Update: The AP reports that Lucy Dalglish, executive director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, is representing Chris Elliott, and has requested a delay in enforcement of his subpoena to allow it to be challenged in court next week.
According to the AP, Dalglish “could not remember the last time an administrative subpoena had been served on a reporter in last decade.”
“They should seriously reconsider this,” Daglish said. “Millions of fliers know these rules are out there.”
The Transportation Security Administration has discovered a major new threat, and is targeting it with all methods at its disposal. No, not terrorists. The agency is going after two bloggers, Steve Frischling and Chris Elliott, for exposing its whopper of a policy document, issued Christmas Day in the wake of that day’s failed terrorist attack.
The agent who showed up at Chris Elliott’s home was polite, got along with the blogger’s cats — and demanded the name of the source that leaked the TSA document. “You’ve been served,” he said, handing over a subpoena. The armed agents who paid a visit on Frischling reportedly threatened to get him fired from his job with KLM, and left with his laptop, As Frischling reports:
The two Special Agents were at my house for more than two hours speaking with me as I held my youngest son in my arms most of the time. When the agent left they said they’d see me again tomorrow morning, and hopefully we come to a resolution. …
We are a free society, knowledge is power and informing the masses allows for public conversation and collective understanding. You can agree or disagree, but you need information to know if you want to agree or disagree. My goal is to inform and help people better understand what is happening, as well as allow them to form their own opinions.
While I sort out what happens next in this situation, and keep my opinions to myself to protect my family from the potential ramifications, I will continue working to keep travellers informed.
The subpoenas served on the two bloggers threaten them with “fines under Title 18, United States Code, imprisonment for not more than one year, or both” if they don’t turn over all information they have about the source that leaked Security Directive 1544-09-06.
Both men insist they got the document from an anonymous source, and have no idea of the individual’s identity. And the government may have a hard time tracking down that source, given that the “secret” document was circulated to thousands of airlines, airports and security personnel around the world.
The security directive required, among other things, a “thorough pat-down” at boarding gates of all passengers flying into the U.S, from oveseas and an inspection of “100 percent of all passenger accessible property.”
Full text of my subpoena from the Department of Homeland Security [Chris Elliott]
The Fallout From SD-1544-09-06 : The Feds At My Door [Flying With Fish]