Memo to TSA: videotaping your “officers” is not a crime

If you’re the government and you’re going to put on a show of keeping America secure, shouldn’t you hire people who don’t seem like serious candidates for the next Three Stooges?

“Soooop! Soooop!” (That’s the voice of one of the TSA goons you’ll see on the video — calling for his [clueless] supervisor…although I bet he’d be a shoo-in for “best hog caller” at the local 4-H.)

In the video, Miami multimedia journalist Carlos Miller meets up with this TSA worker and his boss, who apparently have never heard of the First Amendment — as has been the case in a number of videos of the TSA by others. Nor do they know the TSA’s own rules on videotaping (it’s permitted, providing the airport itself doesn’t have rules against it).

So, yes, here we have people in the employ of the TSA (very likely making a nice chunk of change), one of whom is apparently a supervisor, who apparently have never taken the time to familiarize themselves with the TSA’s own rules. (Maybe they think they should get hazard pay for…ugghhh…it’s so HAARRRD…reading a whole bunch sentences…paragraphs, even!)

Miller blogs at pixiq:

The first Transportation Security Administration screener I encountered at Ronald Reagan National Airport on my return flight to Miami from Washington D.C. Wednesday told me he would not let me board if I did not stop video recording.

I told him that TSA policy allows me to record the checkpoints, but he wasn’t buying it.

He called a supervisor, who told me the same thing; that video recording the checkpoints is forbidden.

When I insisted he was wrong, that it clearly states on the TSA website that it is legal to record, he called police.

Fortunately, the pair of DC Metro cops who arrived acknowledged that I wasn’t committing a crime, but they did not go as far as telling TSA that I had the right to record the checkpoints.

They basically told TSA to deal with the situation themselves.

So even though I was eventually allowed to enter the checkpoint, the TSA supervisor, who said his name is Ricky Flowers, continued to insist that I was not allowed to record.

Perhaps Flowers would have been convinced had I handed him a copy of the policy as I did in Miami in January, but shouldn’t a supervisor already know the policy?

At this point, my family was really stressing out at the thought of me going to jail, so they kept urging I turn the camera off.

And I had already proven what I had set out to prove; that TSA officials are clueless about their own policy.

And he’s right about this:

Why do I do this?

It may seem petty and instigating to many people, but it is crucial that we ensure TSA officials abide by their own policies – especially at a time when their authority is expanding beyond airports.

Too many people are cowed by “authority,” just because it’s dressed like authority (in phony “officer” suits), and because it talks like authority, while having no authority to violate our constitutional rights. Because thousands of people are sexually violated daily — and otherwise have their right to not be searched without probable cause violated daily — doesn’t mean the government has the right to do this. It just hasn’t been challenged in court.

It is essential that we — all of us — challenge the rights grab any way we can, even in small ways like this. They need to see that we all aren’t just standing around blinking like livestock. That maybe there are people who will lead the call for other people to stand up, too.

(I’m working on it — an edited version of my civil liberties op-ed, the one no mainstream American venue would publish but Pravda finally did, will go out again next week to papers across America through my syndicate.)

Oh, and one final question — look at the two TSA dudes in this video. Let’s say somebody is plotting to bring down a plane. Do you really want to trust these two to stop him? (Let alone stop any reasonably precocious 8-year-old with a concealed squirt gun?)