Retail commentator Paul Turner Mitchell found the Treasury unable to answer Freedom of Information requests relating to bad debts suffered by HMRC for unpaid PAYE and VAT owed by insolvent retailers, with officials claiming they did not keep such statistics by industry sector.
Undeterred, he instead commissioned corporate health management specialists Company Watch to conduct independent research. Unearthed was the sheer scale of damage inflicted on the UK economy from some of the most high-profile retail collapses of 2012.
All in all, the research shows that the overall losses suffered by trade suppliers, landlords, employees and HMRC on the 20 largest retailers to file for insolvency since the beginning of 2012 totals £1 billion. Within this total lies a £134 million cost to the UK taxpayer. Read more
The Information Daily | 10th April 2013
BBC staff have lost 785 laptops, tablet computers and mobile phones in the past three years, a Freedom of Information request has revealed.
Since 2010, BBC staff have misplaced or had stolen 399 laptops worth £598,500, 347 mobiles worth up to £104,100, and 39 tablets at £58,500, according to the FoI request.
And there has been a marked increase in the number of missing gadgets in the last year, with 350 laptops, mobiles or tablet devices lost or stolen in 2012, compared to 259 in 2011. Read more
Josh Halliday | The Guardian | 10th April 2013
LANDLORDS in the East of England have paid more than £100m in business rates on empty properties in the last financial year, the Taxpayers’ Alliance has revealed.
A Freedom of Information request for figures has showed that £100,978,346 was raised in business rates levied on empty properties in the region from 2011-12.
In East Herts, £1,351,284 was collected in 2009-10, £1,341,216 in 2010-11 and £1,607,146 in 2011-12. In Broxbourne, £912,662 was levied on empty properties in 2009-10, £1,018,597 in 2010-11 and £775,408 in 2011-12. Across Great Britain, more than £1.1bn was paid in empty property rates in 2011-12. Read more
Hertfordshire Mercury Business News | 10th April 2013
The company running the detention centre on Christmas Island has warned the government several times of a high threat of violence. Channel Seven reported on Wednesday that documents they obtained under freedom of information revealed services company Serco sent security intelligence summaries to the immigration department warning the threat of violence at the island’s centre.
Serco warned that tents could be used “as a source of weapons and a target for arson”. It advised the use of tents “as alternative or emergency accommodation should be reconsidered and an alternative sought”.
Three warnings were sent to the department in the latter part of 2012. An immigration spokesman told Seven on Wednesday the tents were still being used. Read more
The Sydney Morning Herald | 10th April 2013
A privacy watchdog has filed a lawsuit contending the Federal Bureau of Investigation has failed to provide requested technical information about a biometric identification database expected to be the largest in the world.
The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), a nonprofit organization based in Washington, alleges the FBI failed to disclose documents after it filed two Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests in September 2012.
EPIC sought information on the FBI’s “Next Generation Identification” program, which will amass biometric information on mostly U.S. citizens from local, state and federal law enforcement agencies, including palm prints and iris scans. New York City’s police department began collecting iris scans in 2010 of people who were arrested. Read more
Jeremy Kirk | IDG News Service | 8th April 2013
Senate Republicans proved there is something to hide by slamming the EPA last week for releasing information on concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) to environmental groups.
Senator David Vitter (R-LA) along with other Senate Republicans on the Environment and Public Works Committee believe that the EPA released too much information about CAFOs, non-sustainable, inhumane big businesses, in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request last year.
The Republican Senators sent a letter to the Acting Administrator of the EPA, Bob Perciasepe, on Thursday, demanding that the EPA brief the Environment and Public Works Committee on the information given to environmental groups. Read more
Alisha Mims | Ring of Fire | 8th April 2013
A global trend of citizens seeking more information than they did in the past from their governments is contributing to growing delays and complaints surrounding freedom of information requests in Canada, federal Treasury Board President Tony Clement said Monday.
In an interview with Postmedia News, Clement said he is introducing some user-friendly changes such as a new Internet application tool, making it easier and faster for Canadians to get information.
“I believe that it will quicken the process for most people and therefore, reduce the number of complaints and reduce the frustration with the system,” said Clement, whose job includes the promotion of an open government. Read more
Mike de Souza | Post Media News | 9th April 2013
Family refused information from French authorities on son’s death
THE family of a North-East man found dead in a foreign country lane have been refused information on the case because it could damage Britain’s relationship with France.
