TSA releases excerpts from guidelines for searches

As part of an effort to derail the lawsuit brought by the ACLU on behalf of Steve Bierfeldt — who was detained and interrogated at a TSA checkpoint at the St. Louis airport because he was (a) carrying an (entirely legal) amount of cash that the TSA agents apparently didn’t like, although they admitted that there was any suspicion that he had violated any TSA regulation or posed an threat to aviation, and (b) declined to answer questions about his money unless the TSA told him, which they persistently declined to do, whether he was legally required ot answer their questions — the TSA has filed a public declaration with the court that includes their latest “Management Directive” on searches of travelers.

The directive is the first official TSA document to be made public concerning the limits (if any) and authority (if any) for TSA searches of travelers. It’s part of the information the Identity Project is currently attempting to obtain through a pending request under the  Freedom of Information Act for the TSA’s “Screening Management Standard Operating Procedures” (SOP) as well as “any and all … interpretive or guidance notes, usage instructions, or the like”, such as the Management Directive included in the TSA’s court declaration.  Under FOIA, the TSA’s response to our request is due by this Friday, November 13th, unless they ask for a 10-day extension for special reasons, and we are eager to see the rest of the SOP and the directives interpreting and implementing it.

The “Management Directive” in the declaration filed with the court by the TSA only concerns searches.  It does cover  searches for evidence of identiy, although to avoid categorizing them as “searches” it describes them as “screening for identification media”.  But it’s completely silent regarding interrogations, Miranda warnings, or your right to remain silent.  So it looks like neither Steve Bierfeldt nor the public will get an answer, at least for now, to the question he kept asking the TSA agents who detained and interrogated him: “Am I legally required to answer that question?”

3 Responses to “TSA releases excerpts from guidelines for searches”

  1. Alan Says:

    Who are you?
    Ask God.
    Why are you here?
    Same answer.

    Why is it that I can hop on the city bus, pay my fare and take a seat, while never once having to show “Paperz Pleaze”, but I would have to go through hell trying to get on a plane? Does anyone really believe that 7 morons with box cutters really hijacked 3 planes?

  2. sharonsj Says:

    It wasn’t 7, I thought it was 13. And since they have the phone calls on tape from the passengers describing the hijackings, why do you believe it didn’t happen? And what does any of that have to do with idiots asking possibly illegal questions of some guy with cash in his pocket?

  3. Tizroc Says:

    I believe his point was that it was in the best interests of the current administration to achieve the current level of control and fear. To pursue his blitz for Iraq there is (only) circumstantial evidence to substantiate that not everything is as cut and dry as the government would have you believe.

    Such as the hijackers wearing red bandannas. Since the Koran forbids the color, why would extremists wear it when they are about to die? Green is the usual color of bandanna they would wear. This is just one such piece of inconsistent evidence presented that doesn’t match reality. Of course not everything is going to be cut and dry and inconsistencies are rife everywhere. This is not necessarily my opinion.. I just read a lot.

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