Department of Homeland Security: Your subpoena “is no longer necessary”

The Department of Homeland Security has withdrawn a subpoena that would have required me to furnish it with all documents related to the Dec. 25 TSA Security Directive published on this Web site.

The move came after I was granted an extension on the government’s request earlier today. I also signaled my intent to challenge the subpoena in federal court next week.

My attorney, Anthony Elia, received the following confirmation from the Department of Homeland Security:
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10 travel blogs you should bookmark in 2010

Which 10 blogs should you bookmark next year?

To answer that question, I consulted my feed reader to find out which travel sites I visit the most often. In the past, I’ve pulled the list out of thin air, but a little methodology never hurts, right?

By the way, I wrote this post before the circus with the Department of Homeland Security started. It’s nice to know that some of these bloggers also read my site.

(Related: Here’s the 2011 list of travel blogs to bookmark and the best new travel blogs of 2011.)

Here they are:
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Full text of my subpoena from the Department of Homeland Security

We had just put the kids in the bathtub when Special Agent Robert Flaherty knocked on my front door with a subpoena. He was very polite, and used “sir” a lot, and he said he just wanted a name: Who sent me the security directive?

I invited Flaherty to sit down in the living room and introduced him to my cats, who seemed to take a liking to him. The kids came by to say hello, too.

“A subpoena?” I asked the special agent. “Is that really necessary?”

“Sir,” he repeated. “You’ve been served.”

Alright, then. I’ve been served. Here’s the full text of the subpoena:
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TSA’s “layered” approach to security and what it means to you

The Transportation Security Administration’s campaign to confuse airline passengers has intensified. After posting a revised statement and Q&A about Northwest Airlines Flight 253 to its Web site yesterday that essentially said nothing, travelers are expressing frustration with the agency that’s supposed to safeguard America’s transportation systems.

“Ridiculous!” says Jean How, a retiree from Holbrook, NY. “Rather than correct the problem, the TSA is simply doing a CYA procedure and instituting the most dumb and irrational procedure anyone has come up with to date.”

The TSA appears to have backed off from its first security directive and is now allowing passengers on inbound international flights to stand up less than an hour before landing (but saying passengers “need to abide by crewmember instruction”), permitting in-flight entertainment devices and other electronics to be turned back on, but also adding additional checkpoints, according to sources who have seen the revised directive.

But that’s not the real story. American travelers are far more concerned about what security precautions will be taken domestically — and there, we have little to go on except the TSA’s vague security-speak. Here’s how it addresses the issue on its site:

TSA has a layered approach to security that allows us to surge resources as needed on a daily basis. We have the ability to quickly implement additional screening measures including explosive detection canine teams, law enforcement officers, gate screening, behavior detection and other measures both seen and unseen. Passengers should not expect to see the same thing at every airport.

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Travel insurance claim denied, denied, denied — oh, never mind!

Here’s a truly strange case, brought to you by the H1N1 virus and our friends at Access America.

You might say Marian Levin’s claim was denied on a technicality. An important technicality that I’ll get to in a moment. But it’s how her problem was resolved that’s even more interesting: Her travel insurance company turned down her claim and a subsequent appeal but then mailed her a check anyway.

All of which goes to show that if you don’t like the first (or second, or third) answer from a travel insurance company, just keep asking.

Levin explains what happened to her:
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What’s new on Elliott: A la carte anarchy, flying in the snow and trouble with resort fees

This is the online version of Elliott’s E-Mail. If this doesn’t display correctly, why not switch subscriptions to my RSS feed or my daily e-mail newsletter?

Want to get upgraded on your next flight? Please visit our underwriter, FirstClassFlyer.com, which helps you fly first class for the price of coach. Get more information.

Burning question: What do you think of the TSA? Got an opinion about the new security measures? What do you think the government should be doing? Please send me with your thoughts, and don’t forget to include your city and occupation.

In this issue. Avoiding a la carte anarchy. Plus, more on the new TSA restrictions and how to get your travel insurance company to say “yes.”

(Note: some of the older posts about the TSA’s new rules have already been revised. I’ll be posting the latest information on my site soon.)

New posts

5 easy ways to avoid a la carte anarchy (MSNBC)

Tips on traveling in bad weather (The Washington Post)

Travel insurance claim denied, denied, denied — oh, never mind!

Vegas hotel + opaque site + resort fee = T-R-O-U-B-L-E

Full text of SD 1544-09-06 authorizing pat-downs, physical inspections

TSA orders pat-down of all passengers during boarding

Two-faced TSA ticks off air travelers: Here’s what you need to know

I canceled my room — where’s my refund?

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