About Me

Steven Frischling
Live: HVN
Work: JFK-SFO-CDG-HKG
Contact Me

Steven Frischling, aka: Fish, is globe hopping professional photographer, airline emerging media consultant working with large global airlines and founder of The Travel Strategist. Fish has racked up more than 1,000,000 miles since he started to track his mileage in 2005.

Fish's travel tends to be less than leisurely, including flying from New York to Basrah, Iraq, for six hours; Hong Kong for eight hours, Kuwait City for two hours and traveling around the world in 3.5 days to shoot a series of photo assignments in 4 cities and 4 countries on 3 separate continents.

Fish grew up at the end of New York's JFK International Airport's Runway 4R/22L, which probably explains his enjoyment of watching planes, fly overhead. When not shooting photos or traveling Fish designs camera bags, hones is expertise on airline security and spends his time at home cheering for the Red Sox with his 3 kids 102 yards from the ocean.

So…I Got Detained By The TSA At The Airport Today

This afternoon I was at Hartford’s Bradley International Airport (BDL)  for the arrival of JetBlue’s first flight to the airport (well not counting the diversions they’ve had to the airport in the past).   When I finished gathering the content I needed on JetBlue’s arrival at the airport I proceeded to exit security and look for some images of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) for stories I am writing.

Presently there are no laws or regulations banning the photography of TSA checkpoints from the public areas of the airports. I have written about photography at TSA checkpoints back in April of 2009 here: Photography & TSA Airport Security Checkpoints…Its OK! , with links to actual statements from TSA on their official blog.

While finishing photographing some images of the TSA at the airport a Connecticut State Trooper shouted to me that I needed to stop at the bottom of the escalator and wait for him.   As in all situations with law enforcement, especially in an airport, I stay completely calm and composed, and follow the instructions of the officer.   Failing to obey a police officer’s orders to stop can land anyone in hot water.

Once at the bottom of the escalator at Bradley International Airport’s Terminal A the Connecticut State Trooper, assigned to Troop W, the Troop assigned specifically to the airport, demanded my ID. I asked him if I had done anything illegal … and I was informed that photographing a TSA security checkpoint was illegal, and specifically a ‘Federal Offense.”

I politely (and there has to be a security tape somewhere that shows I was calm at all times) informed the Trooper that the TSA publicly states that photography of checkpoints is legal, with limited restrictions.  I informed the Trooper that I’d be happy to show him the information from the TSA’s website … with that that the Trooper informed me that it was the TSA had requested a Trooper, and he was informed that I was “hiding” and trying to “conceal” my photography of the security area (again, security footage somewhere can show I was in no way hiding or concealing my action). The Trooper went on to say it was the TSA at the airport that let it be known that photography of the checkpoint was illegal and a ‘Federal Offense.’

I asked the Trooper if I was being detained and I was informed that in fact I was being detained and that I was not free to leave the terminal. The Trooper informed me that he was waiting on a representative from the TSA’s Office of Law Enforcement and reiterated that I was in “big trouble.”  Moments later a plain clothes TSA agent, who I had encountered while shooting, but who never identified himself as a TSA agent, approached the Trooper. The TSA agent would not identify himself, or in what capacity he was employed by the TSA  when I enquired… so I was unable to determine if he was a Supervisor in plain clothes or in fact he was from the Office of Law Enforcement.

At this time I began calling the TSA’s Office of Strategic Communications (yes folks … I do keep them on speed dial in my iPhone) and informed them of the situation.

I have previously praised the TSA’s Office of Strategic Communications on this blog, and on Twitter, and will do so again now. The folks in the TSA’s Office of Strategic Communications were immediately attentive to the situation at hand. Calls were returned to me immediately and in fact calls were clearly made to the TSA agent who was handling the situation immediately.

Less than 20 minutes after I was told I was being detained and that I was not free to leave the terminal the TSA agent approached the State Trooper, whispered something in the Trooper’s ear and I was quickly apologized to … with that both the TSA agent and the Trooper quickly leaving me alone.

The key to dealing with any of these situations is to stay calm and polite at all times. If you’ve done nothing wrong, stand your ground.  In my case I have the benefit of not only knowing a few of TSA phone numbers … but also being able to contact a number of people within the TSA who are very familiar with me.

