About Me

Steven Frischling
Live: HVN
Work: JFK-SFO-CDG-HKG
Contact Me

Steven Frischling, aka: Fish, is globe hopping professional photographer, airline emerging media consultant working with large global airlines and founder of The Travel Strategist. Fish has racked up more than 1,000,000 miles since he started to track his mileage in 2005.

Fish's travel tends to be less than leisurely, including flying from New York to Basrah, Iraq, for six hours; Hong Kong for eight hours, Kuwait City for two hours and traveling around the world in 3.5 days to shoot a series of photo assignments in 4 cities and 4 countries on 3 separate continents.

Fish grew up at the end of New York's JFK International Airport's Runway 4R/22L, which probably explains his enjoyment of watching planes, fly overhead. When not shooting photos or traveling Fish designs camera bags, hones is expertise on airline security and spends his time at home cheering for the Red Sox with his 3 kids 102 yards from the ocean.

The Fallout From SD-1544-09-06 : The Feds At My Door

30/12/2009 – The Fallout From SD-1544-09-06 : The Feds At My Door

Yesterday evening was like most other nights, until around 6:30pm when I received a phone call from Chris Elliot. Chris is a travel journalist, who happens to be National Geographic Traveler’s Reader Advocate, writes a regular column for The Washington Post, produce a weekly segment for MSNBC…and Chris is the other journalist who received and published a copy of the TSA’s Security Directive SD-1544-09-06

Chris and I have conversed many times before, however this phone call began by him asking me if any Federal Agents had visited me from the Department of Homeland Security this evening, as he had just been visited by a TSA Special Agent.

Moments after my call with Chris ended a sedan pulled in front of my house and two US Transportation Security Administration Special Agents were at my door with some questions and paperwork for me. I sent two of my kids upstairs, and like Chris I was served a subpoena by the Department of Homeland Security to disclose who sent me the contents of SD-1544-09-06 (you can read Chris’ subpoena HERE)

The two Special Agents were at my house for more than two hours speaking with me as I held my youngest son in my arms most of the time. When the agent left they said they’d see me again tomorrow morning, and hopefully we come to a resolution.

First let me say this, the two agents were polite and professional. I understand they have their job to do. I understand these agents have been given a task to investigate and that what they will do. I would expect nothing less. I have repeatedly written about positive TSA experiences on Flying With Fish. I am not an apologist or looking to gain favour, I simply believe the vast majority of those in the TSA are serious professionals and these two agents acted in a manner that upheld this belief.

The DHS & TSA are taking this matter seriously, and that tells me that they are paying attention to security in detail. Their issue is not that the Security Directive expires tomorrow, or even that I posted SD-1544-09-06 but that someone within the TSA sent this sensitive document outside of the agency. I understand why the TSA wants to find the person leaking this information and I wish I had a long intertwined story about how I got the document, but I don’t.

I received it, I read it, I posted it. Why did I post it? Because following the failed terrorist attack on the 25th of December there was a lot of confusion and speculation surrounding changes in airline & airport security procedures.

We are a free society, knowledge is power and informing the masses allows for public conversation and collective understanding. You can agree or disagree, but you need information to know if you want to agree or disagree. My goal is to inform and help people better understand what is happening, as well as allow them to form their own opinions.

While I sort out what happens next in this situation, and keep my opinions to myself to protect my family from the potential ramifications, I will continue working to keep travellers informed.

Hopefully this is resolved in an amicable way so that we can all move forward and focus on the greater good of servicing the public’s best interest.

Happy Flying!

141 Responses

  1. [...] via Flying With Fish » The Fallout From SD-1544-09-06 : The Feds At My Door. [...]

  2. Your blog is one of the most informative for me on the internet. Flying as a professional photographer isn’t easy and your blog helps makes it a bit easier and less stressful, especially in this day and age with all the rules and regulations.

    Even before Christmas, it has been a series of hoops to go through to ensure that our gear travels safely with us as carry on baggage. When I heard about new security regulations – without definitions – I know that I wasn’t the only professional photographer or businessperson that was worried about the possibility of being forced to check my gear on the next flight I take. This isn’t an ipod or digital camera we worry about when new regulations about carry on baggage comes about, this is thousands of dollars of equipment that we are often relying upon to work with at our destinations.

    I hope that this all comes to a resolution for you and quickly. I also hope this doesn’t stop in you keeping us well informed.

  3. Sorry to hear of the issue. Seems to me like it is a reasonable concern, but I also wonder about the idea of sources being confidential.

    Good luck.

