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TSA Subpoenas Bloggers Over New Security Directive 379

Hugh Pickens writes "The NY Times reports that TSA special agents have served subpoenas to travel bloggers Steve Frischling and Chris Elliott demanding that they reveal who leaked a TSA directive outlining new screening measures that went into effect the same day as the Detroit airliner incident. Frischling said he met with two TSA special agents for about three hours and was forced to hand over his laptop computer after the agents threatened to interfere with his contract to write a blog for KLM Royal Dutch Airlines if he didn't cooperate and provide the name of the person who leaked the memo outlining new security measures that would be apparent to the traveling public. 'It literally showed up in my box,' Frischling told The Associated Press. 'I do not know who it came from.' Frischling says he provided the agents a signed statement to that effect. The leaked directive included measures such as screening at boarding gates, patting down the upper legs and torso, physically inspecting all travelers' belongings, looking carefully at syringes with powders and liquids, requiring that passengers remain in their seats one hour before landing, and disabling all onboard communications systems, including what is provided by the airline. In a December 29 posting on his blog, Elliott said he had told the TSA agents at his house that he would call his lawyer and get back to them."
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TSA Subpoenas Bloggers Over New Security Directive

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  • by wizardforce ( 1005805 ) on Thursday December 31, 2009 @01:51PM (#30607526) Journal

    That was the excuse they used for going after the bloggers; the intent was to discourage anyone else from leaking anything like this again.

  • by pedrop357 ( 681672 ) on Thursday December 31, 2009 @02:12PM (#30607850)

    Secret laws and policies are one of the most offensive concepts to a free society.

    In all actuality, they're just trying to get us to tolerate a much purer police state. In this new kinder, gentler police state, there are no documented rules, thus you have nothing to complain about and no reason to argue-just do as your told.

  • Correction (Score:5, Informative)

    by selan ( 234261 ) on Thursday December 31, 2009 @02:16PM (#30607916) Journal
    This is an Associated Press story published on the New York Times site. The NY Times did not report this.
  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Thursday December 31, 2009 @02:37PM (#30608190) Homepage

    It's not classified information. It's just called "sensitive" information under 49 CFR 1520 []. That's a federal regulation, not a criminal law, and it only applies to persons authorized to receive the information [], not to the general public. If the TSA finds the authorized person who is the source of the leak, they can charge them a civil penalty, but a non-authorized recipient has no obligation to keep the material confidential.

    There are criminal penalties associated with actual classified information, but they don't apply here. Homeland Security has the authority to create classified documents, but then they have to comply with all the requirements of accountability, marking, numbered copies, copying restrictions, approved containers, encrypted transmissions, burn bags, and security clearances. They can't send something to every airline gate agent and baggage handler and call it "classified", because those people aren't cleared for classified information.

  • by Tekfactory ( 937086 ) on Thursday December 31, 2009 @02:57PM (#30608402) Homepage

    Secret laws and policies are one of the most offensive concepts to a free society.

    Transportation related security information is protected under the 1974 Air Transortation Security Act. []

    Its not Top Secret or National Security, and a lot of it is shared with the airlines, regional, state and local authorities.

    Take a breath, not everything is a conspiracy.

  • Re:Fuck George Bush! (Score:3, Informative)

    by j-turkey ( 187775 ) on Thursday December 31, 2009 @03:01PM (#30608436) Homepage

    What are you talking about? Rights are something that are easier to take away than to add...

    I fixed that for you.

  • Re:Fuck George Bush! (Score:4, Informative)

    by copponex ( 13876 ) on Thursday December 31, 2009 @03:38PM (#30608854) Homepage

    How many more freedoms do we have now that Obama is president? Zero.

    Uhh, not so. You now have the right to habeas corpus, even if you're a terrorism suspect []. This is one of the most important individual freedoms that separates democracies from dictatorships. And yes, everyone deserves it, because without this principle, the only thing separating us from fundamentalist religious fanatics is our weaponry. From the order signed by Obama the day he was inaugurated:

    The individuals currently detained at Guantánamo have the constitutional privilege of the writ of habeas corpus. Most of those individuals have filed petitions for a writ of habeas corpus in Federal court challenging the lawfulness of their detention.