A freedom of information request submitted to the Foreign Office by Julie Sheppard revealed new details regarding the death of her son, 31-year-old Andrew Watt.
However, Foreign Office officials say other information cannot be disclosed because it could prejudice the relationship between the two countries. Read more.
Joe Willis | The Northern Echo | 4th April 2013
USA: Feds’ use of spy tools under scrutiny due to privacy concerns
If the FBI is trying to pinpoint the location of a suspect in your neighborhood, investigators could sweep up information from your mobile device just because you happen to be in proximity to their target. Civil liberties advocates are concerned that the practice is a major invasion of privacy.
The results of a Freedom of Information Act request filed by the Northern California chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the San Francisco Bay Guardian last year sheds new light on the federal government’s use of Stingrays, a surveillance technology that mimics a cellphone tower by automatically connecting with mobile devices in the area where a search is being conducted.
Stingray is a brand name, but the devices are sometimes called Triggerfish, digital analyzers, or cell site emulators. They’re known to technologists as IMSI catchers, meaning they can intercept a user’s International Mobile Subscriber Identity. Read more.
Rebecca Bowe | San Francisco Bay Guardian | 3rd April 2013
Collaborative investigation site Help Me Investigate has compiled data which shows how council spending on the Olympic torch relay breaks down.
Based on FOI requests by Juliet Ferguson and Carol Miers to 100 local councils and police authorities, the responses contain some interesting budget decisions. These include:
• One authority used their torch relay budget to appoint a new member of staff for 18 months
• Two authorities – Aberdeenshire and Lewisham – spent £7,398 of their torch relay budgets on new CCTV cameras
• The biggest spenders were Dover District Council and Bournemouth: both spent over £220,000. But Somerset paid nothing after organisers LOCOG agreed to pay all their costs, previously estimated in the hundreds of thousands
Paul Bradshaw | The Guardian | 6th March 2013
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is briefing smaller app developers on data protection obligations as it and other data protection authorities draft an official “opinion” on how developers should treat consumers’ data.
The ICO’s efforts will concentrate on smaller app development workshops, or even individuals, making sure their products comply with the Data Protection Act and secure full consent of users over how their personal information will be accessed.
This includes potential workshops for start-up firms held at development hubs, such as TechHub in London’s Silicon Roundabout, according to Dr Simon Rice, group manager, technology, at the ICO.
“Getting to people like the ‘bedroom developers’ [smaller developers who often produce apps in their spare time] can be the tricky part,” he says. Read more.
Ronan Shields | Marketing Week | 4th March 2013
Released in response to a freedom of information request, the FBI’s documents cover 11 years of threats against the singer, from 1988 to 1999. But the pages are heavily redacted – in many cases, to the point of incomprehensibility.
Sometimes the redactions are tantalising. In late 1992, an unidentified Chicago lawyer wrote to Houston’s New Jersey-based production company stating that unless the singer paid $100,000 (£66,000), his client planned to “reveal certain details of [Houston's] private life … to several publications”. Later the blackmail amount was boosted even higher, to $250,000 (£165,000). Read more.
Sean Michaels | The Guardian | 5th March 2013
Eleven civil servants at Iain Duncan Smith‘s department for work and pensions have been sacked for using Twitter or Facebook.
The 11 sacked officials are among 116 DWP employees to have faced disciplinary action for blogging and social networking since January 2009, according to figures revealed under the Freedom of Information Act.
Of these 116, 34 were given a final written warning, 35 received a written warning and 36 were reprimanded orally for their use of social media.
The DWP said use of Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites was “completely restricted” for most of its workers. The only employees allowed to use the sites are those who have a “genuine requirement for access”. The department’s official Twitter account is run by the DWP press office. Read more.
Josh Halliday | The Guardian | 9th January 2013
Gawker, a Manhattan-based gossip site, has posted a searchable list of licensed gun owners in New York City, following a move last month by a newspaper in nearby Westchester County to publish a map of pistol permit holders.
The information was obtained from the New York Police Department via a Freedom of Information Law request in 2009, Gawker writer John Cook said Tuesday in a posting on the blog, which is owned by Gawker Media. The 446-page list dates from 2 1/2 years ago and contains names but not addresses.