  4. Fish, fight it. Whistleblowers who provide documents like this to the media need to be commended, NOT PUNISHED. Let us know how it goes.

    *oh and on another note, lots of random coding on your post above*

  5. I had a problem earlier this year where I was threatened with arrest for photography in the public.

    ACLU office in the area I was traveling had the same policy, but I was able to get their attention by sending a confidential facsimile. You can try this – but I would be networking among attorneys you do know to protect your rights.

    The statement you tweeted that the US DHS does not view “bloggers” as “journalists” is extremely disturbing.

    I wish you the best, in the meantime, please keep up the great work!

    Steve

  6. Please see http://travel-babel.blogspot.com/2009/12/department-of-homeland-security.html. I’m one of the travel bloggers/journalists on your side.

  7. [...] too is reporting via Twitter that the DHS served him a warrant and searched his computer (update: he as now blogged about his DHS experience). Frischling made fun of the fact that he could see many people from the TSA and DHS reading his [...]

  8. I know you are concerned about your kids having to go through something like this again, but I hope you and Chris are able to fight this. This is a big deal. Who protects the bloggers? Who protects free press? If this isn’t fought, other bloggers will be afraid to post anything negative about the TSA or DHS.

    Good luck and let me know if I can support your effort in any way!

  9. Sir:
    Seek counsel and let your attorney speak for you. You don’t cut your own hair. Or perform dentistry on yourself. Why try to talk your way out of this pickle? These nice guys don’t have your best interests at heart.

  10. [...] Frischling posted the full text of the TSA’s security directive. Now both men have been visited by federal agents and served with subpoenas, demanding the name(s) of the person(s) who provided them with the text [...]

  11. I’m very sorry to hear about your plight Fish. I hope it remains an internal investigation to find the leak and that they don’t drag you or Chris Elliot too deep.

    Good luck and best wishes from the aviation blogosphere.

  12. Way to go. You hit a nerve that we have all been predicting in the aviation community. Thanks for acting as a true journalist. -
    Your friends in Alaska!

  13. [...] Learn more. Click here. UPDATE: Another travel blogger, Steven Frischling (Flying With Fish) also was served with a subpoena regarding SD-1544-09-06. Learn more. [...]

  14. [...] 1544-09-06″ which had been sent to then anonymously. You can read more about that here, here, and here. December 30th, 2009 | Tags: abdulmutallab, bomber, northwest flight 253, underpants, [...]

  15. Yipes! What has been the relatively new territory of blogger journalists having their sources protected? At what point is one a “journalist?” It is what I call myself since I have an education and history that says so. However, there is a whole new generation of journalists that likewise need to be protected.

    There is scarce law on any/all internet legal issues due to the complexity and our Congress’ inability to tackle anything more complicated than a parking ticket effectively and in a timely fashion. It is an unfortunate reality that cases such as your posting of the TSA directive (and subsequent subpoena) will create case law. It possibly will determine the future direction of the courts on such matters. Maybe that is good, maybe not. We shall see. I hate for you and Chris Elliott to be the guinea pigs in all this. Subversives you aren’t!
    Pam at ZippyReviews.com

  16. [...] who described some of the details of the visit on his personal blog, told Threat Level that the two agents drove to his house in Connecticut from DHS offices in [...]

  17. Bradford, Are you seriously suggesting that the TSA documents in question would have been made public if the leakers had no hope of anonymity?

    Mark Loundy
    Twitter: @Mark Loundy
    http://www.loundy.org

    http://www.mediawoorks.com
    Media Consulting and Video Production

  18. Never, ever talk to cops. All you will do –even when you have ‘nothing to hide’– is cause yourself more headaches. There is -never- anything to gain from talking to any flavor of law enforcement. Really.

  19. Major Variola (ret)

    Should have used wikileaks.org

    Cryptome.org also good if you send encrypted.

    There is no freedom without anonymity.

    ….
    Glass Empires need remember even palestinians can throw stones.

  20. I’m sure TSA is still recovering from the TSA handbook that was leaked a few weeks back. TSA also has to learn that it is important to disseminate information — like revised screening processes — PDQ — or risk being seen as outdated. They have a lot of egg of their face because of this situation and are have to answer a lot of questions — detailed questions.

    While we are all appreciative of your blogs and information and the help you gave during this trying week — BUT, the person(s) who violated the confidentiality agreement by distributing it should have their hands slapped. Unfortunately, the nature of today’s news and media really challenges the ethics of employees whom companies — and government have trusted with confidential documents. One day, someone will give out too much information to the wrong media outlet and we will pay the price. Luckily, the rules that TSA devised made no sense or difference what so ever and this time it didn’t matter that they were leaked. They only served to make TSA look even more ridiculous — and maybe that, is part of what this is all about.

