Very interesting, though not surprising…
… apparently a clerk at the 11th Circuit appeals court forgot to file the document under seal, allowing them to find out what was under the redactions… Included in there is the following, apparently quoted from the TSA’s own statements:
“As of mid-2011, terrorist threat groups present in the Homeland are not known to be actively plotting against civil aviation targets or airports; instead, their focus is on fundraising, recruiting, and propagandizing.”
Elsewhere, the TSA appears to admit that “due to hardened cockpit doors and the willingness of passengers to challenge hijackers,” it’s unlikely that there’s much value in terrorists trying to hijack a plane these days (amusingly, that statement is a clear echo of Bruce Schneier’s statement criticizing the TSA’s security theater — suggesting that the TSA flat out knows that airport security is nothing more than such theatrics).
So we’re using tools that bend (or break) the bill of rights under the guise that they’re preventing terrorism. Right.
Amazingly, it appears that the government forced Corbett to redact the revelation that the TSA’s own threat assessments have shown “literally zero evidence that anyone is plotting to blow up an airline leaving from a domestic airport.” Corbett argues that this shows why the searches are not reasonable under the 4th Amendment. Corbett also points out that about the only thing the machines seem useful at catching are illegal drugs — but, as he notes, that’s “irrelevant to aviation security.” Sure, the government may like the fact that it catches illegal drugs with these machines, but the TSA can’t argue it needs the machines for “terrorism” when it knows that’s not true, and then tries to keep them just because it finds some narcotics…
As so often is the case, the war on terror and the war on drugs are not about their stated purposes.