Dec 07 2010

TSA releases list of SOPs — but says they’re all secret

Eleven months after the deadline for their response set by the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), the TSA has finally responded to our request for the TSA “Standard Operating Procedures” referred to in December 2009 testimony to Congress by TSA Acting Administrator Gale Rossides.

The TSA did give us the list of SOPs (the first time this has been disclosed), but withheld the SOPs themselves in their entirely.  [We have appealed that withholding.]

There are no laws or published regulations defining what the TSA is permitted to do, and what travelers are required to submit to, in the name of TSA “screening”.  As a result, the TSA’s “Standard Operating Procedures” — even though they aren’t binding on either the TSA or travelers — are the most detailed written documentation of what is “supposed” to happen at TSA checkpoints.

We are entitled to know what powers the TSA claims over us, and what rules they claim we have to follow.

If public-spirited leakers have access to any of these documents, we encourage you to make them public, directly or through us, through Wikileaks, or through other investigative reporters:

  • Screening Checkpoint SOP
  • Screening Management SOP
  • Checked Baggage SOP
  • Advanced Imaging Technology (WBI) [listed twice — does this mean that there are 2 such SOPs?]
  • Playbook SOP
  • Colorimetric SOP
  • Stand Off Detection
  • Visible Intermodal Protection and Response
  • Bomb Appraisal Officer
  • SPOT
Dec 07 2010

Phil Mocek’s trial continued to Thursday, December 9th

What is the TSA afraid of? [TSA: Goon squad or Keystone rent-a-cops?]

When the case of State of New Mexico v. Phillip Mocek (misspelled in the court docket as “Moesack”) was called this morning in Bernalillo County Metropolitan Court in Albuquerque, the defense was ready for trial.

But Assistant District Attorney Dan Rislove claimed that he had only just yesterday learned of the existence of additional video evidence, and needed more time to review this video.

Defense attorney Molly Schmidt-Nowara told the court that the prosecution had already been aware of the existence of this video, but agreed to a 2-day delay of the trial until 9 a.m. Thursday morning, December 9th, to allow the prosecutor more time to review the video.

Most of the Albuquerque police and TSA “officers” (not) already identified in the videos and other records released in response to Mr. Mocek’s requests for public records were present in court.

But when (by prior arrangement and with the court’s explicit prior permission) we began photographing those in attendance, the TSA and police became visibly agitated, to the point of apparent near-panic. They got the prosecutor to point out our camera to Judge Kevin Fitzwater. Judge Fitzwater, however, said that he was already aware of our camera and audio recorder and had given us permission to use them as long we didn’t record or photograph members of the jury pool, none of whom were yet in the room.

Meanwhile, the men from the TSA held up manila folders for the remainder of the hearing to hide their faces — already familiar from their own videos and surveillance camera photos — from any photos after our first one reproduced above.  It seems that the intense fear of public scrutiny they showed in going after Mr. Mocek for allegedly trying to take photos at the checkpoint at ABQ continues today, and extends even into a courtroom where the defendant has a Constitutional right to a public trial.

What is the TSA trying to hide?

Stay tuned. We’ll be there when Phil Mocek returns to court in Albuquerque on Thursday morning.

[Update: We’ll be talking about the case with Adam Kokesh on KIVA 1550 AM in ABQ and online from 9-11 p.m. MT tonight.  Video archive of the show.]