Agents of the Transportation Security Administration originally limited their contact with the public to checking bags and scanning people at airports. Now they’re stepping out of that setting and coming to our homes. What makes this story different from Soviet or East German police harassing citizens for speaking out is that the Dept. of Homeland Security has much more sophisticated surveillance technology at its disposal. Don’t think for a moment that this incident doesn’t have a wide-ranging chilling effect. By harassing these bloggers for what they wrote and then hesitating to name their sources, the TSA is violating the 1st and 5th Amendments simultaneously.
“Two bloggers received home visits from Transportation Security Administration agents Tuesday after they published a new TSA directive that revises screening procedures and puts new restrictions on passengers in the wake of a recent bombing attempt by the so-called underwear bomber.
“Special agents from the TSA’s Office of Inspection interrogated two U.S. bloggers, one of them an established travel columnist, and served them each with a civil subpoena demanding information on the anonymous source that provided the TSA document.
“The document, which the two bloggers published within minutes of each other Dec. 27, was sent by TSA to airlines and airports around the world and described temporary new requirements for screening passengers through Dec. 30, including conducting “pat-downs” of legs and torsos. The document, which was not classified, was posted by numerous bloggers. Information from it was also published on some airline websites.”
Read more at Wired Magazine.
POSTSCRIPT: Facing public backlash, the TSA appears to be backing off, reports the Associated Press.