FOIA request investigates whether critics of TSA are being listed as domestic extremists
Paul Joseph Watson
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
A Freedom of Information Act request filed by former Congressman Bob Barr seeks to discover whether the Department of Homeland Security has been keeping tabs on the Drudge Report and other prominent media outlets who have spearheaded a nationwide revolt against invasive TSA airport security measures.
The FOIA request, filed by Barr’s Liberty Guard organization (PDF here), demands that the Transportation Security Administration, an agency of the DHS, turn over all information related to “Matt Drudge,” “drudgereport.com,” along with other media personalities and websites that have been at the center of the TSA controversy, including “Alex Jones, “John Tyner” and “prisonplanet.com”.
The request seeks to ascertain whether any of these names have been linked with the term “domestic extremist,” in reference to a reported TSA memo that was leaked last week which, according to Doug Hagmann, “officially addresses those who are opposed to, or engaged in the disruption of the implementation of the enhanced airport screening procedures as ‘domestic extremists’.”
Numerous confirmed memos originating out of federal or state law enforcement agencies, such as the infamous MIAC report, have listed conservatives and libertarians as “domestic extremists” and even potential domestic terrorists for opposing big government and supporting Constitutionally-minded campaigns and causes.
The TSA has made a habit out of intimidating people into acquiescing to their procedures. The organization admitted that the introduction of invasive pat down measures was a ploy to make people choose to go through naked body scanners, while threats of $11,000 fines for people who refused to be sexually molested by TSA workers were also aggressively circulated by the federal agency.
Barr’s attempt to discover whether the federal government is treating critics of the TSA as domestic extremists is key in light of TSA chief John Pistole’s announcement yesterday that all travelers flying in US airspace would be checked against a government watch list before they are given permission to board an aircraft, a system some have likened to Communist-style internal checkpoints.
The notion that Matt Drudge, a constant thorn in the side of ‘Big Sis’ Janet Napolitano, along with other prominent media critics of the TSA, could be the target of DHS surveillance is hardly far fetched considering the fact that Homeland Security was caught recently spying on Tea Party groups as well as State Representative Daryl Metcalfe.
The TSA is turning into an arm of the DHS’ political police force – how long before Matt Drudge, Bob Barr and Alex Jones are put on a list and prevented from flying? Will everyone who opposes being radiated in a naked body scanner or having their kids felt up by TSA goons be put on a list?
Drudge has been at the forefront of a national rebellion against the TSA’s new enhanced pat down procedures which subject travelers, including children, the disabled and the elderly, to humiliating treatment which falls not far short of sexual molestation.
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The Freedom of Information Act request also aims to uncover why the TSA made the decision to “stand down” on its normal security procedures the day before Thanksgiving in what was a blatant public relations ploy to deflate the impact of the national opt out day protest which had been scheduled for the same day.
“We’d like to think that the TSA has been listening to citizens concerned about being given a choice between naked imaging or pat down searches of people’s private parts,” said former Congressman Bob Barr, Liberty Guard’s Chairman. “If this is the indeed the case, we’d like to commend the TSA for applying a bit of common sense to the controversial situation. 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.”
As we highlighted on Monday, according to numerous reports, major airports around the country roped off body scanners and refrained from conducting the more invasive pat downs on national opt out day. Our own reporters, who were flying from Denver International Airport, confirmed that the body scanners were out of use and pat downs were either light or non-existent.
This was later spun by the TSA and the establishment media to claim that the body scanner opt out protest had been a total failure, when in fact that majority of the body scanners were not even in use and millions more had boycotted airports altogether and traveled via clogged highways.
“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,” said Joe Seehussen, President of 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.”
Statement from Alex Jones, one of the individuals named in the FOIA request.
“If the TSA really believes that the terror threat is so imminent that old ladies have to have hands put down their pants, then why did they turn off scanners on the busiest travel day of year?”
“This is right out of the old Soviet Union and then some, the TSA is boldly going where no police state has ever gone before, sticking hands down people’s pants and radiating them, and when the public speaks up about it and the press reports on it they’re labeled extremists and spied on?”
“The TSA needs to be investigated by Congress and grand juries for standing down and removing security on the busiest travel day of year, security that they say is so vital to prevent terror attacks.”
“They didn’t announce they had changed security, then simply lied to everyone while mockingly taunting critics in claiming that the public loved the pat downs and scanners.”
“This is a group of bureaucrats gone wild, Big Sis is developing the TSA as a Gestapo force to be used on the streets of America, trained to humiliate Americans on highways, at shopping malls, sporting events and any other public gathering. Regardless of your political persuasion, me must stand up to this tyranny in unison.”
“Now the TSA is talking about putting its critics on lists? How about we put everyone who’s a real American on a list and then we can see who’s not on the list and find out who the real enemies are. Let Matt Drudge and Alex Jones go down in history as being at the top of the list when it comes to opposing sticking hands down children’s pants and groping them.”
Paul Joseph Watson is the editor and writer for Prison Planet.com. He is the author of Order Out Of Chaos. Watson is also a fill-in host for The Alex Jones Show. Watson has been interviewed by many publications and radio shows, including Vanity Fair and Coast to Coast AM, America’s most listened to late night talk show.