Paul Joseph Watson
Tuesday, July 5, 2011
Hot on the heels of its attempted cover-up surrounding the dangers of naked body scanners, the TSA has been caught in yet another act of public deception, telling passengers before they land that filming TSA security checkpoints is prohibited, contrary to the TSA’s own public policy, in an apparent effort to stem the tide of viral videos showing TSA harassment that have saturated the Internet and caused a public relations crisis.
“My plane was taxiing into the gate at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson Airport when the end-of-flight announcements came on. Seatbacks in upright position, trays closed and locked, baggage under the seats, you know the drill,” writes Atlanta-based epidemiologist Cameron Salisbury.
“This time there was something new: “No recording devices of any kind allowed in the security area”.
The TSA’s own website states that taking photos or video of TSA screening checkpoints is not prohibited.
“We don’t prohibit public, passengers or press from photographing, videotaping, or filming at screening locations. You can take pictures at our checkpoints as long as you’re not interfering with the screening process or slowing things down. We also ask that you do not film or take pictures of our monitors,” states an advisory posted on the TSA blog.
The effort to intimidate passengers from filming TSA screening checkpoints literally “on the fly” and in violation of the TSA’s own stated policy is an obvious attempt to stem the tidal wave of viral videos that have flooded YouTube in recent months and prompted a public relations nightmare for the federal agency.
This appears to be little more than an underhanded effort to save the TSA from embarrassment and reduce the excessive amount of man hours that have been dedicated to attempting to rebut scandal after scandal.
The TSA is patently overwhelmed with the tsunami of bad publicity it has received over the course of the past 12 months and is now callously and perhaps illegally weaving in unrelated and contradictory demands to not record pat-downs with standard flight safety procedures.
One of the most recent examples was the case of a woman who became upset and began screaming after she claimed TSA agents at Sky Harbor International airport in Phoenix had fondled her breasts. As her son Ryan Miklus filmed the ordeal he was threatened by numerous airport officials for using a recording device. After our write-up of the story was picked up by the DrudgeReport, the piece became the second most read news article on the entire internet for that day, prompting the TSA to issue a response.
TSA agents also threatened Phil Mocek with arrest after he began filming an incident at Albuquerque International airport in November of 2009. Mocek was later acquitted by an Albuquerque jury of all four misdemeanor counts against him which related to his refusal to show ID and obey a police officer. A YouTube clip of the incident shows TSA agents involving law enforcement after they falsely claimed that Mocek was not allowed to record the encounter.
Despite the fact that TSA agents, in clear violation of their own stated policy, routinely harass people who film airport pat-downs, it is not a crime to record airport security procedures. Given the epidemic of TSA abuse, one might characterize it as a civic duty, especially in light of the TSA’s apparent effort to stem the tide of such footage by intimidating passengers against such actions before they even land.