  21. This is the “most transparent administration ever”? What happened to the CHANGE! CHANGE WE CAN BELIEVE IN that we were supposed to be reated to?? Way to go guys, you can’t contain your own documentsand then hassle journalists?? You J. Edna Hoover types must be VERY proud.

  22. [...] mean, shit, c’mon. Osama bin Laden probably saw this directive before Flying With Fish did. It’s like having the FBI kick down your door for for ripping off a Matt Groening cartoon [...]

  23. Have you read the post about this incident on Wired.com’s Threat Level blog? They really made the agents who paid you a visit out to be incompetent thugs. I’m happy to read on your blog that the opposite seems to have been the case.

    I am curious if those agents disclosed what authority they had, i.e. do they have to Mirandize you? Can they actually detain you? If so, where do they take you and what due process are you afforded? I’ve looked on the TSA website and have found nothing about this. I think the bigger story would be to find out what they TSA investigators are actually able to do, so they can’t use our ignorance as a weapon to intimidate us.

  24. How does TSA have any jurisdiction outside of groping you at the airport? Did they explain that?

    I understand your situation with your kids there, but I would have told them to go spit. When you can speak about it, I’d like to know why you allowed them to take and copy your laptop without a specific warrant/subpoena. Good luck — I’m pretty sure you’ve got everyone who’s reading here and the article on Wired on your side.

  25. [...] TSA agents also visited Chris Elliot, a travel journalist who writes a regular column for The Washington Post. “Chris is the other journalist who received and published a copy of the TSA’s Security Directive SD-1544-09-06,” writes Frischling on his blog. [...]

  26. Did you ask to see or was any ID presented to you? What did it say? Because it looks to me like this Enright guy you are photographed with in the Wired article is nothing more than a hired process server.

  27. [...] who described some of the details of the visit on his personal blog, told Threat Level that the two agents drove to his house in Connecticut from DHS offices in [...]

  28. [...] I told Flaherty I’d call my attorney and get back to him. What would you do?” Here’s Frischling’s post. He says, “I wish I had a long intertwined story about how I got the document, but I [...]

  29. I would like to pose a couple questions. I am a commercial pilot, former journalist(small market/local) and former member of the Civil Air Patrol as the Public Affairs Officer for the State of Nevada. While I have not finished reading the entire article/subpoena, I was taken by the thought of what is the slippery slope. The first question would be; Knowing that what you were holding may very well have had specific national security intrests for the directive, was it more important to break the story? Second is; If you published a Directive/Memorandum/Story from an anonymous source, how did you back check to verify your source and contents?

    Please understand that I am not looking to “mukrake” anyone. I have worn both sides of the cape. I am concerned for both the First Amendment and our governments good faith attempts to protect the public.. Please be well, Scott Lilley

  30. If whoever sent you this information has half a brain in their head, then they used a proxy, or SEVERAL proxies, in order to mail it to you. And on top of that, again, if they have even half a brain, they did it from a public open wifi connection. Heck, they probably did it from the airport itself, which would be the perfect touch of irony. Of course, you should do what your lawyers tell you to do. But as I’ve said multiple times here, if the whistleblower has even ONE brain cell, they’ve covered their tracks carefully, so you can rest easy about whatever instructions your lawyers give you, even if it means turning over the info. If not, well, call it Darwin in Action. Stupidity, even if benevolent, should come with a penalty.

  31. Thank you for posting the message, I understand TSA wants to get the person who leaked the information because this same person could be leaking to criminals. However, that said, it is as if we are living with the Stasi and I fear it could and will only get worse.

    The export of suicide mentality as a way of war is just going to become worse in economies that get worse and as people are further and further removed from the ability to pursue happiness.

    We’ve got to get the people a way out of the corner or else things like this happen and only worse, can’t people see that these folks are in pain and suffering? They feel lonely, depressed, and these extreme religions have people come in with food, water and shelter, the things governments don’t seem to give a damned about. These people don’t have kids for the most part, because governments in the west don’t care about single people. This is the problem! And until it changes things will get worse!

    If the government is reading this, please — don’t you guys read books like 1984? You think it won’t happen to you, but you are sitting in it, complacent out of fear.

    Thank you Chris, I know you have a family and we cannot expect you to fight, but to you and your family, thank you.