While many would use this incident to complain and cry bloody murder … I am going to go the other way.   I encountered front line security and law enforcement that do not know what the rules are pertaining to photography of TSA security checkpoints.   The TSA has 43,000+ TSA Transportation Security Officers, and approximately 10,000 additional personnel within the agency … rules and regulations regarding photography probably come up pretty rarely. In the scheme of things, photography is a minor issue in relation to everything the TSA handles on a daily basis.

So rather than complain or call for some protest or public out cry … I’d rather use this experience to suggest a furthering an open line of communication with the TSA regarding the education and training of staff regarding what is and is not allowed to occur around a TSA screening checkpoint.   I know I am not the first photographer to encounter problems photographing TSA operations … I am sure I won’t be the last.

Today’s incident for me also underscores the need for some common sense options when approaching people that TSA agents want to speak with. There is no need to put everyone on the defense. When the State Trooper and TSA agent indicated that I had been hiding or attempting to conceal what I was doing I asked them to please describe to me how I was doing being evasive.  I was informed that it was “observed by TSOs.”

To put this in perspective, I was working at all times within 2 to 4 feet of the security boundary. The equipment I was shooting with consisted of two full-size Canon EOS 5D/Mk II bodies with grips, the Canon 16-35f2.8 and primarily the roughly 12″ long Sigma 120-300f2.8, both wrapped in flamingo pink tape … with the rest of my gear being worn on my chest in a Think Tank Photo Skin Kit.   It is quite hard to conceal what you’re doing in an airport with a foot-long lens up to your eye that is wrapped in 2-inch wide flamingo pink tape.

I didn’t argue this point with the TSA agent or Trooper … but this really exemplifies the divide many travelers feel they have with the TSA. The TSA is a massive agency that many see as intrusive and that feeling comes in large part due to a lack of transparency.

An open dialog and an internal culture shift away from the Us-vs-Them mentality can greatly enhance the relationship the TSA has with the public.

Quite honestly reflecting back on what occurred earlier today … I am not surprised I was approached. TSA screeners and law enforcement should be vigilant … but I am shocked I was told that I was being detained and that I was not free to leave the terminal.

So if the TSA wants to chat about ideas for helping further the education of front line security, both TSA agents and the airport based police departments they work with, I’d welcome that opportunity.

There is enough false information regarding TSA policies available in the media and online. Incorrect information, especially regarding “federal offenses” does not need to be perpetuated by direction interaction between the public and those enforcing airport security.

Happy Flying!

60 Responses

  1. The very fact that you were approached as if you committed a federal offence, and that it took you know the ‘super special number’ to get out shows exactly the jack-booted approach the TSA is now taking, and why they must be put into their place.

  2. You’re kidding, right? Because you have someone on speed dial, your ordeal (and I will call it an ordeal) ended quickly but for anyone else in a similar situation without the contacts and phone #s you had, they could very well have to be bailed out of the local jail due to the current idiocy. I note that you continually reference tape you hope exists that would’ve exonerated you from the lies told by the TSOs — I wouldn’t hold my breath.

    It’s the TSA office of strat comm that handled the issue not YOU. You reference that once told they were wrong, they apologized, backed off and went away. That’s great but there was no communication from you to them so where is this openness you think people should pursue? There was not discussion about how the TSOs actually misled the LEO about what you were doing and how. Glad you situation ended well for you and only took up 20 minutes of your time, but it just isn’t like that for regular people and the poorly educated/trained individuals currently running the funny farm :(

  3. And that TSA phone number is?

    So that I can add it to my speed dial.

  4. [...] Today, 11:33 PM Quick Way to Cause A Dust Up So…I Got Detained By The TSA At The Airport Today – Flying With Fish [...]

  5. Yes, do post the number and your contact please.

  6. You heard it here first, so long as you have the right connections feel free to exercise your rights at a TSA check point near you. Of course if you don’t 20 minutes could turn into 4 hours regardless of how polite you are.

  7. Steve, I have to agree with the other commenters. The fact that you have a special phone number which ended the confrontation is great for you, but what are all the other travelers supposed to do when confronted by one of the 53,000 TSA employees and told that they committed an offense? Or that something is required or prohibited that wasn’t yesterday or seems silly? Today I read, on the one hand, of a 3 year old that had an enhanced pat down after she set off the metal detector, and on the other hand that the TSA doesn’t do enhanced pat downs of children under the age of 12. It’s quite likely that TSA policy is not to do them, and that individual TSOs may not follow the policy. How can general travelers ensure fair, reasonable treatment when they find themselves in a situation that seems wrong?

