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FOIA request for rules TSA requires passengers follow at airport checkpoint; advice?

FOIA request for rules TSA requires passengers follow at airport checkpoint; advice?

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Old Dec 5, 09, 11:07 am
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FOIA request for rules TSA requires passengers follow at airport checkpoint; advice?

Some other people and I have repeatedly asked TSA to publish all the rules and regulations they impose on people who wish to cross the security checkpoints they have erected in our airports. This has not yet happened. We're still required to abide by rules we are not allowed to read in order to avoid having our freedom of movement restricted.

So I'm going to use the Freedom of Information Act to request those rules and regulations, then publish them myself. I'd appreciate any suggestions regarding how to word the request. The boilerplate portion can be generated easily using Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press' FOIA Letter Generator, so I'm really only seeking advice on what, specifically, to request from TSA.

Absent suggestions to the contrary, I probably will request "all the rules and regulations that TSA will subject someone to if that person wishes to cross a U.S. Government checkpoint at an airport en route to the gate from which his domestic flight will depart, not including laws that the person is required to abide by outside of the airport checkpoint (i.e., just those rules and regulations that apply specifically at the checkpoint)."

Note that I also have a FOIA request pending for TSA's procedures for searching and interrogating people at airports.
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Old Dec 5, 09, 11:48 am
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Good luck but with TSA's lack of repect for the United States Constitution or law in general doubt you will get anywhere.

Send a copy to all of your Congress reps clearly showing date submitted to TSA, just for the record.
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Old Dec 5, 09, 12:07 pm
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My only criticism is that, if you ask for "all" the regulations, you're (more?) likely to get stonewalled, because there's probably no way for the FOIA processor to know if they've found "all" of the regulations.

Unfortunately, I have no alternative suggestions. It would help if there was an insider who could point you to specific document names and/or numbers, but I'm not sure how likely that is to happen ...
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Old Dec 5, 09, 12:08 pm
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Phil -- I've had a lot of FOIA experience from inside the government at various times in my career. If you can wait a day or two, I will PM you with some details about how to submit your request. I can say one thing right now: Use of the word "all" will get most FOIAs rejected based on the "too broad a request" rule. You need to be as specific as possible. More later via PM.
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Old Dec 5, 09, 12:24 pm
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Originally Posted by pmocek View Post
..... We're still required to abide by rules we are not allowed to read ......
This is interesting. Could you provide an example of a rule that is not published? I like to carry as much of TSA's rules and procedures with me when I travel..just in case.....
Thanks
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Old Dec 5, 09, 1:08 pm
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On further reading I found the link to the 5 pages of the
"May 28,2008 Screening Management SOP"

In the document it mention several times the "Screening Checkpoint SOP"
**Have you also requested that document ?

**Here Is there a link that provides the complete Screening Management SOP of May 28,2008:
S206 Aviation and Transportation Security Screening Services
Solicitation Number: HSTS05-09-R-SPP061
Agency: Department of Homeland Security
See: Amendment 2
Type: Mod/Amendment
Screening Management SOP Redacted.pdf (2,232.74 Kb)
Description: Screening Management Standard Operating Procedure: Redacted Version
Posted Date:
March 3, 2009
Award:
Sep 02, 2009
Last in list of Amendment 3 item is the complete contract!!!
So it looks like they are using the 2008 SOP as guidelines in the Transportation Security Screening Services contract.
THE LINK:
https://www.fbo.gov/index?s=opportun...&cck=1&au=&ck=

Last edited by OnTheAsile; Dec 5, 09 at 1:23 pm
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Old Dec 5, 09, 1:31 pm
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Originally Posted by OnTheAsile View Post
This is interesting. Could you provide an example of a rule that is not published? I like to carry as much of TSA's rules and procedures with me when I travel..just in case.....
Thanks
  • The "Britney Rule" regarding ice. Technically, the web page that says that ice is permitted only applies in the context of medical exemptions; Bob's statements on the TSA Blog seem to imply that ice is always ok.
  • The "expired ID" rule. There have been numerous reports here that a driver's license can be used up to a year after its expiration date; TSA's web page says that IDs must have an expiration date, but say nothing about whether or not expired IDs are valid.

I'm sure there are others, but those are the first two that come to mind ...
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Old Dec 5, 09, 1:37 pm
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While you are at it, ask for information on specifically what can and cannot be included in checked luggaage as thhis seems to be subjective also. Ask for specific regulatory citations.