  32. Best of luck with the situation. Thanks for your work.

  33. [...] Here’s Frischling’s post. He says, “I wish I had a long intertwined story about how I got the document, but I don’t. I received it, I read it, I posted it. Why did I post it? Because following the failed terrorist attack on the 25th of December there was a lot of confusion and speculation surrounding changes in airline & airport security procedures.” Here at Boing Boing, I linked to Frischling’s leak post after I got home from an international flight into the US on which I personally experienced the procedures detailed in the leaked directive. I also tweeted what I experienced of those procedures before, during, and after the flight. Thorough physical patdowns and secondary hand luggage screening pre-board, no leaving your seat or electronics or putting anything on your lap during the final hour of flight, and so on. Attendants on my flight explained that the stepped-up procedures came from a just-issued TSA security directive. As soon as airlines and airports began implementing the directivemdash;and that began before the bloggers posted their copies—the contents of the directive were no hardly secret. So why the strong-arm tactics? [...]

  34. If the TSA was a more competent and professional agency, I (in your place) would not be unduly worried by a visit from their “special agents.” But in my personal experience, TSA employees are anything but competent and far from professional. I hope I’m wrong, but suspect your life is about to be negatively impacted by this incident.

  35. [...] that, he called Fish to ask if he’d received the same treatment. Shortly after that call, he received his own [...]

  36. Hey Fish,

    got a question for the TSA to ponder. If you had not posted the information sent to you and thus, made the public aware of the situation through the media. TSA likewise would not know that they have a serious security problem on their hands. Bottom line, without simple everyday people questioning rules, regulation and sometimes even law itself, our protections and laws that govern us would not be of any good to us for what they were intended to do. I agree with you though about TSa in general. Here inthe NW, when I fly I know to take my shoes off, have all my personal belongings ready for inspection along with change and little items nicely sandwhich bagged for the agents to look at if they like and always, I answer any questions they have with no issue. The agents have always in turn been respectful if not amused on ocasion by myself and some of my belongings (I like to travel to haunted places and as such, I sometimes have little EMF meters and IR themometers out in plane sight which always raises an eyebrow and a whisper to an agents ear). I want to mention though that the TSA is going over board on their heightened restrictions. Keeping someone in their seat if they already have gotten through the door of the plane and are with you at 36K feet, is going to do very little if they are a bad guy with a plan. Also, shutting down carrier provided consumer electronics an hour before a flight lands, does nothing either less upset the public and require good old uncle check book Sam, to bail out the industry when people stop flying. So, TSA realy needs to be looking inward for the culprits becasue its the security breec inside THEIR agency, not the airlines or outside individuals, that is the problem.

  37. Fight it. The TSA is coming across as a bunch of thin-skinned weenies. They dropped the ball big time, so in response they go after you and Chris Elliott.

    Is this article correct in stating that you handed over your laptop computer to the TSA? http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20091231/ap_on_go_ca_st_pe/us_airliner_attack_tsa_subpoenas;_ylt=AoDrd7dfZ3YH72Z0qZSKK3us0NUE;_ylu=X3oDMTQ0a2llYTV0BGFzc2V0A2FwLzIwMDkxMjMxL3VzX2FpcmxpbmVyX2F0dGFja190c2Ffc3VicG9lbmFzBGNjb2RlA21vc3Rwb3B1bGFyBGNwb3MDNQRwb3MDMgRwdANob21lX2Nva2UEc2VjA3luX2hlYWRsaW5lX2xpc3QEc2xrA3RzYXN1YnBvZW5hcw–

    It’s not my livelihood at stake so it’s not my place to armchair quarterback. But it was a mistake for you to hand over your laptop to the TSA. Not only did they have no right to take it, they are at this very moment mining your hard drive for ALL information they think will be useful for their investigation. Shame on them. Does anyone really think these clowns can protect us from terrorists?

  38. hi steve,
    i have studied our situation in the united states and the world for about 6 years. in particular i have been educated by people like jordan maxwell and others. steve, thank you for informing us -your neighbors and the people you fly with- about these changes in flight security rules.
    i have noticed that our “government” wants to keep everything secret.
    that is not a government that i can live under. if i believed that we were and are indeed under attack from the terrorist threat that the government claims, it is possible i might in some very defined cases agree to temporary secrecy.
    steve, for whatever reason you posted the info. , you are a really helpful guy. i believe that the procedures we -as travelers and citizens- endure everyday are largely not helpful in a possible terrorist threat and are designed to humiliate and subserviate us, the public.

  39. Neal K,

    Saying I handed over my laptop is a bit simplified. I will not be expanding on the circumstances at this time.

    Happy Flying!

