White House TSA petition goes dark as it nears the finish line, disappears when the lights come back on

A White House petition about the TSA's screening procedures was 90 percent of the way to completion when Wired ran a story giving it a final push. The White House's petition site went down for unannounced maintenance, and when it came back up, the petition had "expired" -- though the Electronic Privacy Information Center says it still had time left on the clock:

At approximately 11:30 am EDT, the White House removed a petition about the TSA airport screening procedures from the White House "We the People" website. About 22,500 of the 25,000 signatures necessary for a response from the Administration were obtained when the White House unexpectedly cut short the time period for the petition. The site also went down for "maintenance" following an article in Wired that sought support for the campaign.

White House Pulls Down TSA Petition (via /.)

Update: The petition's creator reportedly disputes EPIC's version of the timeline, saying that the petition had run out its time during the outage.


  1. Well, if they thought it could actually change anything they wouldn’t be offering it in the first place.

    1. Nah.  This administration would not deal in Dirty Tricks, well I mean probably not.  They did not have to do anything except let it run its course and than ignore it just like all the other petitions.   You need to differentiate  between PR and listening to the folks.  This admin is so smart that it does not need input from the folks.  

  2. I feel like all this conspiracy theorizing is somewhat unnecessary. Did anyone think that they would change something even if this petition would be fully signed? They haven’t done anything about the other petitions, what makes this one so special? 

    1. It is quite possible that the Wired attention resulted in bringing the petition site to its knees, and since the site is just for publicity purposes rather than any vital function they just deleted the petition getting all the traffic – easiest solution!

  3. As long as they don’t try to cover up that fecal personhood bill that Ryan sponsored, what a shitty bill that was. What? It was fetal personhood? Nevermind.

  4. Cory — the petition was SUPPOSED to expire at 11:30am. EPIC got it wrong. Don’t you think that deserves an update on your part?

    @Jim_Harper Think EPIC thought it should’ve ended at 11:59pm instead of 11:30am. They got confused about time and jumped to conclusions.

  5. I want to believe there’s an ulterior motive, but the sad and more likely truth is that incompetence is far more pervasive and efficiently destructive than maliciousness.

    1. “I want to believe there’s an ulterior motive, but the sad and more likely truth is that [it was] incompetence”

      Neither. It just fell short. Reading comments can sometimes be helpful.

      1. The comment you’re all bent about me not reading is yours, made the same time I made mine and not visible when I typed mine. You could have simply referred to it — “hey, take a look at the comment above yours” — but you opted to wave the Snark Scepter of Douchistan, and still didn’t reference anything. I guess you showed me.

      2. I don’t see any reason to fuss about the time.  The petition was not going anywhere.  It had served its PR function and was no longer needed.

  6. I agree with @hakuin. Start a new one. If only Wired had picked up the story sooner, it probably would have met its signature goal. I signed it once, I’ll sign it again. Vote early, vote often, I always say :)

  7. Come on folks, never attribute to malice what can be explained by incompetence. This sounds all too much like “why is my video stuck at 312 views WHAT’S THE ILLUMINATI HIDING”

  8. C’mon–only the hopelessly stupid believe that they pay any attention whatsoever to these petitions. If you’re looking for Change, don’t expect it from the Change President (Tm)

  9. Eh.  I don’t know if I buy the conspiracy theory, but I frankly don’t care.  Obama has been a terrible disappointment when it comes to transparency and sane security policies.  That doesn’t make me wish that McCain / Palin won, nor would I want Romney / Ryan.  I am fully confident that they can do worse.  It does make me lose a lot of faith in the political system though.

    I don’t have any “hope”.  It is probably a good thing Obama isn’t running on that anymore.  The “I am not as horrible as those two assholes” argument that he is running on, sadly, rings truer and more honest than his first campaign.

  10. ?? I’ve always considered that petition site as more of a gauge for the administration (not of because duh) and a bit of a steam valve for participants. 

    Are there people who thought that a mere 25,000 person petition would necessarily be acted upon by the executive branch of the US Guvmint? Because it got that many sigs? Really?

