TSA lying to passengers? Nothing new

As we’ve indicated umpteen times (yes, I, too get tired of having to use that phrase) and as the TSA itself indicates on its own website, photographing, videotaping, or otherwise recording at the TSA checkpoint is legal.

The only time it isn’t legal is when a specific airport indicates by a public sign that that particular airport in that particular jurisdiction has regulations against it. And that’s very few airports.

Nevertheless, TSA agents routinely lie to passengers and tell them that recording is illegal, as they did in the case of 3-year-old, wheelchair-bound Lucy Forck and her parents. Luckily, Lucy’s father, Nathan Forck, is a lawyer and knows his rights. So he refused to be intimidated by the blue-shirts.

But though he and his wife continued to videotape the harassment of their daughter, they didn’t videotape the faces of the TSA agents doing the harassing and lying. As photographer and civil rights activist Carlos Miller maintains, that was a mistake.

We are paying these people. We are paying their salaries. They are there to serve us, not the other way around. And we have every right to photograph/tape/record them.

In addition, if what the TSA is doing is so benign, then what’s the problem? What are security apologists and civil liberties naysayers always telling us: if you’re not doing anything wrong, then you have nothing to hide. Fine. If the TSA agents aren’t doing anything wrong, then they have nothing to hide. On the contrary, they should be glad someone’s recording their interactions. Because then they have evidence for those times they claim passengers are lying.

But instead, what we get, time and time again, is TSA bullying and intimidation.

So let me repeat what Carlos Miller urges: take pictures. Take videos. Take audio. And get the faces and names of the TSA agents harassing you on those recordings. Then publicize them, the way Lucy Forck’s mother, Annie Schulte, did. Get the information out there.

It’s not to shame the TSA agents: you can’t shame the shameless. It’s to have a record of what was done.

(Photo: MartyPG13/Flickr Creative Commons)

  • FulanoZutano

    “We are paying these people. We are paying their salaries. They are there to serve us, not the other way around. And we have every right to photograph/tape/record them.”

    Spot on! These people are public servants. It is we the people who should be judging them not vice-versa.

  • Susan Richart

    “TSA bullying and intimidation”…….I think it’s this that bothers me even more than the lying. We so often read of passengers who question the TSA actions being literally surrounded by screeners in what is pure intimidation. Are they trained to do this or is this just a result of the type of people they hire, natural bullies?

    • Susan, I bet they’re trained to do this; but even if they weren’t, the experiments of Milgram, Asch, and Zimbardo all demonstrated that most people, no matter who/how they are otherwise, when given unlimited power will abuse that power. Most people. So the bullying was predictable.

    • TSAisTerrorism

      Having experienced my own altercation with combative and assaultive TSA agents, you would be amazed at the sheer volume of “people” that emerge from out of nowhere.

      This is nothing if not pure intimidation, pure and simple. Because I guarantee you that these same “people” will scatter to the far corners of the Earth if they thought any of us had a bomb.

      • Daisiemae

        Exactly. Their masters at DHS are teaching them to save themselves in the event of a mass shooting. Our heroes in blue!

  • NotaSheep

    AMEN! I’ve been saying this for ages…name and shame.

    Also,has anyone ever tracked these goons on Facebook? Or LinkedIn? Not to harass but to just say what I think of what they are doing to this country.

    • Amy Alkon, who maintains her own blog and also writes for TSA News, has named and shamed. And the TSA agent who abused her had the nerve to try to extort money from her! Amy promptly got civil liberties attorney Marc Randazza to take her case pro bono. Of course, the TSA agent backed down. Said agent’s name was Thedala Magee. See this link: http://blog.simplejustice.us/2011/09/07/what-makes.aspx

    • Susan Richart

      delete –