    How many freedoms have been taken away? Lets see here... Obama wants to eliminate economic freedom of choice in the health care plan (I should have the right to choose my health care plan, be it an expensive plan, or I also have the right to have no health care)

    You don't have the right to drive without auto insurance in most states. The real fear from the lobbyists generating the massively misinformed hysteria is that we will have the same efficient, mostly socialized systems that they've had in Europe for decades. I know of no country where you are not allowed to pay extra for your own private health insurance, and even on top of the taxes they pay, is probably less per capita than Americans pay.

    Follow me on this thought experiment: an uninsured woman, 55 years old, shows up to a hospital dying of kidney failure from diabetes. In a model where you must have have insurance to receive care, the hospital would have to let her die in the parking lot. In our current model where only emergency services are covered, we spend a few hundred thousand on dialysis, various medications, possibly a transplant, and take up space in the ICU. In a model where all care is covered, she has no incentive to wait to see the doctor, and hopefully they'd catch the problem early and we'd all pay far less for her care.

    So, unless you are really going to allow uninsured car accident victims and the chronically ill to expire in view of a hospital, no one is serious about the first option. So which of the two left should we move to?

    Yeah, because we all know that democrats aren't hostile at all to a free economy, the second amendment, and freedom of expression...

    And this separates them from Republicans in what way?

  • by Rockoon ( 1252108 ) on Thursday December 31, 2009 @03:42PM (#30608926)
    You are missing the point.

    They were trying to keep something a secret, and then someone sworn to keep that secret, leaked it. That is absolutely a cause for concern.
  • Re:government goons (Score:2, Informative)

    by N1EY ( 817702 ) on Thursday December 31, 2009 @04:23PM (#30609350) Homepage
    So, when did McCarthy arrest anyone? Oh and when did McCarthy serve in the House as a Democrat on the HUAC? The committee that you reference was lead by a Democrat. The same party that continues to perpetuate its lies. Morrow was full of it, too. Just as Cronkite has admitted to playing the party lines.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 31, 2009 @06:32PM (#30610556)

    Okay, this will be quick-n-dirty:

    Please explain, logically, how we can determine issues of consent and age

    It's a well known (scientific!) fact that children grow and learn. At some point, they stop growing, and, well, slow down in learning. At that point, they become adults. Children cannot consent. Adults can.

    And then explain, using logic, why it is anyone's business if I have a web footed duck baby because I like porking my sister.

    Pollution of the gene pool is bad. Producing 'tarded kids that will put unnecessary stress on the educational, medical and social systems is bad.

    Then, using science, perhaps you could give some evidence that a web footed duck baby is a necessary consequence of sister-porking.

    The inbreeding is computed as a percentage of chances for two alleles to be identical by descent. This percentage is called "inbreeding coefficient". There are several methods to compute this percentage, the two main ways are the path method[9] [1]

    and the tabular method[10] [2] .[unreliable source?]

    Typical inbreeding percentages are as follows:[dubious – discuss]

            * Father/daughter – mother/son – brother/sister 25%
            * Half-brother/half-sister 12.5%
            * Uncle/niece – aunt/nephew 12.5%
            * Double first cousins 12.5%
            * Half-uncle/niece 6.25%
            * First cousins 6.25%
            * First cousins once removed - half-first cousins 3.125%
            * Second cousins - first cousins twice removed 1.5625%
    (from wikipedia)

  • Re:I still say... (Score:2, Informative)

    by joe_frisch ( 1366229 ) on Thursday December 31, 2009 @07:25PM (#30610908)

    But that's the point. My chances of being on one of those 12 airliners is small - 12 out of something like 10 MILLION flights in the US per year.

    That is like saying that I'd wish there were more effort taken to stop sharks if I were one of the people who was mauled. Sure - but the same is true for lightning, meteors, E-coli infections, and catching rabies from rabid squirrels.

    We have limited resources to apply to a very wide range of ways to die. We should spend them where they will do the most good.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 01, 2010 @05:05AM (#30612998)

    Perhaps that's what the second line of security (at the gate) is for.

I came, I saw, I deleted all your files.