The move thrusts Gawker into a growing debate over gun control and the privacy rights of firearms owners, sparked by the shooting deaths of 20 children at a Connecticut elementary school on Dec. 14. Read more.
Arizona Daily Star | 10th January 2013
Almost exactly 60 years ago arch-sexist Hugh Hefner launched Playboy magazine.
When it came to choosing the cover girl and first centre-spread there was no contest. It just had to be Marilyn Monroe.
Who else appeared to match the American male dream of a shapely sex bomb who was both pliant, subservient and available?
A dizzy, bubbly blonde with no ideas or opinions of her own – for so many, that was the image they had of Marilyn Monroe.
Just imagine how middle America might have reacted on discovering that its favourite sex icon was a communist.
After much campaigning and many Freedom of Information requests FBI files on Marilyn Monroe that could not be located earlier this year have finally been unearthed and published. Read more.
Peter Frost | Morning Star | 8th January 2013
The figures, obtained following freedom of information requests, have prompted fresh demands for a long-term strategy to tackle Britain’s “hiddencrime.”
Home Office data reveals that more than a million British women a year experience domestic violence, although experts believe the vast majority of incidents remain unreported. Read more.
Mark Townsend | The Guardian | 24th November 2012
A federal appeals court has ruled in favor of the FBI’s decision to redact information from records sought under the Freedom of Information Act by a Tennessee death row inmate.
Inmate Michael Dale Rimmer sued the agency over records relating to an investigation they conducted into the death of a Memphis motel clerk in 1997. Rimmer was convicted and sentenced to death for the murder of the clerk, Ricci Lynn Ellsworth.
After his conviction, he claimed that the FBI investigation produced exculpatory evidence and made a FOIA request. The FBI eventually released 786 pages, but Rimmer disputes redactions made on a majority of the pages. Read more.
Wate | 23rd November 2012
An armed policeman nearly shot off a colleague’s foot during a raid on a murder suspect’s home.
The unnamed officer, who was highly trained, accidentally fired his pistol into the floor seconds before two elite squads stormed the property.
As the bullet hit the ground it splintered, leaving the man’s colleague with shrapnel wounds.
The incident, revealed in a Freedom of Information request, was one of four occasions in the past two years when officers from West Midlands Police mistakenly fired their weapon. Read more.
The Mirror | 25th November 2012
The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa), which oversees expenses payments, has been told it must disclose the receipts handed in by MPs to back up their claims. The ruling by the Information Commissioner is a victory for The Sunday Telegraph, after Ipsa refused to release three receipts we had asked to see.
Graham Smith investigated its refusal and found that the authority had breached the Freedom of Information Act. He gave officials five weeks to hand over the documents or face prosecution for contempt of court. Read more.
Ben Leapman | The Telegraph | 27th October 2012
Scottish Liberal Democrat justice spokesperson Alison McInnes MSP has praised her party’s strong record of action in improving civil liberties and delivering freedom of information legislation in Scotland. Mrs McInnes told Conference delegates that under the SNP government, citizens are seeing their right of access to public information eroded.
In a motion approved by Conference Mrs McInnes raised concern about the SNP Government’s unwillingness to expand freedom of information laws to cover arms length public bodies such as housing associations.
Commenting after the motion was approved, Mrs McInnes MSP said:
“Access to information is important in a free and liberal Scotland to challenge those who wield power. I’m hugely proud of my party for introducing the Freedom of Information Act in 2002, which is now a cornerstone of our modern liberal Scotland. Read more.
ScotLibDems | 27th October 2012
Shameless peers are demanding taxpayers buy them swanky iPads — which could cost up to £380,000.
Lords and ladies — who are often spotted snoozing on the benches — want to follow in the footsteps of MPs who now get the Apple gadgets for free.
Freedom of Information requests revealed the issue was repeatedly raised in responses to a recent House of Lords survey. One peer complained his taxpayer-funded BlackBerry was “awkward”, adding: “Time to go iPad? Read more.
Emily Ashton | The Sun | 27th October 2012
Hundreds of crimes recorded at the University of Hertfordshire shock figures reveal
Rape, robbery and racially aggravated assault are not traditionally part of the three R’s – but all have been reported at The University of Hertfordshire in the past 12 months.
