This is what it takes to get answers from the TSA and DHS: you have to sue them. And even then you'll be stonewalled.
Just ask Jonathan Corbett, Aaron Tobey, John Brennan, Jamelynn Steenhoek, Lynsie Murley, Stacey Armato, Tim Rasmussen, Wendy Thomson, Sai, Steve Bierfeldt, or any of the thousands of other people who've been abused at checkpoints.
Lawsuits are expensive, time-consuming, and soul-sucking. And did I mention expensive? Most people can't afford to sue.
For those who can, to say they face an uphill battle is a laughable understatement.
Even when powerful organizations such as the ACLU, EPIC, and EFF sue, or just try to find out information, they face enormous hurdles.
So let's add Judicial Watch to the list.
Judicial Watch is suing the TSA, DHS, and the Obama administration for withholding information on the number of sexual abuse complaints brought by travelers against the TSA. This is after Judicial Watch acceded to a request by the TSA to limit the information it sought.
In other words, the TSA stonewalled, Judicial Watch backed off a bit, and the TSA is once again -- predictably -- stonewalling:
Judicial Watch announced today that it filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) seeking "Incident Reports" of alleged sexual misconduct throughout 2013 by Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers at Dulles, Chicago, Denver, Miami, and Los Angeles airports (Judicial Watch v U.S. Department of Homeland Security(No. 1:14-cv-01179)). The lawsuit was filed on July 11, 2014.
It gets better:
The TSA, despite Judicial Watch’s accommodation of its request to narrow our request, did not produce any documents or respond in any other substantive way as required by law. (In a separate Judicial Watch request for “complaints” about TSA security, the agency responded by asking Judicial Watch to define “complaint.”)
You read that right: the TSA asked Judicial Watch to define "complaint."
Keep in mind that no matter what happens, even if Judicial Watch gets the info it's requesting, the complaints it finds will represent only a small fraction of the actual assaults committed by the TSA, because most people don't file formal complaints. Most people tell their stories only to family and friends.
We know from firsthand testimony and firsthand reporting that the crimes the TSA commits against travelers are legion.
Still don't believe me? Then ask that hotbed of radicalism and hyperbole, the GAO:
In August 2013, a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report revealed that misconduct is rampant among TSA officers.
Of course I hope Judicial Watch is successful. But in the end, it still won't matter. Just as the long list of crimes the TSA commits doesn't matter, just as the repeated revelations about the worthless body scanners doesn't matter, just as copious testimony by former and current TSA screeners themselves doesn't matter, just as the thousands of complaints in the public comment period don't matter, just as John Pistole's repeated lies don't matter, just as all the evidence in the world against this agency doesn't matter.
Because facts don't matter. Too many people like their fear and like to lick the authoritarian boot. And too many others are in sync with PsyGuy, who perfectly articulates why Americans are content -- nay, eager -- to be abused to get on a plane:
(Cross-posted at TSA News)"I have long advocated and practiced that I do not care what the TSA does. At some point it will not surprise me if we have to give blood samples at a check point to be cross checked against a DNA profile to insure I am who I am, and I will care no more then than I do now, which is zero. I am happy and content to be a sheeple, my goal is to get from the counter to the gate of the plane with as little hassle and problems, and my experience has been that exercising right is an ineffective and draining use of time, resources and energy. I do not care if the TSA has never stopped a terrorist or even if they have in some way aided terrorism, I don't care. I care about getting on the plane, that is the only thing that matters to me, and anyone in a position to effect that goal needs to be dealt with in the most efficient manner, in this and all cases that means compliance. I do not care about courtesy, humility, or any other such nonsense, i care about getting on the plane. I do not care if I get safety or security or neither, I do not care about my rights, your rights or if the constitution clutches its chest and dies a little more each day, or even if the founding fathers are turning in their grave, I care about getting on the plane."