  8. Fish,

    You seem to go out of your way to defend TSA and I don’t begrudge you for that. You also seem to ascribe your brief detention to your good behavior. Let’s be clear here, you were allowed to be un-detained because of your contact at OSC. You were right to be calm but if not for OSC, you would be writing a different story now.

    To me what this incident illustrates is not so much the need, as you propose, for open communications, or more training of TSA staff or calm demeanor, but rather this: BIG GOVERNMENT has created in the TSA a large bureaucracy made up of less-than-bright people and (probably because thereof) are armed with a dangerous gestapo mentality. It’s time Congress takes steps to abolish TSA and return the control of airport security checkpoints to the airports themselves.

  9. Dear Pitch Fork Carriers at large,

    Security is a tight thing these days considering we as a nation are currently at war with a “Splinter Cell” of extremists and terrorists alike. September 11th 2001 happened almost a decade ago but now people seem calm and downright offensive concerning these security matters. Around nine years, two months and a week ago most of you had quite a different tune, if memory serves me correct weren’t around 99% of you fearful terrorist were coming to a mall near you?

    Recently “attempts” have been made to commit acts of terrorism within these borders and due to these REPEATED attempts to endanger and deprive lives of your fellow citizens, very strict security measures have been taken. For without these “silly” and annoying measures some very motivated and very willing “freedom fighter” might just be on YOUR plane when he detonates himself while you’re relieved about how quickly you got on the plane.

    We are a nation of 280,000,000 plus inhabitants and we’re in a very technological age where formalities and suspicions share a common greeting. Now because of the volume of travel Americans as well as tourists embark on daily that makes this task to diffuclt and near impossible to maintain a 50′s-ish salutative persona for most agents.

    Yes some of these laws are quite childish and these is a certain degree of truth in your rantings but I’d rather be waiting at Gate 7G as opposed to the “Pearly Gates” because someone wearing a TSA ID wasn’t being all O.C.D. about interrogating you over whether that nail clipper is necessary during your travels.

    In closing folks, we’re at war and I know that since our foe’s don’t fly a common flag they do in fact share in common their lust nay desire to “strike a blow again Western oppression” by boarding a plane and exploding themselves over “Our Friendly Skies”. Mr. Fish you did the right thing, was it annoying? I’m sure it was. Are you going to seek therapy over this tragic turn of events? I hope not and the same goes for the rest of you.

    Frequent Flyer…or is it Flier? Now I’ll never goto sleep
    Lance

  10. You know, it’s wonderful to see that my tax dollars are at work catching photojournalists.

  11. I’m afraid that this little story is a fable of law enforcement generally, rather than just the TSA. There is a combination of millions of petty and detailed rules, which no one person could possibly memorise, together with a super-aggressive approach to dealing with the public and an “act first, think later” attitude.
    It’s a very difficult situation. The TSA officers on the ground have to be decisive if there is a real or perceived threat – that it priority number one for all our sakes. Most of the staff there are lowly paid and merely follow orders – generally be very aware of anything out of the ordinary. The State Trooper is clearly going to respond immediately to any TSA request. If there is a fault in this is that the senior TSA agent on duty did not, on the face of it, exercise proportionate judgment – for example speaking to you when he first saw you – nor being sensible enough to escalate to a higher authority quickly enough.
    The other worrying thing about this story is your confidence that the local surveillance tapes would exonerate you. There does seem to be a track record of tapes disappearing or being degraded when the defendant needs them which, together with a considerable delay in their being produced in the first instance, could result in the matter not being resolved for weeks or months. Law enforcement rightly takes terrorism related matters very seriously but also wrongly often brushes aside normal civil liberties when dealing with such matters. I hope your optimism is justified: I fear that in many cases it will not be.

  12. @Jason:

    TSA Public Affairs
    (571) 227-2829

    http://www.tsa.gov/contact/index.shtm

    Members of the traveling public who believe that they have been unlawfully discriminated against by a TSA employee may contact the External Compliance Division in the Office of Civil Rights to have their concerns addressed, by sending an E-mail to TSA.OCR -ExternalCompliance@dhs.gov or by calling the Office of Civil Rights.