Details of crimes alleged to have been committed at the Hatfield campuses have been released by police – with a hoax bomb threat and drug dealing claims also investigated in the past year.
The Welwyn Hatfield Times obtained details of the offences under the Freedom of Information Act, with 219 crimes probed over the past year, including four sexual offences. Read more.
Ewan Foskett | Welwyn Hatfield Times | 27th October 2012
As often happens, the Federal Bureau of Investigation invoked national security a few years ago to justify withholding certain information from a Freedom of Information Act requester named Deirdre McKiernan Hetzler.
But as rarely happens, a court last month critically assessed the FBI national security claim and ordered the Bureau to release some of the withheld information.
Ms. Hetzler, acting pro se (i.e. without an attorney), had requested records concerning her deceased father, who had once been the subject of an FBI investigation. The FBI provided her with some records but withheld others, stating that they remained classified in order to protect an intelligence activity.
Steven Aftergood | Fas Project on Government Secrecy | 26th October 2012
CPS grovels after leaking IDs of hundreds arrested during student riots
A botched response to a Freedom Of Information Act request could be about to cost the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) dear. Prosecutors have issued grovelling apologies after revealing the identities of over a hundred people who were arrested during the tuition-fee riots but subsequently released without charge.
Back in June, a member of the public asked the CPS under the FOIA to provide figures for costs and resources used in the Metropolitan Police’s Operation Malone – the generic title given to investigations following a series of demonstrations by students against tuition fees in 2010 and 2011.
The requester was bowled over when, instead of the customary refusal or obfuscations, they received a spreadsheet containing the names of 299 demonstrators arrested not just through Malone, but also during the disturbances and later under another operation, code-named Brontide.
Jane Fae Ozimek | The Register | 27th September 2012
Cabinet must release guidance on Prince of Wales’ intervention, say legal experts
Adam Tompkins, professor of public law at Glasgow University, condemned the Cabinet Office’s “absolutely extraordinary” legal challenge to an order that it must release details of rules governing when the Prince is asked to give consent to legislation that might affect the Duchy of Cornwall.
The debate over the issue of Royal involvement in law-making followed the BBC’s apology yesterday after one of its senior correspondents disclosed in a live broadcast that the Queen had expressed frustration at Abu Hamza, the radical cleric, being allowed to remain at large in Britain.
John Kirkhope, a PhD student at Plymouth University, applied to the Cabinet Office under the Freedom of Information Act for a copy of the rules about when the Government should consult the Prince of Wales about new laws.
Sam Marsden | The Telegraph | 26th September
Homeless children in shelters on the rise in NYC but many are turned away
Almost 20,000 children are spending the night in homeless shelters in New York City, according to new data, an increase of 24% since July 2011.
The Coalition for the Homeless, which published the figures, said the number of children in shelters would be even higher were it not for the fact that 65% of homeless families seeking admission to shelters are being turned away.
A freedom of information request by the Coalition for the Homeless found that 19,537 children were in shelters on 23 September – the most recent information available – which it described as “an all-time record high”.
Adan Gabbatt | The Guardian | 26th September
Lebanon: Parliament begins to discuss freedom of information law
Debate began in Parliament Wednesday on a draft law that would empower citizens to request information from all public bodies. The law was drafted in 2009, but had been overlooked in Parliament until new lobbying efforts led West Bekaa MP Robert Ghanem to put the issue on the agenda of the Administration and Justice Committee.
Under the bill anybody would have the right to request data held by public bodies, including judicial courts and private institutions in charge of running public utilities, government-linked corporations and other associations that deal with issues of public interest. There are exceptions for, among other things, information regarding national security and individual privacy.
Emma Gatten | The Daily Star (Lebanon) | 27th September 27th 2012
US calls Assange ‘enemy of state’
THE US military has designated Julian Assange and WikiLeaks as enemies of the United States – the same legal category as the al-Qaeda terrorist network and the Taliban insurgency.
Declassified US Air Force counter-intelligence documents, released under US freedom-of-information laws, reveal that military personnel who contact WikiLeaks or WikiLeaks supporters may be at risk of being charged with “communicating with the enemy”, a military crime that carries a maximum sentence of death.