    -Fish

  40. Brian,

    Since I began writing about the TSA I have written about the good and the bad. I have praised the TSA and I have slammed the TSA. For me it is not about right and wrong, it is about the end-game. The end-game ultimately is the security and safety of the flying public.

    Happy Flying!

    -Fish

  41. Scott Lilley,

    Mine was not a rush to break a story. 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.’

    Happy Flying!

    -Fish

  42. Erik G,

    The TSA Special Agents were quite professional in how they conducted themselves. I won’t discuss tactics, but in terms of professionalism, there was no issue. Both presented their credentials to me immediately.

    Happy Flying!

    -Fish

  43. Jay,

    The TSA falls under DHS. They are Federal Agents, their jurisdiction is anything that impacts transportation security.

    The details of them removing my laptop will not be discussed at this time for a number of reasons, I am sure you can understand.

    Happy Flying!

    -Fish

  44. Why didn’t you get a laywer first or contact the ACLU?

    Seems to me the TSA is overstepping their bounds as posting something online is not a threat to transportation, airports or the likes.

    oh well.

  45. Shilo,

    You are assuming I was not in contact with an attorney.

    Also, if you call the ACLU in CT you get a message saying they are available to discuss legal matters on Friday between 9 and 10 am…I kid you not.

    But don’t assume.

    Happy Flying!

    -Fish

  46. Fish,

    Has anyone in a position of authority within the TSA explained just what the so-called expanded rules are suppose to accomplish?

    The only thing these rules appear to be are a poorly thought out and knee-jerk reaction to a situation they (the TSA) were not prepared for which is frighting since that’s their job.

    Stick by your guns and hang in there, there are lots of rational people pulling for you.

  47. Ugh Steven! Sorry you had to go through that man. Just read the article on MSNBC. That really ticks me off that they threatened you by disrupting you with that show!!!

    I’ve got your back! They could have been much nicer about it and you could have been much harsher with them. Even in the interest of national security, there are still laws that allow you to protect your sources. Blogging is considered a form of journalism!

    But then again, who knows, we may not have that right anymore either.

    Take care,
    Will

  48. [...] who described some of the details of the visit on his personal blog, told Threat Level that the two agents drove to his house in Connecticut from DHS offices in [...]

  49. [...] Them Interesting on the WebAboard That NW Flight: A Neuron Bomb – Clay Farris Naff – Open SalonThe Fallout From SD-1544-09-06 : The Feds At My DoorIn the gig economy, who protects journalist bloggers?Traveling? Better Get a UPS AccountA baker’s [...]

  50. I came to your website thorough Yahoo news article. It mentioned the TSA took you laptop the next morning, if I understood that correctly. Did they have a search warrant for that? Seems that whether or not you had anything to hide is irrelivant; they needed a search warrrant for your computer. Unless of course you just volunteered to give it to them. Maybe i am mistaken in reading the other article.

  51. You’ve done nothing wrong. Don’t worry. If they do try to cause you grief with any sort of lawsuit, you can counter-sue — and win — on the basis of their bringing about a frivolous suit! However intimidating they may appear to be, rest assured that everything will be alright. You did the right thing by disclosing the document. Just play it cool and lay low on this matter until it blows over, like you’re doing. Keep up the great work!

  52. It seems crazy that a travel writer is not protected from threats from police? Is this accurate, or is this what the TSA told you?

  53. [...] Frischling’s recent post @ flying with fish [ link [...]

  54. Also, people who come to your door yelling:

    ‘Who gave you this document?, Why did you publish the document?’ and ‘I don’t think you know how much trouble you’re in.’

    and then threatening to ransack your house while you are alone with 3 kids? That’s hardly “professional”.

  55. The TSA is generally made up of uneducated thugs. They have a huge budget while they have made flying tantamount to being booked into jail. I urge you to retain aggressive and competent legal counsel. You are a member of the press and should not be subjected to intimidation by these so-called Special Agents. The only thing “special” about them is that they abuse their authority.
    Good citizens realize what is a security risk and will cooperate with law enforcement but to submit to intimidation is an abuse of authority by Federal bureaucrats and a good citizen will fight this in a court of law.
    I expect that a Federal Judge might just quash these subpoenas.
    Good luck and thank you for your patriotism.

