Blogger gets subpoena for posting security directive?

Poor, poor Chris Elliott. And while I almost always disagree with him, this time it’s different. I support him. As we all know, the TSA didn’t exactly do a great job making the new security initiatives clear. So in trying to help the public out (for once), Chris Elliott posted the security directive on his website, which wasn’t supposed to be published. Now, aside from the fact that this wasn’t supposed to be made public, I don’t see anything in there that I’d consider confidential or surprising. In other words, Chris wasn’t compromising our national security.

But apparently someone from the government showed up at his house last night with a subpoena, wanting to know who leaked him the document. Overkill much? You’d think they have bigger things to worry about, like, oh, I don’t know, terrorism?

Makes me happy I didn’t post…. oh, nevermind. 😀

Filed Under: Media, Security/TSA
  1. Elliot isn’t the only one who got a subpoena for leaking the security directive, and it isn’t funny @scoot. There is no federal shield law to protect blogger and journo sources, so people who blow whistles and leak this kind of stuff are really putting themselves out on a limb.

  2. @Gene: you must be joking? This TSA directive is as non-specific as a document can be… if this document contains “secret information”, than only god can help 😉 BTW: Do you know how many people are in possession of this document? It gets passed on hundred times a day at every airport…so come’n, be realistic!

  3. The content of the security directive is a lot less important than where it was labeled as sensitive material and not meant for wide distribution. I appreciate how Lucky and everyone else here can give their two cents as to whether Chris broke national security here, but it really isn’t for Lucky to decide that.

  4. If there was no labeling on this document saying it shouldn’t be posted and it isn’t marked as confidential, there’s nothing that can really be done. It’s ridiculous that they’re trying to stop this by scaring someone with a subpoena because once the page has been visited by a scanner or user the document can technically be considered public information. The DHS/TSA are showing their incompetence only further by issuing a subpoena for this. They should admit to their errors and Janet Napolitano should resign along with any appointees of hers because clearly she has no idea what she is doing.

  5. @Bschaff1 — the TSA isn’t trying to stop the posting (anymore), clearly they realize that the horse has left the barn. But they are apparently trying to determine who violated this part of the document:

    “Unauthorized dissemination of this document or information contained herein is prohibited by 49 CFR Part 1520 (see 69 Fed. Reg. 28066 (May 18, 2004).”

    I am not a lawyer and have no idea if Chris violated any laws by putting this document on the internet. It seems the person who leaked it to him might be in greater trouble if discovered. Hopefully they were smart enough to send it annonymously, not only for their own protection but also to let Chris state truthfully that he has no idea where he got it from.

    As for calling for Napolitanos resignation for this subpoena — do you honestly think that this little situation is getting any attention at her level of the bureaucracy? Just look at how big Bush’s creation, DHS, is. I imagine some low-level guy at TSA read the blog post, forwarded the link to the DHS/TSA legal department, and then standard procedures were set in motion (which are completely independent of what administration is in charge in the White House).

  6. @ ndot, how do you know others were Supoen’d? & I agree with you that @ Scot, its not funny…

    @ Chris Elliot – Who sent it to you? Was it actually sent to you or did you read it online? & Yes, you can take the 5th…

    & after reading your (@Chris E.) blog post, you ask readers, what would you do, & I have thought about that for awhile & I have no idea what I would do in that instance…

  7. wait gene, public knowledge is something people should be jailed for?

    am I going to be jailed for letting people know that water is wet, next? Part of the 5th amendment involves freedom to not incriminate yourself – that includes such as what was subpoena’d for this.

  8. @Todd – nice trick question — but you don’t really think Chris E. is going to tell *you* in a blog comment where he got the SD if he isn’t willing to tell the TSA 😉 not that I *know* what he’s willing to tell them.

  9. @ Oliver — I wasn’t really meant as a trick question, & I was not expecting an answer (today)… Who says he isn’t willing to tell the TSA? only thing I’ve read is that his response was hey let me chat with my lawyer first (& then I’ll maybe tell ya…)

    I don’t (& hope I never do) know the first thing about Subpoenas I could see the scenario where he called up his lawyer last night or this am, & his lawyer told Chris XYZ & then Chris “called” up the TSA & told them where he got it from & it was all semi-“resolved” by now… After all he is supposed to give TSA an answer by COB tomorrow…

    but your point (still @ Oliver) is 100% valid, I’m just explaining my reasoning for my “trick” question…

  10. I have to fly later this month, please publish an official rule guide. If no rules are forthcoming I will feel compelled to arrive at the airport in a clear vinyl jockstrap and flip flops and FEDEX my luggage. Would this be acceptable?

  11. @DAN – that is sufficient for how you arrive at the airport, however before boarding they will have to confiscate the “clear vinyl jockstrap” and flip-flops, then tie you up, blindfold you, gag you, drug you to the point of unconsciousness, then they will stack the cages like cargo in the aircraft. You will be revived upon landing. Any protest of these procedures will be seen as admission of guilt to being a terrorist.

    Airlines will save money by not having to provide seats, windows, lavatories, food, water, flight attendants, IFE, or cabin lighting – and by being able to fit 3 times as many passengers in the aircraft. It’s a win-win for the government and the airline. Emergency exits will be replaced by a “cargo jettison” feature. No baggage will be allowed a all – checked or carry-on. This will keep us safe and save the airlines more money. You can still pay to use the fedex luggage feature but the fees will now be higher. Enjoy your trip!

Leave a Reply

If you'd like to participate in the discussion, please adhere to our commenting guidelines. Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *