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Student Questioned for Taking Pictures

by TChris

Taking a summer vacation in the USA? You might want to leave your camera at home ... unless you don't mind being questioned by Homeland Security.

Ian Spiers had just hours to finish an assignment for his photography class. He was taking shots of a railroad bridge near the Ballard Locks when an officer with a German shepherd approached him, asked him what he was doing and requested some ID.

Spiers showed the first officer his class assignment and asked whether he was really required to produce ID. The officer said "no" and left. Not good enough for Homeland Security.

But soon after, several armed officers approached him, including three from the Seattle Police Department and three from the federal Homeland Security Department. ... This time, Spiers said, a Seattle police officer told him he had no choice but to show his ID. A Homeland Security agent who flashed his badge told him he had broken a law by taking pictures of a federal facility.

Spiers submitted to a half hour of questioning before being told he had no choice about being photographed by Homeland Security: the agency that protects us from dangerous photographers by ... taking their pictures.

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