    The Office of Civil Rights can be reached toll free at 1-877-EEO-4-TSA (1-877-336-4872) or (800) 877-8339 (TTY), or by E-mail at TSA-ContactCenter@dhs.gov

    contact the Ombudsman, phone 1-571-227-2383 or 1-877-266-2837 toll-free.

    E-mail: TSA.Ombudsman@dhs.gov

  13. [...] Yesterday I wrote about being briefly detained by the Connecticut State Police, at the request of th… [...]

  14. Are TSO’s law enforcement? If so, why didn’t they detain you themselves? If not, why is a law enforcement officer taking orders from non-law enforcement officers? Can I order the police officer to detain someone?

    There should be some consequences to enforcing a law that they made up. If it is not illegal to do what you were doing, then there is no other reason for them to think it was unless they just made it up.

  15. Jason,

    The phone number won’t matter. Next time they’ll make up a law that it is illegal to use the phone while you are being detained.

  16. Lance:

    Let’s put things in perspective. Of course terrorism is a threat, but any of us is far more likely to be killed by a hand gun, or a drunk driver, or by a distracted driver than we are by a terrorist.

  17. I was at Kona in early June, and my uncle got in a day after me, so when I went to pick him up I brought my camera. On my way from short term parking to the baggage claim to took a picture of the United 767 he was flying in on. I got a couple of pictures and then some TSSA lady came up and told me I couldn’t be where I was and was not allowed to take pictures. As the pictures show I was 50+ feet from the fence, there were no signs prohibiting me from going there, and this was on the most direct path from the parking to the baggage claim. kziel[dot]com/koa1.JPG and kziel[dot]com/koa2.JPG

  18. Kris

    You were approached by the TSA on the fence line at KOA or State of Hawaii Sheriff’s Division that handles law enforcement at the airport? TSA generally would not get involved in what you are describing as it is outside the scope of their duties and they are not law enforcement.

    Happy Flying!

    -Fish

  19. Yes, I wonder what would have happened without your connections or knowledge of the rules. When the TSA told me I had to stop taking photos back a few months ago, I did because I didn’t know any better. Next time I will stand up for my rights.

    But you are very right. If you ever stand up for our rights, you need to make sure to stay calm and professional. Even if they are wrong, they have a lot of power and things can start going bad very quickly.

    Thanks for sharing,

    David

  20. I was looking at the TSA website to find out which airports have the backscatter screening (and it’s finally updated to include San Diego now that the “junk” guy made his point) and found the following clearly posted.

    I realize the average screener in the blue shirt MIGHT not be aware of this, it’s beyond my understanding why someone in TSA management/suit wouldn’t know about this . . . and to claim that it’s a FEDERAL OFFENSE?

    Q. Is it okay to take pictures or videos inside the airport and at a checkpoint?

    A. TSA does not prohibit photographs at screening locations; however, local laws, state statutes, or local ordinances may. We recommend contacting your local airport authority in advance to ensure you are familiar with their local procedures. While TSA does not prohibit the public, passengers or press from photographing, videotaping, or filming at screening locations, TSA may ask a photographer to stop if they are interfering with the screening process or taking photos of X-ray monitor screens in a checkpoint. The same guidelines apply to media. Members of the press should contact TSA’s Office of Public Affairs, at 571-227-2829, prior to filming or taking photographs at a security checkpoint.

    While there is a difference between taking a casual photo and someone conducting surveillance, travelers should not be surprised if TSA or local law enforcement inquires about their actions. This is important to ensure the safety of the traveling public and something our officers may do as part of their security mission.

  21. Erndog, thanks for copying that here. I was going to look for that info myself on the tsa site.

    So, it’s local mandates that determine the rules. Great. Travelers spend a lot of time in airports where they don’t live. How in the heck is anyone supposed to be able to figure all that out?

    I’m traveling this week with my child and plan to film everything that happens to him. I completely understand not filming xray or scanned images; I will be focused on him and any interactions between him and TSO’s.

    While I agree that being belligerent is inappropriate and can never help a situation like this, I have printed out tsa.gov information regarding what I can take on (fresh fruit from my yard). I figure the TSO’s might not know all the rules and plan to come armed. I’ll print out that Q/A section regarding photography, as well.

