TSA Withdraws Blogger Subpoenas, Offers New Computer

The new year is starting off pretty well for bloggers Chris Elliott and Steve Frischling, who had been targeted by the Transportation Security Administration after they posted the TSA’s bizarre Christmas Day Security Directive. Elliott reports that the agency has withdrawn its subpoena against him, and that Frischling, whose laptop was confiscated, is getting a new computer courtesy of Uncle Sam.

According to Elliott:

The Department of Homeland Security has withdrawn a subpoena that would have required me to furnish it with all documents related to the Dec. 25 TSA Security Directive published on this Web site.

The move came after I was granted an extension on the government’s request earlier today. I also signaled my intent to challenge the subpoena in federal court next week. …

I also just spoke with Steve Frischling, who had also been served with a subpoena in connection with the security directive. He says he received a phone call from a deputy chief counsel for enforcement at the DHS to let him know he was off the hook and that the agency had offered to buy him a new computer.

As is usually the case in situations like this, the TSA hasn’t admitted to doing anything wrong, and in a letter to Elliott’s attorney, simply states that his subpoena is “being withdraw [sic] as no longer necessary.”

Funny how a little media exposure and the threat of a public hearing to challenge the subpoenas changes things. Happy New Year, Steve and Chris!

Department of Homeland Security: Your subpoena “is no longer necessary” [Elliott.org]

Previously: TSA Targets Bloggers Who Exposed Draconian Policies