    Bobby Mims
    Criminal Defense Attorney
    Tyler, Texas

  56. People should be less worried about that idiot who put an incompetent bomb in his undies than the butt bomber in Saudi Arabia. You know, the guy that had a pound of high explosives up his butt with a cell phone detonator that was used in an assasination attempt of a Saudi prince. He didn’t have enough explosives to succeed, but you can be sure that the next one will. A bomb like that is completely undetectable except by x-raying the entire body. Expect to be x-rayed when you board a plane. It will be like the old days, when you stood behind the doctor’s fluoroscope so he could see your insides. It will be really tough on frequent flyers, though. The accumulated radiation dose will be horiffic.

  57. [...] and yesterday, in the wake of the Christmas “underwear bombing”: Steve Frischling of Flying with Fish, who spent two hours yesterday with Federal agents, and Chris Elliott of Elliott.com, who points out [...]

  58. [...] TSA agents also visited Chris Elliot, a travel journalist who writes a regular column for The Washington Post. “Chris is the other journalist who received and published a copy of the TSA’s Security Directive SD-1544-09-06,” writes Frischling on his blog. [...]

  59. This kind of thing is keeping Master up at night. He roams the White House halls when he can’t sleep. Grrr… I write about this today on my website:

    http://www.goodboybo.com/2009/12/is-master-tired.html

    Bo

  60. Steve,

    I dont think you were wrong in what you did. TSA was wrong to leak it. They are looking to direct their newfound ‘increased’ security.

    Keep up the good work. Your blog is excellent, especially about overseas travel and different airlines baggage requirements.

    Funny how they always go after the little ‘fish’.

  61. Question 1:

    Why did you answer the door? There is no law that states you must open your door for anyone, including law enforcement. Once you let the gestapo in your house you gave them jurisdiction over you.

    Question 2:

    Why on earth did you speak with law enforcement without an attorney present? There is no law requiring you to speak with law enforcement about anything. Never, ever talk with law enforcement, you have the right to remain silent, I suggest you use this right.

  62. If TSA expected to distribute a document unsecured to 10,000 different people internationally and NOT have it leak, they are NOT professionals, they ar idiots. The fact that they are going after bloggers for posting it shows they are in full-fledged CYA mode and looking for someone to string up to “make an example” of them. You will do as a goat to scape.
    GET A LAWYER and do not speak directly to these people. Do not surrender your civil rights, you will never get them back.

  63. [...] En el blog de Chris Elliott está la orden legal que le exige la entrega de información, y que pueden chequear en este enlace. Pueden leer la versión de Steve Frischling eneste enlace. [...]

  64. I’m very sorry that you cooperated with those bozos in any way. They may have been “polite and professional” but they’re still government thugs who have no right to demand anything from you. As for your laptop, you should wipe its hard drive and start from scratch.

    This country will get back on track only when citizens are willing to stand up for their rights.

  65. What was the date and time of the subpoena? News states that it is dated (the subpoena) on Dec 25th. Just wondering about the timeline for what happened to you in relation to the attempted bombing incident.

  66. “First let me say this, the two agents were polite and professional. I understand they have their job to do.”

    Yeah, and Nazi SS agents were usally polite… until you refused to COMPLY, and they were just ‘doing their jobs’ as well. They could afford to be ‘polite’.

    Look folks, the Gov’t does NOT want you to intefere with their terrorists. That’s why they floated the idea of keeping you in your seat the last hour…

    i.e. It’s harder to STEAL MORE OF OUR LIBERTIES when common citizens thwart an ‘attack’ and thus, a U.S. Gov’t excuse to herd us into the NWO.

  67. Was the original information you received as a scanned PDF or just the text? If it was a scanned PDF, the issue is cut and dry – was it labeled NOFORN, SECRET or TOP SECRET? If it was, you are in very big trouble. If not, you really don’t have anything to worry about.

    If it was just the text of the document, it is more complicated. If the original document was classified or not, you really don’t know.

    Go seek out the EFF.

  68. I’m sure you are busy so I will keep this brief.

    If the TSA and the DHS take security seriously, they will have e-mail logs. Even if such logs to not contain the text of the e-mail messages, they will have a log of the source and destination e-mail addresses, the subject line, and the time the e-mail was sent.

    If the they really want to investigate, give them this information and suggest they investigate (search) their own e-mail logs to find out who sent the e-mail.

    If they don’t have such logs, I’m sure there is a US Gov’t security law they must be breaking. :-)

    Sincerely,
    Donald McLachlan

  69. AManWithoutExplosivesUpHisButt

    If Bush II was still in office you’d be feted by the media and this incident would be a cause celebre.

    However, for the partisans of the media, “their guy” is in charge so this story is of no use to them.

  70. Simply put, when you are served a subpoena, accept it, close the door and call your lawyer. If it wasn’t a warrant, the subpoena generally has a time-frame to comply before you’ll be likely charged (civilly) for contempt.

