot be the basis of an arrest.”

Ferrell also said the case was important in the context of citizens’ freedom of speech. “Police were stopping people for real or imaginary criminal activities and asking for identification,” he said. “It was a tactic to gather intelligence. “It goes without saying that is has a chilling effect on people’s First Amendment rights and might keep people from going to protests.”

It is unclear whether the city will appeal the ruling.