TSA Blog’s disappearing act

Blogger Bob
Blogger Bob has become a magician!

Yesterday afternoon a new thread appeared on the TSA Blog announcing the public comment period on whole-body imaging (WBI) — the nude scanners — which public comment period we wrote about here. I believe it had a link to the announcement in the Federal Register. I know that two comments had been posted at The TSA Blog post when I first read it.

Then last night when I went back to see if further comments had been allowed, lo and behold, the entire post had disappeared.

So let me get this straight: the TSA is finally, after almost two years, complying with a court order to open a public comment period on the nude body scanners. This public comment period has been publicized. The TSA Blog exists ostensibly to inform the public. Yet after posting a public-informing entry for a few hours, The TSA Blog removes it. Poof!

Perhaps Blogger Bob should consider a new career.

Will The TSA Blog publish a new post on the public comment period? Will it be reworded? Made more palatable to the powers-that-be? Have a new PR spin? Stay tuned.

In the meantime, readers of The TSA Blog have noticed and are piping up. A few comments left at The TSA Blog at another, unrelated post, calling Blogger Bob to task:

Anonymous said…

Where’s the blog post about DHS & TSA accepting public comments about the “AIT” (nude-o-scope) scanners?

April 3, 2013 at 12:19 AM

 

Adrian said…

Is there any plan to announce on this blog that the TSA has finally (more than 18 months after being ordered to by a judge) begun the notice of rulemaking and public comment procedure the law required of the TSA before putting the whole-body imaging devices into service as a primary means of screening?

The notice is in the Federal Register here: https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2013/03/26/2013-07023/passenger-screening-using-advanced-imaging-technology

And one of the ways for the public to provide comments is to fill out this form: http://www.regulations.gov/#!submitComment;D=TSA-2013-0004-0001

This should rate a front-page post soon.

April 3, 2013 at 10:56 AM

 

RB said…

The TSA blog had a short post about the comment period for WBI as ordered by a federal court up on 4/4/13. Where did it go?

April 4, 2013 at 8:50 PM

 

I also added my voice to the chorus:

Susan Richart said…

Where did the thread on the TSA Comment period go, Bob? There were two responses when I read it.

screen shot

April 4, 2013 at 8:13 PM

(Photo courtesy of CNET)

  • Susan Richart
  • Dolt

    I have seen comments on this site (I can’t remember now which specific posts they were on) about the public comment period being highly publicized. I’m not sure I agree with this. In my casual viewing and reading of news I have seen not one single mention of any part of this. I only know about it because I seek out information on TSA news from this site and others. I am convinced that most average people who aren’t information junkies or blog readers just don’t know about this. If they did, I believe they could be too intimidated or feel they are not informed enough to make comments even though they have strong negative opinions of the TSA. I fear that those of us who have left comments will be shrugged off as a small number of minority complainers.

    • TSAisTerrorism

      I’m not going to be able to put my finger on it, so all ya’ll are going to have to take my word for it. At one point TSA was going to start full-scale screening of GA locations, trying to do something akin to what they do at commercial aviation. The private aircraft owner association has a motivated membership base. When the proposed rule came out they submitted something like 3,000 comments. TSA backed down due to a “lack of public support.” They most certainly gauge interest in this way. We’ve already seen them do it on this issue. That’s why I think Dr. Gentry’s recommendation per below is a very smart one.

  • marlio

    TSA is as incompetent as Congress is. They will never stop a terrorist who wants to harms someone or something…They havent yet!!

  • Is it possible to organize a campaign of cutting and pasting people’s comments about the TSA body scanners that have appeared elsewhere, say, in the comments sections of news articles over the past three years into the Regulations.gov form? One could list the submitter names as either Anonymous or just the handle from which the original comment came. The ACLU gathered thousands of comments just in the first two months after don’t-touch-my-junk – shouldn’t those comments be recorded in the TSA’s public notice and comment period?

    • TSAisTerrorism

      That’s a brilliant idea!