  22. Jason from Toronto

    Please tell us what this special phone number is, so that we may know in case we are in the same trouble one day.

    Thank you.

  23. @Lance,

    I believe you may be a tad misguided w/your fear and paranoia. Bruce Schneier, a highly reputed expert in security matters has debunked the current security theater on numerous occasions. Having said that, he recently did a Q&A interview that gets to the point on these issues in a very direct and concise manner, that you may want to review here:

    http://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/military/news/tsa-scans-security-theater-interview?click=pm_latest

    If you’re really worried about the dangers of flying because of a so-called “war” then don’t fly. The choice isn’t to give up our civil liberties that are soldiers are dying for in exchange for the privilege of air travel. That’s not how it works in this country, hence why this issue has done more to bring our country together than any other single event in quite some time. Whether you’re a Tea Partyer or Bleeding Heart Liberal, one thing we can agree on is that being molested or zapped w/cancer causing x-rays is not an acceptable set of choices, especially given that these are false dichotomies. The less people fly and the more they drive, the more deaths we will see on our roadways. Is that what you want? The choices are not binary and simplifying this down to saying we need to tolerate the ridiculousness of the TSA’s approach is not a solution.

    As for @flyingfish, I really appreciate you writing this post, but I must agree w/most of the commenters, we are not all so privileged as to knowing the TSA folks that can change our fate when confronted unfairly and illegally by the police or state troopers.

  24. Jason,

    Read the follow up post on this topic. I posted the phone number I called as well as the number that is more likely to benefit the majority of people who encounter potential problematic encounters along the way.

    Happy Flying!

    -Fish

  25. The law on photography in public places is not some archaic regulation, but well established and well known law. With almost no exceptions, if you can see it in a public place, you can photograph it. Anyone in any branch of law enforcement who doesn’t know that needs to retake all their legal training, because who knows what else they “forgot.”

    TSA officers have no right to make up law. To do so is in fact a violation of law. The actions of the TSA and the local police were under color of law, and an abuse of the law. They acted on their own biases and prejudices instead of being grounded in law. This is in fact a crime. A crime they either knew, or should have known the were committing.

    The TSA agent and the Trooper further compounded their violation of law by stating that you were being furtive, when according to your description, you were being more than obvious. They have no compunctions with regard to lying about what they see, and acting against individuals based on those lies. Such individuals should not be in their line of work.

    If the TSA can not train its members as to what is the law, and what is not the law, then it has no business doing what it is doing. For the safety of all of us. To help protect all of us from the terrorists who hide behind badges, everyone needs to make a big deal out of incidents like this.

  26. These agents/law enforcement officials who detained you could have inquired as to the relevant law before detaining you. If there was a concern that you were leaving the area prior to them finding out the relevant law, they could have stopped and detained you at that point.

    Another incident of someone whose iPhone (camera) was confiscated because he was filming legally at a TSA checkpoint in the open. Notice that the TSA agent finds out the relevant law AFTER confiscating the iPhone.

  27. @Lance: “Around nine years, two months and a week ago most of you had quite a different tune, if memory serves me correct weren’t around 99% of you fearful terrorist were coming to a mall near you?”

    Count me in that 1%. 9/11 was a tragedy, and I was, and am, as upset as anybody about it. But my first thought when the President took to the air was, “Oh shit. This is going to be the excuse they use to do whatever the hell they want.” The fear-mongering has continued unabated since.

    You can have reasonable security without violating civil liberties and personal dignity. Those two things are not an either-or proposition.

  28. @Lance: here’s how it works… so far, every significant terrorist threat on a north american aircraft since 9/11 has been stopped not by the TSA, but by the passengers on the plane.

    So, ask yourself this… when a terrorist tries to blow up the plane you’re on, who would you rather have on the plane: that confrontational guy willing to question authority and go to jail to defend his and your basic rights, or the guy who’s okay having a minimum wage closet pedophile fondling his 13 year old’s crotch “for his safety”?

    Don’t think too hard on this one, okay?

  29. http://www.aclu.org/blog/technology-and-liberty/tsa-has-no-time-train-its-screeners

    “Therefore, the staff is encouraged to simply sign off on the materials and receive credit for taking the courses without providing evidence of reading or understanding the information. ”

    Encouraging TSA to educate its screeners better is going to do what, now?