Thanks and good luck.
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Old Dec 5, 09, 2:18 pm
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Originally Posted by STBCypriot View Post
Ask for specific regulatory citations.
Under my understanding of FOIA law, you cannot force an agency to create a document for you that doesn't already exist. Thus, you can ask for any existing policies or SOP's, but if they don't have regulatory citations in them, then you're out of luck.
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Old Dec 5, 09, 3:31 pm
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Originally Posted by OnTheAsile View Post
This is interesting. Could you provide an example of a rule that is not published? I like to carry as much of TSA's rules and procedures with me when I travel..just in case.....
Thanks
Actually I think that the answer to my question is in the link I supplied for the
complete "Screening Management SOP"
(once I read through the complete document)
The full contract link might also provide some valuable information...
Now have to find the elusive "Screening Checkpoint SOP"
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Old Dec 6, 09, 11:19 am
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Originally Posted by OnTheAsile View Post
Now have to find the elusive "Screening Checkpoint SOP"
Good luck with that one, TSA would be alot more hesitant to release that since it details how to perform procedures... so I'm pretty sure that would go under a pretty intense FOIA review.
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Old Dec 6, 09, 11:29 am
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Originally Posted by FliesWay2Much View Post
Phil -- I've had a lot of FOIA experience from inside the government at various times in my career. If you can wait a day or two, I will PM you with some details about how to submit your request. I can say one thing right now: Use of the word "all" will get most FOIAs rejected based on the "too broad a request" rule. You need to be as specific as possible. More later via PM.
FliesWay2Much is correct. The more you tailor your request, the better your chances. That said, I wouldn't expect much. Francine the Googling lawyer and her subordinates easily ignore the laws that govern our country. The other day I had the opportunity to discuss TSA with a senior DHS person, and asked him when the Department was going to step in and provide some adult leadership, now that TSA had suffered yet another embarrassing court defeat. Specifically, I said, "are you guys going to wait until TSA has been spanked in every District Court in the country before you act?" His response was that unless Napolitano weighs in, probably not. He said lower level DHS personnel have pointed out to TSA management that they aren't exactly building a stellar track record in the courts, and Francine et al simply don't care - they believe they can do just about anything they want in the guise of "protecting" America.
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Old Dec 6, 09, 11:41 am
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Originally Posted by OnTheAsile View Post
On further reading I found the link to the 5 pages of the
"May 28,2008 Screening Management SOP"
Wow, is this the first time this doc has been discovered? I've been following the Travel S/S forum for a while and not seen this yet. There's a lot of good stuff in there (and answers a few questions I had on my own thread a couple weeks back).
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Old Dec 6, 09, 11:48 am
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Originally Posted by halls120 View Post
FliesWay2Much is correct. The more you tailor your request, the better your chances. That said, I wouldn't expect much. Francine the Googling lawyer and her subordinates easily ignore the laws that govern our country. The other day I had the opportunity to discuss TSA with a senior DHS person, and asked him when the Department was going to step in and provide some adult leadership, now that TSA had suffered yet another embarrassing court defeat. Specifically, I said, "are you guys going to wait until TSA has been spanked in every District Court in the country before you act?" His response was that unless Napolitano weighs in, probably not. He said lower level DHS personnel have pointed out to TSA management that they aren't exactly building a stellar track record in the courts, and Francine et al simply don't care - they believe they can do just about anything they want in the guise of "protecting" America.
The ends justifies the means? I really look forward to some senior TSA/DHS managers going to jail because of official misconduct.
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Old Dec 6, 09, 11:57 am
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Originally Posted by OnTheAsile View Post
On further reading I found the link to the 5 pages of the
"May 28,2008 Screening Management SOP"

In the document it mention several times the "Screening Checkpoint SOP"
**Have you also requested that document ?

**Here Is there a link that provides the complete Screening Management SOP of May 28,2008:
S206 Aviation and Transportation Security Screening Services
Solicitation Number: HSTS05-09-R-SPP061
Agency: Department of Homeland Security
See: Amendment 2
Type: Mod/Amendment
Screening Management SOP Redacted.pdf (2,232.74 Kb)
Description: Screening Management Standard Operating Procedure: Redacted Version
Posted Date:
March 3, 2009
Award:
Sep 02, 2009
Last in list of Amendment 3 item is the complete contract!!!
So it looks like they are using the 2008 SOP as guidelines in the Transportation Security Screening Services contract.
THE LINK:
https://www.fbo.gov/index?s=opportun...&cck=1&au=&ck=
You da man!! I bow before your awesome research abilities.

Direct link PDF warning.

I have already saved a copy in case they decide to pull the PDF.
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