Philip Dorling | The Sydney Morning Herald | 27 September 2012
Insane Clown Posse Sue FBI Over Gang Listing
Insane Clown Posse have officially sued the FBI for information about what prompted the agency to list the group’s “Juggalo” fans as a gang, according to a statement on the group’s website.
The suit, filed earlier this week, claims the FBI improperly withheld records Insane Clown Posse had requested under the Freedom of Information Act. ICP sought records regarding an investigation that landed the Juggalos in the government’s National Gang Threat Assessment report in 2011. Parts of the report describe Juggalos as a “loosely-organized hybrid gang” and said they “exhibit gang-like behavior and engage in criminal activity and violence.”
Rappers Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope announced in August at the Gathering of the Juggalos that they intended to sue. “We are not a gang!” the group’s statement reads. “We are a family! We come together for our luv of the Insane Clown Posse, Psychopathic Records and our Juggalo pride. Can we take a fuckin’ second to note that Jimmy Buffett’s Parrot Heads, Lady Gaga’s Little Monsters, Justin Bieber’s Beliebers, the Grateful Dead’s Deadheads and many more haven’t been labeled as a gang?”
Rolling Stone | 27th September 2012
Scots’ Freedom of Information rights to become more ‘robust’, says Alex Salmond
FIRST Minister Alex Salmond today said he is ready to beef up Scotland’s Freedom of Information (FOI) laws amid claims that the public’s rights have being “unacceptably eroded.”
• First Minister calls for FOI law to be extended to quangos
• Scottish Government in legal row with Information Commission over EU independence advice
Information Commissioner Rosemary Agnew warned this week that openness and transparency through FOI is now worse in Scotland’s public sector than when the landmark Freedom Information Act was passed 10 years ago.
Scott McNab | The Scotsman | September 20 2012
Badger cull poses risk to public safety, ministers told
Night-time clashes between protesters against England’s imminent badger culland armed farmers pose a clear risk to public safety, ministers have been warned.
The campaign against the cull is set to be the biggest animal rights protest since foxhunting was banned in 2004 and has united the country’s biggest wildlife, countryside and animal welfare groups, hunt saboteurs and anti-vivisection campaigners. More than 57,000 people have signed a petition on the government’s website to stop the cull.
Mary Creagh, the shadow environment secretary, who obtained the police warnings through a freedom of information application, said: “The cull could make the problem worse, it will cost farmers more than they save and the police have expressed their concerns emphatically. We are deeply concerned that the government are ignoring official advice on the practical difficulties of the cull.”
Damien Carringdon, Leo Hickman, and Steven Morris | The Guardian | September 19th 2012
FBI Refuses To Turn Over File of Saudi Hacking Investigation Says File ‘doesn’t exist’
In defiance of the Freedom Of Information Act, the Federal Bureau of Investigation has refused to turn over the file of a six month investigation of Saudi hacking and illegal film distribution in the US.
The FBI claiming the file “doesn’t exist” says it thus cannot comply with the Freedom of Information Act. The request was sent directly to FBI Director Robert Mueller more than three months ago and resent twice.
In fact, a large portion of the file, correspondence with three different FBI Agents working on the investigation, is currently held by journalist Jo Franklin.
US Politics Today | September 19th 2012
Australian Tribunal orders release of log deal details
THE NSW government will be forced for the first time to reveal how much logging companies pay to fell native trees on publicly-owned land after a court ruled it was in the public interest that it do so.
The Administrative Decisions Tribunal found yesterday that Forests NSW must hand over information contained in its wood supply agreements, denied to the environment group the Nature Conservation Council of NSW last year after a freedom of information request.
In a test of the Government Information (Public Access) Act, which has replaced freedom of information laws, the tribunal ruled the information be released.
Saffron Howden | The Sydney Morning Herald | September 21 2012
US Navy Submarine Commander Faked Death to End Affair, Navy Says
A Navy officer has been relieved of his duties as commander of a submarine following the discovery that he faked his own death in order to end an extramarital affair.
Navy Cmdr. Michael Ward II, 43, was dismissed from his post as the commander of the USS Pittsburgh just one week after he took command.
Ward was dismissed when Navy investigators found out that he had sent his 23-year-old girlfriend an email from a fake co-worker claiming that Ward had died, according to a report obtained by the Associated Press through a Freedom of Information Act.