      Also, don’t forget that treasure trove of letters that someone was able to get on an FOIA request of something like 200 where every single one of them wrote to TSA and complained that they felt violated.

    • We’re going to be doing lots of posts from now to June 24th on the public comment period. We’re going to repeat talking points and suggestions and links. And periodically I’m going to republish people’s comments from the public docket so that readers can get an idea of the different ways people express themselves.

      In addition, anyone can upload a file to the public docket. Anything that’s too long to fit into your comment you can upload as a file. I’m going to upload the Master List just before the deadline, because you know there will be more abuses to catalogue by then. I’ve already left my public comment, but I’m going to upload the Master List as a separate file.

      The ACLU’s comments can also be uploaded as a file. So can the FOIA complaints that were revealed. Sommer, you did two posts on those FOIA complaints. You could upload them all as a file.

      • Dolt

        These are great ideas. I think it’s a very important and good thing to have the Master List uploaded to the public comments. Thanks for all the extra effort, Lisa!

  • As far as I’m concerned, places like TravelUnderground, Reddit, Facebook etc have already been the places for comments for going on three years now, as well as the comments on countless news stories. TSA just doesn’t want to look for them.

  • Oh Susan, good for you for taking a screen shot! As I was reading your post, I thought to myself, Damn, I hope she took a screen shot…

    This is a lesson to one and all, by the way: Whenever you see something, online, that is the slightest bit vulnerable to being edited or removed completely–particularly when it’s coming from an adversarial, dishonest, and/or power-mongering source–be sure to take a screen shot. You can always dump it in the trash later, but it can often serve as invaluable evidence.

    I’m not sure how to do so with PC’s, but with Mac’s, you just hold down Shift and Command with your left hand and then, with your right hand, tap the number 4. This changes the cursor to a crosshairs symbol. Position it at the upper left corner of the text block or image you want to grab, and hold down your mouse or trackpad with your thumb to drag the crosshairs diagonally to the bottom right corner of the space. Release, and you’ll hear a click-like sound (on older laptops). It will be on your desktop, labeled “Screenshot”. Save As, or Export [I like to change the format to .jpg, so it’s compatible with all upload sites–you can improve the quality, too, by sliding the little bar in the Save As/Export pane to the right. I also like to re-name it so I’ll know what it is, as opposed to having a thousand Screenshots to sort through], and that’s it.

    (Forgive me if you already knew how to do this–I’ve encountered so many people who’ve had their computers for years and not learned how!)

  • TSAisTerrorism

    I don’t mean to belabor a point, but can somebody get on posting a new updated on something? I can’t come back here while that smarmy creep is smirking at me livin’ large on the homepage.

    Can I get an email or something when a post updates so I don’t have to keep looking at the big head jerk?

    • RB

      Why that is the face of TSA. Makes the problem clear doesn’t it?

    • Susan Richart

      I’m with you TSAisTerrorism. My stars he is smarmy with that sneer on this face. Gives me chills.

      • TSAisTerrorism

        He’s a jerk with a smirk, that’s for sure.

        Too bad it has to mar an otherwise very excellent piece. 😉

  • Oh Susan, good for you for taking a screen shot! As I was reading your post, I thought to myself, Damn, I hope she took a screen shot…

    This is a lesson to one and all, by the way: Whenever you see something, online, that is the slightest bit vulnerable to being edited or removed completely–particularly when it’s coming from an adversarial, dishonest, and/or power-mongering source–be sure to take a screen shot. You can always dump it in the trash later, but it can often serve as invaluable evidence.

    I’m not sure how to do so with PC’s, but with Mac’s, you just hold down Shift and Command with your left hand and then, with your right hand, tap the number 4. This changes the cursor to a crosshairs symbol. Position it at the upper left corner of the text block or image you want to grab, and hold down your mouse or trackpad with your thumb to drag the crosshairs diagonally to the bottom right corner of the space. Release, and you’ll hear a click-like sound (on older laptops). It will be on your desktop, labeled “Screenshot”. Save As, or Export [I like to change the format to .jpg, so it’s compatible with all upload sites–you can improve the quality, too, by sliding the little bar in the Save As/Export pane to the right. I also like to re-name it so I’ll know what it is, as opposed to having a thousand Screenshots to sort through], and that’s it.