    DON’T OFFER anything or things like ruining your MacBook will happen. If you volunteer even one iota of information it was freely given, not compelled. I hope by now you have lawyered up.

  71. It’s time for the next step in the Tea Party. Concord and Lexington!

  72. [...] who described some of the details of the visit on his personal blog, told Threat Level that the two agents drove to his house in Connecticut from DHS offices in [...]

  73. Steven,

    I wish you the best in your difficult situation. It sounds like you are acting wisely in terms of the legal situation… refraining from comment and heeding the advice of your attorneys.

    I’ll add a bit of advice of my own, if I may, that may or may not have been addressed by your attorneys…

    If they have had access to your laptop without your oversight or oversight by someone representing you, especially if work performed was by TSA rather than by an independent computer technician or company with responsibilities (and experience) to properly protect the chain-of-evidence and to refrain from accessing information on your laptop that was not within the purview of the subpoena, I strongly advise you to refrain from any and all access to, and use of, the laptop.

    You need to preserve any evidence on the laptop, not only anything that may be of use to the TSA, but any evidence of over-reaching or inappropriate behavior by the TSA investigators that accessed your laptop. While another poster’s suggestion of the TSA installing a keylogger may be a bit far-reaching, it is not impossible… I can certainly see some individuals justifying such an action as within the interests of an ongoing TSA investigation by saying that you might receive further contact by the individual that initially provided you with the TSA directive; I can also see them justifying the action by saying that your release of the laptop to them constituted your permission to install such a device. They may also have received a secret warrant to do so, just as they would in the case of a wiretap. Even more likely, however, is that they have over-reached in terms of the information that they have accessed. While that would be hard to detect if they merely duplicated your drive and performed all operations on the duplicate drive, they may not have actually been so circumspect. Depending on your possible future decisions or need to take legal action against any possible over-reaching by the TSA, you need to protect any and all evidence.

    I strongly suggest that you provide your laptop to your attorneys for safekeeping. If you have information that you need from the laptop, have your attorneys hire a competent computer security professional to provide them with a duplicate of your drive in a secure fashion that preserves all information now on the drive (subsequent to the TSA’s handling of the laptop) and have them secure the duplicate as evidence. Then you can take possession of and use your laptop, but if you are concerned about any possible keyloggers, etc., either have a competent computer technician backup all non-executable content from your drive and then securely wipe the drive and reinstall the software, or use the backed up non-executable files on another machine, keep the laptop off the net, and give it to your kids to use as a stand-alone, non-networked computer. I would suggest the latter, since even wiping or replacing the drive will not be sufficient if the TSA has gone so far as to re-flash your BIOS and the keylogger is installed in the BIOS.

    Good luck to you, Steven.

  74. [...] two travel bloggers, Chris Elliott and Steven Frischling, each  posted the TSA security directive issued following the botched attempt to blow up an [...]

  75. If the TSA is honestly looking to secure leaks and not just intimidate bloggers, perhaps they need to focus their attention on their own network servers and email clients to see who their employees are contacting and why.

  76. You know with all the people that got this document it is sure to get out to Al-Queda..lol. give me a break. Another issue TSA is not looking at is the people that serve food to you after you set screened. Do you think their might be a few muslims working in food service that could be convinced to join the “cause”

    The next time you have to post something do it the smart way and use this:
    http://www.wikileaks.org then let jackbooted stormtroopers storm them. unfortunately they are off line until jan 6. I need to send them some money as they need it more than wikipedia.com

  77. one more point. if you are getting into the disclosure arena may want to use this http://www.truecrypt.org then they will have waterboard you to get the password.

  78. Fish,

    Hope all is well. Thanks for the post. Be careful, and I am sure you are, when talking to the Feds.

    Typical mid level government employees looking for headlines after the crime was committed. The only thing government employees care about is saving their cake jobs and retirement benefits.

    They should have at least had the decency to call on you during normal hours.

    I do not speak with anyone from the government without my lawyer. They were not there to serve you or the general public.

    Peace,

    Tim

  79. better show this to your lawyers:

    Senate Judiciary Committee Passes Shield Law, Protects Bloggers

    http://www.mediapost.com/publications/?art_aid=118949&fa=Articles.showArticle

    not passed yet but a court may like the arguments used to support it

  80. Why would you post a TSA directive that said THIS?:

    “No other dissemination may be made without prior approval of the Assistant Secretary for the Transportation Security Administration. Unauthorized dissemination of this document or information contained herein is prohibited by 49 CFR Part 1520 (see 69 Fed. Reg. 28066 (May 18, 2004).”

