Lawsuit may be next as former Libertarian Presidential Candidate Bob Barr’s watchdog LibertyGuard probes TSA, DHS for ‘playing politics with the safety of Americans’ after Thanksgiving security stand-down
January 26, 2011
Former Libertarian Presidential Candidate Bob Barr and the organization he heads,LibertyGuard.org, are determining whether or not to move forward with a lawsuit against TSA after the agency ignored a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request filed in December to release documents regarding a stand-down of airport security during the Thanksgiving Holidays. The deadline for a response to the FOIA was today, January 25.
Joe Seehusen, executive director of LibertyGuard, appeared on the Alex Jones Show today to weigh the organization’s next step in investigating whether TSA’s decision not to use body scanners during one of the busiest traveling period of the year was provably motivated by politics. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and TSA head John Pistole have insisted that the use of invasive body scanners and secondary pat-downs in the nations’ airports are absolutely necessary in order to stave off the imminent threat of terrorism, yet they appeared to back off from controversial airport security measures after groups publicly planned an ‘opt out’ protest targeted for November 24, the day before Thanksgiving.
Use of body scanners did ‘in fact’ stop during the period in question, Seehusen explained. The big question that needs to be probed and proven, he argued, is whether DHS and TSA knowingly played politics with the safety of Americans in doing so. LibertyGuard may grant TSA addition time to respond with the documents they seek, but are prepared with a lawsuit to insist on the matter.
“Considering recent hardline statements made by DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano and TSA Administrator John Pistole, this apparent sudden reversal in the TSA’s direction warrants additional scrutiny,”*reads a statement from Joe Seehussen on the website for Liberty Guard. “We’d like to know if we can expect a policy shift from the TSA or if they were merely attempting to shut down the public outcry regarding their search procedures.”
TSA spokesman Kawika Riley*responded to some of Seehusen’s public statements, boldly denying that any breech in normal screening procedures occurred the day before Thanksgiving. “AIT operations were normal throughout the week,” Riley said, retorting that “Any suggestions to the contrary are not true.”
Yet Seehusen has identified numerous mainstream news reports, including the*NY Times, Gizmodo,*Atlanta Journal-Constitution and*The New Jersey Star-Ledger, which all present a different account. Further, Seehusen has combed through many anecdotal accounts from travelers and bloggers, and the fact that a stand-down occurred at airports across the country seems undeniable.
This reporter, on business for Infowars.com,*traveled through Denver International Airport on November 24, the day in question, and personally witnessed the lack of body scanner usage or of secondary pat-downs. No one in line was even noticeably questioned at all, and strangely, the employees themselves were perceptively nicer than countless other trips I’ve been on all across the nation.
“We’d like to think that the TSA has been listening to citizens concerned,” LibertyGuard chairman*Bob Barr has stated, “However, it’s far more likely the reason was political and we think the public should be made aware of the motivations of our country’s security chiefs.”
The significance of this inquiry involves a double-standard for Homeland Security, who insist on one hand that these extreme and intrusive measures are necessary for the safety of all Americans in the face of imminent terrorism, yet were willing to abandon these security tools when it was concerned with shutting down public criticism and managing its public image. Seehusen commented that DHS and TSA have been “playing fast and loose with our freedom” while at the same time continuing to seek an expansion of power.
“If anyone looks at the aggregate scope of what’s happening [with expanding bureaucracy] it’s alarming,” Seehusen said. “The nature of government [is that] it will go as far as we will let them. I think their mission is to grow, to get bigger, to get richer by way of more budget to them, to hire more staff, to expand their scope… They can always find numerous rationales for that.”
The TSA has recently been forced to settle with passengers who’ve claimed abuse during airport security checkpoints, including a woman from Amarillo, Texas*whose breasts were exposed by ogling and laughing TSA employees. Former Minnesota Governor*Jesse Ventura also just announced a lawsuit against TSA and DHS for groping and other invasive pat-down measures he says amounted to the legal*definition for “sexual abuse” and have caused him to*abandon commercial air travel. Will Ventura’s lawsuit, along with LibertyGuard’s probe,re-ignite the TSA revolt?
Bob Barr, who first filed the FOIA request back in December on behalf of LibertyGuard, is alsoseeking information on reported surveillance of top TSA critics, including Matt Drudge of the top alternative news website DrudgeReport.com, John Tyner, the individual who made news after telling TSA he would sue them if they ‘touched his junk’ and radio host Alex Jones of Infowars.com. The WeWontFly Blog, who were heavily involved in supporting the ‘opt out’ protests in question,*caught visitors originating from a Homeland Security IP address trolling their blogs and leaving repeated nasty and disparaging comments.
“Unless we involve ourselves and decide to stand tall, it’s going to sweep over us,” Seehusen observed. “Our civil liberties will buckle. Our Constitution is certainly threatened,” he added.
Read LibertyGuard’s FOIA request*here (PDF).
Joe Seehusen: TSA Opts Out of the Truth – Alex Jones Tv 1/2
Joe Seehusen: TSA Opts Out of the Truth – Alex Jones Tv 2/2