    (Forgive me if you already knew how to do this–I’ve encountered so many people who’ve had their computers for years and not learned how!)

    • RB

      For the more complicated Windows based machines press the Print Screen button (Print Scrn) to capture the page you want then open a Word Processor document and press Control and the letter V (Ctrl V) to paste the captured screen in a document.

    • On my Mac it’s Command + Shift + 3 rather than 4.

      But anyway, folks can get instructions all over the web. Here’s just one site:

      http://www.take-a-screenshot.org/

    • Susan Richart

      Chromebook’s keyboard allows one to take a screenshot quickly; there’s also an app that one can click on to make a shot.

    • On Windows 7 there’s a nice app called “Snipping Tool” which does pretty much the same thing. You can put the snip right in an email or save it anywhere you wish. It even has some rudimentary tools like a highlighter to call attention to parts of your screenshot.

  • Daisiemae

    Is this picture actually the real Blogger Bob?

    • RB

      Yes.

      • Daisiemae

        God, he’s a creep!

  • RB

    I did leave a post on the now missing TSA Blog piece concerning the comment period for the TSA Electronic Strip Search machines.

    I basically asked how the TSA Strip Search machines comply with a limited Administrative Search restricted to finding Weapons, Explosives, and Incendiaries when the Electronic Strip Searches find Anomalies according to TSA’s description of how the Strip Search machines work.

    I would call a search of “Anomalies” a general search, a search that exceeds the limited Administrative Search doctrine, and a search that violates the Fourth Amendment restrictions against unreasonable searches since it is clearly not a limited search according to TSA’s own description of how Electronic Strip Search Machines function.

    TSA is in violation of its own rules.

    TSA is violating the civil rights of all travelers, and should be prosecuted.

    • Susan Richart

      I wonder if you are on to something there, RB.

      • RB

        I haven’t seen anyone else state the case as I have. Would be interested in a lawyers thoughts on this premise.

    • I have stated this case many times. The whole PROBLEM with ATR is that it does not identify a specific item, unlike:

      – Metal detectors detect metal (they don’t search your body inch-by-inch either)
      – ETDs detect molecules associated with explosives
      – Blood tests identify alcohol WHILE also NOT LOOKING FOR HIV, HEPATITIS, or OTHER ANOMALIES in your blood.

      This is a core issue.

      I strongly suspect if the software could ever identify nearly 100% of the time WHAT the item is on your body or clothing, then the tests would pass a 4th amendment review.

      Right now, they are general searches that find nothing SINCE a second search has to take place.

      And the second search is often a CRIME in all 50 STATES when they coercively touch your genitals and breasts.

      God forbid you are in a wheelchair. The proper search should ALWAYS BE A CRIME.

  • Daisiemae

    What a lowlife! It kills me to know that my taxes go to pay his salary. Geez, that money could provide healthcare for some elderly person or food for some little kid that’s going hungry or how about investing in the education of our young people to keep us competitive with the rest of the world? No. For our money, we get this fool doing his lame song and dance act.

    • Susan Richart

      Not only his salary, Daisiemae, but the entire TSA budget – think what good works those monies could do if used wisely. They’d save far more lives than the TSA will ever “save.”

      • actually the disbanding of this agency and possibly the DHS would likely do wonders toward fixing the deficit.

    • TSAisTerrorism

      Just look at that picture.

      He’s a smarmy jerk with poor fashion sense, a cheap haircut, and a knock-off watch. This is who represents The Homeland.

      That’s all I need to know.

      • Kfred

        Let’s stick with constructive criticism so as not to loose sight of what is really important to us all: Our Rights.

        • kfred

          Damn spellcheck. Sorry.

        • TSAisTerrorism

          I don’t disagree, but really, that was constructive.