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TSA Cancels Leaked Memo Subpoenas

From a deflated Associated Press:

TSA ends journalist subpoenas over leaked memo

By LARRY MARGASAK Associated Press Writer

12/31/2009

WASHINGTON—The Transportation Security Administration on Thursday dropped its subpoenas it had issued to two Internet writers in its effort to find the leaker of an airline security directive.

The subpoenas were criticized by a leading journalism organization.

The TSA said the investigation is "nearing a successful conclusion and the subpoenas are no longer in effect."

One subpoena went to Internet travel writer Chris Elliott, who obtained an attorney and did not immediately comply.

Elliott, from Winter Springs, Fla., said TSA agents had showed up at his house, demanding that he reveal who leaked the security directive.

The administrative subpoena—a demand for information issued without a judge’s approval—is a civil, not a criminal document.

Lucy Dalglish, executive director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, said her organization is supporting Elliott.

Another travel blogger who received a subpoena, Steve Frischling, said he met with two TSA special agents Tuesday night at his Connecticut home for about three hours and again on Wednesday morning when he was forced to hand over his laptop computer.

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.

Dalglish said she was not speaking for Frischling, but added there’s nothing to challenge if he already handed over his computer…

When we first heard about these subpoenas we did see some merit in the TSA’s position. Assuming the directive was classified, the agency should do its best to uncover who leaked it.

Indeed, we find their backing down in the face of public criticism far more unsettling.

Is this is a matter of national security or not?

This article was posted by Steve on Thursday, December 31st, 2009. Comments are currently closed.

One Response to “TSA Cancels Leaked Memo Subpoenas”

  1. BillK says:

    Watch your back, Steve.

    From a suddenly security-focused Associated Press:

    TSA Going After Bloggers Who Wrote About Directive to Increase Security After Terror Incident

    WASHINGTON — As the government reviews how an alleged terrorist was able to bring a bomb onto a U.S.-bound plane and try to blow it up on Christmas Day, the Transportation Security Administration is going after bloggers who wrote about a directive to increase security after the incident.

    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 he met with two TSA special agents Tuesday night at his Connecticut home for about three hours and again on Wednesday morning when he was forced to hand over his lap top computer. 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.

    “It literally showed up in my box,” Frischling told The Associated Press. “I do not know who it came from.” He said he provided the agents a signed statement to that effect.

    In a Dec. 29 posting on his blog, Elliott said he had told the TSA agents at his house that he would call his lawyer and get back to them. Elliott did not immediately respond to an e-mail seeking comment.

    The TSA declined to say how many people were subpoenaed. …

    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,581547,00.html

    To recap, the TSA is going after bloggers, but when the New York Times publishes classified documents on its front page, that’s just Freedom of the Press and isn’t worthy of investigation of any type.

    Got it.

    Could you imagine the fallout were a reporter were treated this way, or better yet, if a Republican administration had acted in this manner?


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