Reverse Incrementalism: Beating TSA at its Own Game

Discussion in 'Aviation Passenger Security in the USA' started by Mike, Jun 22, 2011.

  1. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    This is the promised followup to my earlier response in a different location:

    First, let me emphasize all participation in this thread must be constructive. Any posts that don't help us meet our objectives or explain why other objectives/approaches are better will be moved to a parallel thread, sort of a poor moderator's version of "Tachy goes to Coventry".

    1. The best use of our resources is motivating & influencing media coverage to achieve targeted objectives. We need to make the media do our work for us by packaging and communicating our knowledge and experience to them. I would suggest that we focus our near-term objectives on four areas:

    a. Education -- getting media outlets to educate the consumers​

    b. Eliminate VIPR -- this is the most egregious expansion of TSA activity and the most visible​

    c. Push for local/private screeners at airports that want them. This has the long-term effect of reducing the size of TSA's internal constituency.​

    d. Liaison and support for related activities by ACLU, EPIC, etc. Also w/ VIPR operations apparently now targeting Hispanics, we should reach out to them as well.​

    A couple examples:

    1. In the education area, Bill Fisher compiled an excellent list of TSA disgraces over a 6 month period (Dec 2010 - May 2011). Before this excellent compilation is stale, we should summarize these Six Months of Infamy & convey them to contacts at every major media outlet in the country

    2. Individual VIPR operations are becoming old news but the screwups are accumulating, e.g. these three recent events:

    a. Savannah, GA, where they searched people leaving the station
    b. San Diego, CA, where three children ended up deported to Tijuana without benefit of legal or parental assistance
    c. Des Moines, IA, where they clearly were harassing Hispanics at the bus station.

    Compiling and publicizing their track record will accomplish more than news coverage of individual episodes, which are usually buried by the next day.

    To get started:

    1. I would solicit volunteers to help compile the lists of media contacts (political & travel editors, starting with the media outlets from the largest markets down).

    2. It would also help if someone could develop a summary of the Six Months of Infamy in press release format.

    3. We need a volunteer to maintain a stickied "hot list" thread of important people to contact at any point in time -- might be Texan policians today, Congressional committee members tomorrow.

    Thank you.
    AngryMiller likes this.
  2. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

  3. FetePerfection

    FetePerfection Founding Member Coach

    Since 40% of my business involves research, I'll volunteer to compile media contacts - both political and travel. Where would you like it?
  4. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    Out of sight somewhere since it will involve email address. I'll create a place for it this evening & send you the resources I was thinking of starting with.
  5. FetePerfection

    FetePerfection Founding Member Coach

    How about a safe deposit box at my bank? :)
  6. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    Only if I get a key! :D

    Since we have some very nice forum software at our disposal, a restricted-access forum where spammers can't harvest the email addresses en masse will work. Given my :td: track record in setting up access (I locked myself out of "Posting Policies" for a week :( ), it'll just be a child-forum underneath the one where we do the site planning.
  7. lkkinetic

    lkkinetic Original Member

    I noted this exchange on Twitter this morning:

    richardengelnbc richard engel

    Didn't realize how intrusive airport security has become in US, was angry, embarrassed. complained to the TSA rep this has gone too far.

    acarvin Andy Carvin

    @richardengelnbc I got yelled at by TSA staffer for using their Purell dispenser. "Did I tell you you could use that?!?" they barked.
    Richard Engel is an NBC reporter, and thus a good contact to remember as someone in the media who has experienced the TSA's invasiveness first-hand.
  8. Doober

    Doober Original Member

    I wonder if an invite to him to come see what we are about would be productive..........I'm not on Twitter, otherwise I'd do it.
  9. Fisher1949

    Fisher1949 Original Member Coach

    Great idea Mike!

    I'll gladly pitch in but won't be of much help on the software side. I do have some other information that I can contribute including dozens of responses from Members of Congress (sorted by Opponents and Apologists) and writers/celebrities sympathetic to our cause.

    As you have mentioned here before, there is a ton of anti-TSA traffic on Twitter. If you Google TSA and select Latest in the time frame it is usually 99% Twitter feeds. If we could reply with the 6 Months (soon to be seven) of Infamy link to those Tweets that would help spread the word. Facebook is another obvious resource.

    Most of us use aliases/ alias email addresses and I also use a German VPN (Cyber Ghost) to throw off the IP when I don't want to be tracked. If TSA tracks an alias email to an IP in Frankfurt that should add another layer of protection from ending up on the NFL.
    AngryMiller likes this.
  10. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    I plan to make a dent in this over the 3-day weekend.

    Another area I'd like to focus on is pubic health: Gloves and swabs should not be moving from person to person, especially now that they are being run through people's hair & stuck in the their pants. I'd like to push public health departments to take some action.

    1c (private screeners) is back on the table now but with a new twist -- an extra-legal requirement that applicants demonstrate how private screeners will provide “a clear and substantial advantage to TSA's security operations.”
    AngryMiller likes this.
  11. AngryMiller

    AngryMiller Original Member

    The gloves thing is easy to overlook and to believe the TSOs when they say that they've changed them. Got to stick by our guns on that one.