Christina NG | ABC News | September 19th 2012
Lawsuit seeks release of Arctic offshore safety data
A lawsuit filed Aug. 30 in federal court in Anchorage seeks release of testing data that would shed some light on whether an incident similar to the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico could happen offshore in Arctic Alaska.
The concern of plaintiff Rick Steiner, a retired University of Alaska professor and expert in oil spill response, comes as Shell Oil moves closer to its plan to drill up to five exploratory wells on the Alaska Arctic Outer Continental Shelf.
Steiner is also a board member of Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, whose attorneys filed the lawsuit against the federal Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement in Anchorage
Steiner is requesting the actual Shell cap test data under the Freedom of Information Act
Margaret Bauman | The Cordoba Times | September 7th 2012
Asbestos: The deadly material that lurks in 75% of Northern Ireland schools
Thousands of pupils are returning for the new term this week in buildings which contain potentially deadly asbestos.
The dangerous fibres — which can cause serious illness, including lung cancer — are present in 75% of Northern Ireland’s schools’ estate.
The close on 900 schools affected include dozens of nurseries and primaries.
Details of the extent of asbestos presence in schools are contained in papers released by the five education boards following a Freedom of Information request.
Adrian Rutherford | Belfast Telegraph | September 7th 2012
Junk food banned in maintained schools is being sold in academies
A third of academy schools are selling junk food that is banned in maintained schools under regulations introduced to protect children‘s health, a series of freedom of information requests has revealed.
Out of 108 academies that responded to the requests, 29 were selling chocolate and other confectionery, nine admitted selling fizzy drinks and seven sold energy drinks such as Red Bull.
An investigation by Channel 4′s Dispatches found that 37 out of the 108 academies that responded were selling at least one food or drink product that was not permitted before they became academies. Such schools are state-funded but independently run; more than half of secondaries in England are now academy schools, which can opt out of national standards for school meals.
Jeevan Vasagar | The Guardian | September 10th 2012
Pupils pay £3m a year for musical tuition in Scotland
SCOTLAND’S local authorities are raking in almost £3 million a year by charging parents up to £340 for instrumental music lessons.
Figures gathered under the Freedom of Information Act by the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) and due to be presented to Holyrood’s education and culture committee on Tuesday show that councils such as Aberdeen City are making as much as £523,000 a year by forcing cash-strapped families to pay for their children to learn to play musical instruments.
The figures come as Scotland on Sunday’s Let the Children Play campaign for free instrument lessons in schools, backed by percussionist Dame Evelyn Glennie and violinist Nicola Benedetti, has learned that the Scottish Government is reviewing the legality of local authority tuition charges – the full extent of which were revealed in this newspaper last weekend.
Emma Cowing | Scotland on Sunday | September 9th 2012
FBI files reveal new details about informant who armed Black Panthers
Revelations that prominent radical activist Richard Aoki was an FBI informant have prompted angry denials among his supporters, but newly released records confirm Aoki was secretly providing information to agents during the period he gave the Black Panthers guns and firearms training.
The documents from Aoki’s FBI informant file – totaling 221 pages – were released after a court challenge under the Freedom of Information Act and show that Aoki was an informant from 1961 to 1977, with only brief interruptions. The records say that at various points, he provided information that was “unique” and of “extreme value.”
The records chronicle Aoki’s 16-year career as an informant during the time he was a student at Merritt College in Oakland and at UC Berkeley, participating in a series of radical groups, including the Black Panthers, the Asian American Political Alliance and the Third World Liberation Front, a 1969 protest for more ethnic studies that involved the most violent strike to date at UC Berkeley and led then-Gov. Ronald Reagan to declare a state of emergency.
Seth Rosenfeld | California Watch | September 7th 2012
FOIA letters reveal shocking cases of US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) groping
Hundreds of letters of complaint about the TSA’s invasive security procedures released this week under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) include numerous horror stories about TSA screeners directly touching people’s genitals during pat downs.
Following a FOIA request in 2010, the non-profit website Governmentattic.org has released the files after a two year battle with the TSA to make them public.
The letters confirm what prisonplanet.com first reported back in 2010, that the TSA’s new security procedures for “advanced pat downs” include literally touching and in some cases groping the genitals of travelers.