TSA subpoenas bloggers over leak


The Transportation Security Administration has served subpoenas to two travel bloggers who posted a Christmas Day airport security directive after the attempted downing of a U.S.-bound plane.

TSA special agents served the subpoenas to Steve Frischling and Chris Elliott, demanding to know by today who leaked the security directive to them. The directive was not intended to be released to the public, TSA officials said.

The security directive, effective Dec. 25 to Dec. 30, outlined checkpoint and on board security measures, including pat downs of all passengers at boarding gates and no bathroom visits on board planes within an hour of landing.

Frischling, author of the blog Flying with Fish, said two TSA officials came to his house Dec. 29 and Dec. 30 and served him with the subpoena. They also took his laptop, according to a post on his blog. He declined to give any details as to why and how TSA officials took his laptop.

Frischling said the security directive had no national security secrets and came to him through credible sources.

I read the document, was able to reference a second independent source who had the document, which verified the validity to me. Having read the document, there is no national security secret in the document, the bulk of the information was already available. The document was also transmitted to every airport and airline globally that has any direct flights to the US, thus the document was already outside ‘secure hands.'”

Frischling told the Associated Press that he met with TSA agents on both Tuesday and Wednesday, and the laptop computer was taken on Wednesday. Frischling said the TSA agents threatened to interfere with his contract to blog for FLM Royal Dutch Airlines if he didn’t name who leaked him the security directive.

The subpoenas demand presentation of “all documents, emails, and/or faxsimile transmissions (sic) in your control possession or control concerning your receipt of TSA Security Directive 1544-09-06 dated December 25, 2009.” They are signed by Dan Kuntz, senior counsel for civil enforcement at TSA.


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