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Wednesday, June 19, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Homeland Security Stiffs Times Reporters

MANHATTAN (CN) - Two New York Times reporters sued the Department of Homeland Security for records on their interrogations at JFK Airport this year.

The DHS claims the records do not exist, though one reporter claims his interview was entered on a computer.

Mac William Bishop and Christopher Chivers sued the Department of Homeland Security in Federal Court.

Both filed FOIA requests for information about their questioning at the airport; both were brushed off.

Both reporters were "subject to segregated questioning by DHS employees at JFK on May 24, 2013, as they prepared to board an international flight for a work assignment as journalists. Subsequently, on June 6, 2013, Mr. Bishop was subjected to further segregated questioning by DHS employees at JFK as he returned to the United States," according to the lawsuit.

The DHS transferred the FOIA requests to Immigration & Customs Enforcement and the Transportation Security Administration, but the reporters haven't heard Word One, they say in the complaint.

Bishop says he appealed the denial, saying "it was 'inconceivable that DHS has no records pertaining to (him)' as [he is] someone who is 'a frequent international traveler.' He pointed out that on June 6, 2013 he had answered questions for DHS employees in a private room at JFK, and those answers were recorded on a computer." (Parentheses, but not brackets, in complaint.)

The TSA not only refused to provide records, it said it had lost Bishop's letter requesting the records. He sent it a copy of the letter through counsel, but that didn't work either.

The reporters want to see the documents.

They are represented by Times staff attorneys David McCraw and D. Victoria Baranetsky.

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