    The "clear and substantial advantage...." Easy. Figure out how foreign countries manage to do it while being on the lookout for real terrorists and have substantially fewer incidents with passengers.
  12. Fisher1949

    Fisher1949 Original Member Coach

    I spent many hours in the last few days posting comments on the diaper story and noticed, as I'm sure other here did too, that there are thousands of folks who despise TSA. Probably 95%+ were negative with a few persistent TSA trolls punctuating the strings of complaints. Unfortunately there is nowhere for these folks to go except the blogs/comment pages to voice their concren.

    That said, I've stated elsewhere (Flyer something...........;) that one obstacle has been the lack of a single organization focused on this issue. EPIC is great on the scanners but also involved in a lot of other worthwhile efforts so while this gets some attention they have their hands full. ACLU makes noise but this is too middle of the road for them and all they seem to be interested in is raising money. ACLU hasn't filed one TSA suit that I know of in the past year. The Rutherford Institute is also another great organization, but like EPIC has a lot of irons in the fire. Flyers Rights (Kate Hanni) is fixated on the tarmac rule and promoting the career of Kate Hanni. I appreciate her effort on the tarmac rule but TSA seems to be a distant third on her list. Alex Jones at Prison Planet/Info Wars is probably the most politically active and I sometimes post there as well. I hadn't thought to send him the list of TSA abuses but a link to the list here may be a better venue.

    There have been some other sites that have made a valiant attempt at doing something and perhaps they would make good allies or partners in this effort. I've corresponded with Kathryn at Stop TSA Scanners several times and the folks at We Won't Fly (Jim Babb I think) and TSA Tyranny are also good folks. There are others as well such as US Travel Assn., Homeland Security Theater (which is also funny), Stop the TSA and likely many more.

    Unfortunately most are largely personal efforts and likely stress their operators both time-wise and financially. They aren't in a position to assemble any politically effective following. If there were a central outlet to cross link stories with them it may make everyone more effective and consolidate membership to form a large, politically influential caucus. The FT TS/S site was okay but way too hard to find and primarily the site is mainly focused on the other aspects of flying such as air travel rewards, hotels etc.

    TUG seems to be the best site so far in terms of battling TSA since it has many experienced and knowledgeable members. Anyway, if there is any interest in trying to assemble a consolidated front let me know and I'll make the contacts that I have and ask if they'd be willing to participate in a united front.
  13. lkkinetic

    lkkinetic Original Member

    I would add the broader liberty-oriented work at Reason and Cato to Fisher1949's excellent list. Clearly as long-lived organizations they do not focus solely on TSA issues, but the substantive issues that arise in the TSA context are full-square in the middle of their missions, and they have several writers working on it from a few angles (some intersecting, for example, with Patriot Act and digital privacy concerns, some with police militarization, ...).
  14. Fisher1949

    Fisher1949 Original Member Coach

    I agree. Cato is also an excellent organization confronting a variety of related issues. Like EPIC and TRI, they are focused on protecting Constitutional rights. My thought was that it would be helpful if there were focused single issue (TSA/DHS) organization or consortium that could consolidate complaints and catalog abuses, crimes and failures. This could serve as a resource for organizations like Cato and serve a vehicle to expand public awareness of this issue. When one looks at TSA's collective record since December it becomes obvious thatthis agency has spun out of control.

    Both the ACLU and EPIC websites list a portion of the complaints they've received, which total around 1,000 each. Unfortunately if you Google TSA complaints the only site for lodging these that shows up is the TSA website. The upshot is that most folks won't complain to TSA for fear of retaliation (or they'll be ignored) and don't know where else to go. Even of they do find a site, the complaints get dispersed across a variety of organizations, blogs and websites and dilutes them to the point that they become invisible.

    If there was one site or page that consolidated the complaints and had some position in Google or could be pasted into comments that would help to bring the scope and scale of these abuses to light. I doubt that this would be an easy undertaking which probably explains why no such site exists. If there were such a site or page it some of these organizations may be willing to share these complaints so that they could be listed. This may be a simple as a sticky with links to their TSA complaints pages. That way the page or sticky could be a common portal between passengers and TUG or one of the organization linked in the thread.
    Just some thoughts
  15. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    I could expose them in IFRAMEs as I did here with ACLU's front page. Any number of IRAMEs can be presented on one page, with links at the top to jump to an anchor for each IFRAME.

    However, a page like that would probably be a very weak performer in the search engines. They will index the significant content at the original URLs.

    Let's focus (among other things) on two lists:
    1. What organizations are important enough to add to my list of civil rights links: ?
    2. What databases of complaints should be drawn together somehow on a single page?
    XenForo does not yet have a feature that allows HTML in posts, so a normal post (sticky) is limited to links & can't use IFRAMEs. There is a mod that will provide it, but after reviewing all the discussions about it I decided not to use it. I'll wait for the feature in XF.
  16. Fisher1949

    Fisher1949 Original Member Coach

    EPIC had a portion of the TSA complaints that they got through the FOIA. They also have some that were filed directly with them as does ACLU and TRI. They may be willing to export some or all of these for use by TUG if they are referenced as the original recipient.
  17. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    In theory (never count on DHS/TSA to follow any rules or conventions) anything that they obtained via FOIA should be available online in an FOIA "reading room".
  18. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

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