It seems with bomb threats that the TSA and the Department of Homeland Security has something better to do – harass Bloggers and pump them for information.
Both Christoper Elliot and Steven Frischling have had visits from TSA and DHS “Homeland Security Special Agents”, issuing subpoenas on disclosure of the actual source that these bloggers got their information from.
In the case of Christopher Elliot – the exact wording from his blog is:
“So if I’m reading this correctly, the TSA wants me to tell them who gave me the security directive.
I told Flaherty I’d call my attorney and get back to him.”
With Steven Frischling, the TSA seems to have gone one better, by threatneing to use a criminal search warrant if he did not reveal the name of his source, as well as threatening to get him fired from his job blogging for KLM – and indicated they could get him designated a security risk, which would make it difficult for him to travel and do his job.
In addition, the agents then said they wanted to take an image of his hard drive. Frischling said they had to go to WalMart to buy a hard drive, but when they returned were unable to get it to work. Frischling said the keyboard on his laptop was no longer working after they tried to copy his files. The agents left around 11 pm but came back Wednesday morning and, with Frischling’s consent, seized his laptop, which they promised to return after copying the hard drive, even though the mail was received from a Gmail address, and thus in the cloud.
The TSA confirms it is investigating how this security directive was leaked.
Quote “The Office of Inspection is investigating how the security directive was published by parties who shouldn’t have been privy to the document”
This smacks of heavy handedness of the TSA, and a reaction to the wrong problem – rather than dealing with the leaks internally (of a document that has gone worldwide), it has gone after bloggers who received it in good faith and published it when there was nothing but confusion over what directive was in force at that juncture by what airline.
Coverage on this is growing on web, and I can only urge you to read and support these bloggers who it seems the only thing they have done wrong is to post a document (which Air Canada did in the first play as well as WestJet and JetBlue)
I’ll be monitoring this over the next few weeks – suffice to say more directives will head our way, and hopefully the TSA might learn something about themselves in the meantime.
Sources and References:
Airline Reporter: http://www.airlinereporter.com/?p=2677
Runway Girl: http://www.flightglobal.com/runway-girl/2009/12/paying-a-price-for-setting-the.html
Seattle PI: http://blog.seattlepi.com/aerospace/archives/189547.asp
Upgrade: Travel Better – http://www.upgradetravelbetter.com/2009/12/30/the-chilling-effect-tsa-tries-to-plug-a-leak-by-slapping-travel-bloggers-with-subpoenas/
One Mile at a time: http://boardingarea.com/onemileatatime/2009/12/29/blogger-gets-subpoena-for-posting-security-directive/