Tuesday, April 23, 2013

HR 1583 Introduced – TSDB Redress Procedures

As I noted earlier, Rep. Clarke (D,NY) introduced HR 1583, the  Fair, Accurate, Secure, and Timely (FAST) Redress Act of 2013. This bill would provide procedures for the appeal and redress for being wrongfully identified as a terrorist threat because of listing on a terrorist watch list. This bill is virtually identical to HR 1007 that was introduced early in the 112th Session and I’ve discussed the provisions in some detail in the link above.

Passenger Screening

The bill adds §469b to 6 USC  Subchapter VII, Part H (again the bill uses the standard convention of adding §890A to the 2002 Homeland Security Act, but I find that convention to be confusing and difficult to track). The bill specifically applies to “individuals who believe they were wrongly delayed or prohibited from boarding a commercial aircraft” but has a vaguely worded coverage that applies to anyone who was “denied a right, benefit, or privilege by the Department” {§469b(a)} when they were inappropriately identified as being on the Terrorist Screening Database (TSDB) list.

The bill also repeals 49 USC §44926 {§2(d)} which currently requires similar procedures to be developed. The requirements for the various TSDB vetting programs run by the TSA are scattered all over the USC and CFR, so consolidating them in one location makes a certain amount of sense. Making the changes piecemeal, however, will just add to the confusion.

Other TSA Security Threat Assessments

As I said according to the ‘General’ provisions of the bill the proposal would seem to apply to other TSA administered threat assessment programs, but the procedures outlined would not be practical for either the Transportation Workers Identification Credential (TWIC) or the Hazardous Material Endorsement (HME) for the State administered commercial driver’s license (CDL) program. Those programs already have a redress process outlined in 49 CFR 1515.5(b) that applies to being misidentified as being on the TSDB, but that procedure is not required by law. It would be helpful if the current bill would provide a legal requirement for that procedure.


The current proposal for the CFATS personnel surety program will require the TSA to conduct the TSDB check for that program. Neither the procedure outlined in this bill nor the §1515.5(b) process will be applicable to that program. That is because the folks at ISCD do not currently plan to deny anyone access to high-risk chemical facilities based upon their appearance on the TSDB. Instead they vaguely plan on initiating a criminal/security investigation of the individual. Presumably, if there is no criminal conduct noted there will be no adverse consequence to be appealed. Of course that completely discounts the possibility of an inappropriately identified individual being prematurely arrested and then released when not convicted by a court of law.

Moving Forward

This bill was introduced about this point in the 112th Congress and never saw any discussion in committee, much less making it to a committee mark-up or floor vote. Since there is already a redress process in place (regardless of its adequacy or lack thereof) it is unlikely that this bill will be considered in committee; Congress usually works on an ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it policy’.

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