  30. http://www.cdc.gov/chronicdisease/resources/publications/aag/osh.htm

    Each year, an estimated 443,000 people die prematurely from smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke, and another 8.6 million have a serious illness caused by smoking.

    In other words, 9/11 was equivalent to the ROUNDING ERROR on the death toll related to smoking, and Lance and his scare-mongering ilk are morons who should not be allowed anywhere NEAR anything that remotely resembles public policy.

  31. Lance is clueless. A major goal of terrorism is to provoke the authorities to take repressive measures and thereby lose control of all authority real or imagined. Looks like the fear part worked in his case and his idea that 99 percent of us had the same reaction as him shows how clueless he is.

  32. Lance is indeed clueless. He’s letting the terrorists win, to use a cliched, usually right-wing phrase. How so? One of the main MOs of terrorists is to… you guessed it: TERRORIZE – cause fear – etc.

    It’s obviously worked on Lance. His irrational fear of terrorism has led him to the point where (a false sense of) security trumps any civil rights or decency.

    He probably gets most of his ideas from Faux News.

    Not to mention, even with the new procedures, people are getting through the scanners with 12-inch razor blades on their person – and – the only thing new TSA procedures do, is cause the terrorists to CHANGE again their plans and ways of pulling off attacks.

    Let’s not be so ignorant. Any time the TSA makes a change, it’s all over the internet and the news – so the terrorists know about it.

    It’s all security theater and it always will be. The government will continue to use 9/11 as a scapegoat for stripping our rights and privacy away, all in the name of false security.

  33. Hey man, leave us travelers who just want to be patted down in peace alone, already. If I want photos of my patdown, I’ll have someone take them for me. I want to enjoy the patdown experience, and I can’t do that as easily with your camera in my face. Think of the children getting pat downs, some of them for the first time–they need the total experience. They need to know that this country was always pat-down friendly and all the citizens, er, that’s not quite the right word, consumers? No, subjects? Better. Anyways, the kids don’t need to weep for what was lost here, okay?

  34. Good for you, Mr Fish.

    The worst thing about this is the TSOs lying to the cop about your behavior and making up ther own laws. No praise for the TSA until they apologize and address that!

  35. Keep in mind that not far up the food chain from the guards are small-brained managers so typical of both government and the private sector, the kind that keep and circulate lists of enemies just to be “helpful”.

    Don’t be surprised when you get raided for allegedly photographing child pron, just be on the lookout for planted evidence from here forward.

  36. What most seem to over look is the LAW of this land is:

    The Bill of Rights:

    Amendment # IV

    The RIGHT of people to be SUCURE in there PERSON,
    house, papers and seizures, SHALL NOT BE VIOLATED,
    and NO WARRANTS shall issue, but upon PROBABLE CAUSE,
    supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing
    the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

    It dose not take a lawyer to realize that the Government (TSA) is performing
    warrant-less searches in direct violation of the Constitution!!!!!
    Either we are a nation of LAWS and RIGHTS or we are not. WE THE PEOPLE have no right to interpret the law as we see fit and nether does the Government!!

    In order for them to have a warrant to search us, they must have an ” Oath or affirmation” that we are a terrorist. The simple act of walking into and airport to travel freely does not make a US CITIZEN a terrorist!!!

    The government is treating us like terrorists and the terrorists like US citizens. The shoe bomber or the underwear bomber should have never been allowed onto the flights that they took from outside this country if the most basic rules had been followed. They had one way tickets, payed cash, no bags, oh yeah I all most forgot, they were Muslim men between the ages of 18 to 50!!!! WTF!!

    You might be comfortable in giving up your RIGHTS for a false since of
    security but I for one am not. Where will it stop. I know, when the Justices rule that all of the Bill of Rights ( amendments I – X ) are ruled unconstitutional!!!

    The only reason for the new pat down when refusing the scanner, is to humiliate you to the point of going trough the scanner next time. The TSA and their NEW procedures are in place to simply make the sheep feel safer. Not realizing that they put their life more at risk by simply driving to the airport.

    The biggest threat to this nation is not law biding US Citizens trying to freely move around this country on an airplane. Its the illegals and terrorists walking across the southern boarder with who knows what (anthrax’s, nukes, you name it) and the government could care less!!!………..WTF!!!!!