    C’mon, don’t make me roll up this edition of the Federal Register and smack you with it. Oh, wait, I can’t roll up an edition of the Federal Register cause it’s too fucking thick and I can barely lift it with one arm, do you see what I am saying?

    1. It’s not that they would have acted on it: it’s that they would have *responded* to it. 25k’s their cutoff for when they bother to give you the brush-off, apparently.

  11. I don’t know what everyone’s complaining about. That petition was on public display… in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying ‘Beware of the Leopard’.

  12. I’ve given up on the White House site. It sounded so promising when they started it, and I signed many of the petitions, only to get back lengthy excuses for why they were not going to act on them. 

  13. Okay…gracious goodness…this just cuts it for me.

    I’m voting for Mitt Romney. 

    His people have come to my door, and have approached me in Starbucks, and at the pond where I feed the ducks. The young men are oh-so-dapper in their short-sleeve dress-shirts and ties. Heavens, how do they not SWEAT during this hot summer weather?

    I am blessed by these new friends and thanks to them I no longer frequent coffee houses. RC is now good enough for me.  Their little black box with the wires really seems to be high tech.

    Most importantly, I now know that life is bigger than you, and you are not me!

    There is a higher power, the higher power is Xenu, as passed down from the Golden Holy Scripture to Prophet  Joe when he lived in the New York wilderness. 

    Xenu did what he did as a blessing, sending souls here as chronicled by the Golden Plates – praise be to their Hebrew Seneca guardians. 

  14. Here’s a meta petition that I created, asking for both the reinstatement of the original, as well as what the original was asking..  https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/reinstate-petition-force-tsa-follow-courts-ruling-well-actually-follow-court039s-ruling/0s7qC2DX?utm_source=wh.gov&utm_medium=shorturl&utm_campaign=shorturl

  15. One of the earlier posters nailed it. 25,000 signatures is not a big enough number to panic the US Government into doing anything. On the other hand, some of us have now been sorted as “concerned citizens” because we signed a petition, and “zealots” if we signed a few. Screw you guys, I’m going home.

  16. You want to change the TSA screening proceedures?
    You don’t do it by a petition; you do it by everyone (and that means everyone) not flying one day and shutting down the airline industry.
    When they’re flying empty planes across the country, things will change.

  17. The most transparent administration, evah!

    How can anyone claim to be smart still, yet remain supportive of such blatant malfeasance?

  18. I signed a similar petition on We the People a while ago regarding the TSA. The Administration’s response? A reply from TSA head man John Pistole about how great the TSA is and how bad we need them around.

    This was not a missed opportunity. We the People is just a propaganda machine.

  19. Wow, a lot of conspiracy-theory nutjobs are taking the opportunity to express their hatred of the President, even though he has had very little to do with the TSA policies.   It’s amazing how they want to pin the blame on a sitting president who is in reality stuck with the policies of the previous administration;  and cannot simply change them without a very good rationale.  

    1. Why cant he change TSA policies, he is the president, and TSA does work for him, right.  In this case, unlike many other Obama executive orders, it would actually be legal to make some changes.  As for rationale, how about saying present TSA policies suck, catch no terrorists, and cause more chaos and passenger distress than they are worth.  And why should Obama be stuck with what Bush did, I thought the whole idea of Obama was that he would NOT do what Bush did.  Now you are giving us this completely lame excuse, bush did it, and we cant possibly change anything Bush did, no matter how awful it is.  How long will Obama and his spinners continue to blame Bush for everything, even in a case, like here, where Obama has complete authority to change things, now.  When at long last will this president finally take responsbiility for something.

      1. Hey Rich! 

        What sapient, lucid, coherent comments. Keep hammering those out & keep up the good work bro! 

        1. Thanks, nice to know at least a few people actually read and appreciate this stuff I write.  In my own way, I am trying to spread the truth about how awful obama really is.

  20. The White House just blacked it out until it expired on it own. Convenient. How about we just Change the TSA? We aren’t done being groped and getting cancer from the radiation? Aren’t all your friends companies that make the RAPE scanners rich enough?

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