TSA Subpenas Blogger for Source of Non-Public Screening Leak

Update: Both subpoenas have been withdrawn.

When the TSA increased security after the Xmas Day foiled bomb plan, two bloggers got a copy and posted it. The TSA paid them a visit last night, serving them a subpoena, wanting to know their source.

TSA special agents served subpoenas to travel bloggers Steve Frischling and Chris Elliott, demanding that they reveal who leaked the security directive to them. The government says the directive was not supposed to be disclosed to the public....Frischling said the agents threatened to interfere with his contract to write a blog for KLM Royal Dutch Airlines if he didn't cooperate and provide the name of the person who leaked the memo.

What was in the top secret memo? [More...]

It included many procedures that would be apparent to the traveling public, such as screening at boarding gates, patting down the upper legs and torso, physically inspecting all travelers' belongings, looking carefully at syringes with powders and liquids, requiring that passengers remain in their seats one hour before landing, and disabling all onboard communications systems, including what is provided by the airline.

It also listed people who would be exempted from these screening procedures such as heads of state and their families.

The second blogger reports here.

The TSA is still smarting from the online publication of non-public portions of its screening manual a few weeks ago. The blogger that posted it first has a series of posts on what happened here. More at Cryptome, here.

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  • Display: Sort:
    Why would anyone friendly to the (none / 0) (#1)
    by oculus on Wed Dec 30, 2009 at 10:49:44 PM EST
    U.S. wish to publicize the specifics of the changes to security procedures?  

    they are travel bloggers (none / 0) (#2)
    by Jeralyn on Thu Dec 31, 2009 at 12:15:56 AM EST
    with an interest in keeping their readers, those who travel, up to date on what to expect at the airport. I doubt there was anything political about it.

    and it showed up in their email box (none / 0) (#3)
    by Jeralyn on Thu Dec 31, 2009 at 12:26:59 AM EST
    they probably thought it was a scoop.

    As to the security manual, I think the story was the TSA mistakenly posted it on their public website. Another security error, of the human kind.

    It's really amazing how much government stuff is now available on government websites. A big change from a few years ago.


    Why would anyone friendly to... (none / 0) (#4)
    by kdog on Thu Dec 31, 2009 at 08:54:01 AM EST
    liberty want to keep our airline security practical joke procedures a secret?

    All of this seems public (none / 0) (#5)
    by stjust on Thu Dec 31, 2009 at 09:12:39 AM EST
    Or at least public the first time they pat someone down in front of all of the other people in line.  None of this is clandestine -- or did they reveal other information not mentioned?

    I see nothing to distinguish this from many other disclosures to the press.  All such disclosures are illegal, but this seems to be a new direction for the government.

    Security Hole (none / 0) (#6)
    by bselznick on Thu Dec 31, 2009 at 10:05:30 AM EST
    I could be wrong because I don't fly and don't keep up on this stuff, so I welcome the correction.  Isn't it still the case that one can board a private plan, go up in the air, fly anywhere and there is zero, and I mean ZERO, security.  

    It's not hard to imagine that one could fly over a major city and drop envelopes stuffed with dollar bills... or something else.