  37. If you set off the metal detector:

    Right know the rules are everyone over the age of 12 has to go through the STRIP SEARCHED (scanners) male or female. Under the age of 12 and you have to be sexually assaulted (enhanced pat down).

    You are setting at your computer at work. Someone sends you a .jpg nude picture of a 12-17 year old child. You have now idea what is in the .jpg and you open it. A coworker sees you open it and tells a supervisor and they call the police. The police come and haul you to jail for child pornography. The TSA are looking at very details images of 12-17………..WHY!!!!!!

    You are standing in your front yard. A child 12 – 3 yrs old falls down on the sidewalk. You run over and help them up and in the process you have to pic them up by their upper torso. The child screams and a neighbor sees you and calls the cops. The child tells them that you touched their chest and they didn’t like that very much. You are arrested for child molestation. The TSA made a little boy (6-8 i am not sure of age) take off his shirt and undue his snap on his pants so he could check his waist banned……….WHY!!!!!!!!!!

    So the people that do not fly can feel safer?
    Really?

    We are very far from being safer for it thats for sure!!!!!

  38. [...] via So…I Got Detained By The TSA At The Airport Today – Flying With Fish. [...]

  39. [...] by claiming otherwise. If this happens to you, don’t panic: follow Robert Graham’s and Steven Frisching’s lead by responding politely but not giving into intimidation. Steven says he’s got the [...]

  40. This is what scares the hell out of people: those in the TSA who THINK that they have Gestapo power. Your incident proved the case. Thank you. I will never trust the the TSA. Never! To hell with commercial airlines! Donkey’s are our ride ofthe future. (Well, maybe I’ll take a train. LOL)

  41. It’s the TSA office of strat comm that handled the issue not YOU. You reference that once told they were wrong, they apologized, backed off and went away. That’s great but there was no communication from you to them so where is this openness you think people should pursue? There was not discussion about how the TSOs actually misled the LEO about what you were doing and how.

  42. so let me get this straight. because of Fear, we allow rights to be taken away. because of Fear it is ok to let radiation, groping to occur, urine to be spilled, breast cancer prosthesis to be removed in front of people, children to be fondled, but of course do not profile anyone with turbans, that would be naughty of us. groping and fondling and xraying would be ok IF EVERYONE had to go thru the same F’in process but that is not what occurs!!! we do not screen objectively. it is hit or miss. this does NOT make anyone safer and to say it does is ludicrous! To make TSA agents-some of which i am sure do not want to have to fondle obese smelly people do this and some of whom I am sure would love to have a taser just because they would love to be a real sheriff. again is ludicrous. hey, let’s get them to xray and fondle the Fed-x and USPS last minute packages that end up on the planes!! that’s an idea…maybe that’s where the bombs go and not in my F’n breast prosthesis nor in my urostomy bag!!!

  43. [...] and local law enforcement may not be aware of the agency’s own policy. This is what one blogger found out recently at Hartford’s airport after being detained by a Connecticut state trooper for taking [...]

  44. YOU ARE RIDICULOUS!

    This is an insane attempt to get your story. I for one would NEVER even attempt to photograph a TSA Checkpoint? Who would want a picture of a TSA checkpoint? I mean really? Seriously?

    So here you go taking your pictures of a TSA checkpoint. Who looks like they are in the wrong? Do you think the terrorists of 9-1-1 just got on a plane and did the acts they did without any recon before hand? I’m pretty sure they took pictures of targets and planned it out before hand. So here you are again taking pictures of a TSA checkpoint? Really? Seriously??

    I know if I saw you taking pictures of the checkpoint, I would have turned you in myself. I seriously would not be taking planes from that TSA checkpoint after seeing you snapping your happy little photo’s of a TSA Checkpoint? Really Seriously???

    I’m all for my constitutional rights, but if I know I can safely trust the pilot of my plane and the TSA agents for doing they’re job of making my plane safe, then so be it. Bring on the scanners and the pat downs.

    I mean you really just took the pictures to solicit a response? Don’t you think these people have bigger fish to fry than to worry about you snapping photo’s of them??

