The TSA as a star chamber
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 Gail 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.
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.