    It’s stuff like this that stops progress of the mission. Let TSA do they’re job of protecting you from going BOOM!

    nuff said,

    Kelly

  45. [...] Journalist detained against by his will by a Connecticut State Trooper at Hartford’s Bradley International Airport for the “federal crime” of photographing a TSA security checkpoint.  Fortunately, the fellow knew both his rights and the actual lack of restriction. [...]

  46. Kelly,

    Do you look at news sites or newspapers? Do you watch TV? Do you see images of TSA checkpoints? Do you call CNN and tell them that they ridiculous? Have you read the archives of Flying With Fish to see the extent I have covered the TSA? Are you aware that I started covering aviation security on September 15, 2001 shooting for a number of major international wire services? That I have covered aviation security as a photojournalist for news outlets such as Time, Newsweek, The Boston Globe, UPI, Bloomberg News?

    No, you probably didn’t know that.

    Happy Flying!

    -Fish

  47. @Lance: “Around nine years, two months and a week ago most of you had quite a different tune, if memory serves me correct weren’t around 99% of you fearful terrorist were coming to a mall near you?”

    In 2001 I was regularly flying back and forth between New York and the west coast. I flew frequently on one of the flight numbers that was hijacked. I was back on that plane, flying in and out of Newark, before the end of September. If I could, I would have flown the entire flight flipping the bird as Osama and his punk friends. They want to scare us. Their worst fear is that we carry on our lives despite them.

    Well, at least back then. Their worst fear now is that a Predator UAV finds them.

  48. What the TSA employee did was illegal.

    Title 18, U.S.C., Section 242
    Deprivation of Rights Under Color of Law

    This statute makes it a crime for any person acting under color of law, statute, ordinance, regulation, or custom to willfully deprive or cause to be deprived from any person those rights, privileges, or immunities secured or protected by the Constitution and laws of the U.S.

  49. @Kelly – “I’m all for my constitutional rights”

    no, you aren’t.

  50. @flying fish – where is the follow up post with the magic phone numbers? maybe I’m missing the obvious but I don’t see it labeled as such in this post, which I came in on from another site. thanks

  51. Kibbles,

    Check the following post. I list two phone numbers for the TSA every photographer should keep with them while photographing TSA checkpoints.

    You must ALSO check local regulations outside of those for the TSA.

    Happy Flying!

    -Fish

  52. A terrorist with a C-4 dildo can get through the backscattering x-rays and/or a patdown without raising any suspicions. 5 minutes into the flight, he can detonate the plane and nobody’ll have caught him.

    On the other hand, someone taking a photo of something that’s publicly available on thousands of news and documentation websites is cause enough to detain that person and waste both their time and the agent taking charge of their case’s time (which, frankly, should be spent doing security stuff rather than this).

    Priorities have been set, people. :D

  53. [...] Source [...]

  54. @Kelly:
    You’re an idiot. Shut up, idiot.

  55. [...] UPDATE: It appears the TSA needs to provide “refresher training” about checkpoint photos as well.  Although the TSA permits photographing airport security checkpoints, TSA personnel keep detaining people who try to take pictures, as detailed here and here. [...]

  56. WHAT IS THE TSA DOING THAT HAS THEM SO SCARED ABOUT PEOPLE TAKING PICTURES???????????

    HERE’S ANOTHER INCIDENT—http://erratasec.blogspot.com/2010/11/i-was-just-detained-by-tsa.html

  57. You are free to write on your blog whatever you want, but you should not attempt to make a violation of your constitutional right to be free from illegal search and seizure into a positive for others to follow. The moment that officer said you were not free to leave, you were illegally detained and your constitutional rights were violated. The fact that your illegal seizure was short lived because you had a phone number to TSA is not the issue, the seizure is the issue and you completely gloss right over it in giving advice on dealing with TSA.

  58. Enough of this nonsense. Join the boycott.

    http://www.meetup.com/National-Boycott-of-Airline-Travel-2011/

  59. [...] published multiple TSA SSI security directives (including one before it was released), having been detained by the TSA’s Office of Law Enfrocement at an airport, and taking the agency on in an aggressive manner frequently … if such a list existed, I’d [...]

  60. [...] same TSA policy on shooting video does apply to taking photos, but Steven Frischling, the writer at Flying With Fish, was not quite so fortunate after he photographed the TSA checkpoint at Hartford’s Bradley [...]

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