    It’s obvious that the directive was put out immediately in order to thwart any other attacks that might have been planned to execute at the same time the Detroit attack occurred. Why would you do anything that might enable a terrorist to bypass security measures?

  81. When will you people on the wacky left relize we are at war? We are not playing cops and robbers….. Recall the phrase and poster from WW II; “Loose lips sinks ships”? Well, guess what….it still applies today. Think people, think!

  82. What I find interesting is why they came at night? My only reason thinking this is for a “fear factor” or intimidation. That stuck out of your article the most to me. I totally understand investigating. I agree they are taking it serious and I am sure while they are talking to you they are also tracking down the people who make threats and those that are really targeted by the TSA. I’ve not had a bad experience with TSA except for some arrogance or snotty nosed people and I just think that is people with badge heavy issues, not the TSA in sorts.

    I’m anxious to see what the resolves are if you will be able to share them and I thank you for your posts that help me keep up to date on how to travel and with what I can!

    LB

  83. [...] blogului companiei aeriene KLM). Povestile lor cu TSA si FBI le gasiti pe blogurilor lor: Steve – The Feds at my door si Elliot – Full text of my subpoena from the Department of Homeland [...]

  84. I just called up Special Agent Flaherty to register my disappointment that TSA is attempting to stifle free speech. His phone number is on the subpoena. He’ll probably still be picking up until 5pm when the subpoena expires. If someone could find Dan Kuntz’ phone number, concerned citizens defending free speech can call him too.

    This is an important issue that demands the attention of citizens who live in a democracy with a bill of rights.

    Paul

  85. [...] Here’s Frischling’s post. He says he received the document from an anonymous source known to be a TSA employee, who uses a gmail account (will Google be subpoenaed?). “I received it, I read it, I posted it. Why did I post it? Because following the failed terrorist attack on the 25th of December there was a lot of confusion and speculation surrounding changes in airline & airport security procedures.” [...]

  86. TSA & DHS are a bunch of bunglers. Obama’s popularity rating is on the line over the Christmas incident. Lets hope some good comes from this incident and all the lackeys are fired and replaced with competent profesionals

  87. [...] A.P. reports that “another travel blogger who received a subpoena, Steve Frischling, said he met with two TSA special agents Tuesday night at his Connecticut home for about three hours and again on Wednesday morning, when he was forced to hand over his laptop computer.” Frischling (who, like Elliott, posted the TSA security directive on Sunday) told A.P. “the agents threatened to interfere with his contract to write a blog for KLM Royal Dutch Airlines if he didn’t cooperate and provide the name of the person who leaked the memo.” His account of receiving the subpoena is here. [...]

  88. And we thought Bush was bad?

  89. A democracy with secrets is no democracy. You did the right thing to publish it. You’d be right to fight it. The likely result is that it will come to light that the directive was already prepared prior to when the incident took place — which should raise some very important questions.

  90. [...] can read the blogs referenced here, here and [...]

  91. Anna,

    There is nothing in the Directive that was not known to passengers immediately upon entering the gate area and at the 1hr to landing mark for an in bound US international flight. The actual restrictions themselves were posted on line by carriers such as Air Canada.

    The document was not classified and was transmitted ‘in the clear’ to airports and airlines around the word, outside of the TSA’s control.

    Happy Flying!

    -Fish

  92. Tim

    I have an attorney and have been consulting with an attorney.

    Thanks for popping in…hope all is well in your neck of the woods.

    Happy Flying!

    -Fish

  93. I never thought of flashing the BIOS thanks for the suggestion.

    My laptop was returned to me with some significant issues it did not have when it went out, such as a lot of bad sectors, Operating System errors, the inability to back it up in Time Machine, external audio is not functioning.

    I think the machine needs to be replaced, the repair cost from Apple itsself is similar to replacing the MacBook.

    Happy Flying!

    -Fish

  94. What’s interesting is that they’re making such a big deal about “leaking” a policy that by definition would eventually be fully known to the public… for it has to be implemented on air passengers.

    It’s no State secret what that document specifies… it’s the rules that all the poor air travelers will have to suffer under.

    This is about politics, “loyalty”, showing the rabble in the TSA who the boss in the White House is.

  95. [...] who described some of the details of the visit on his personal blog, told Threat Level that the two agents drove to his house in Connecticut from DHS offices in [...]

  96. other poster above said:
    Why would you post a TSA directive that said THIS?:
    “No other dissemination may be made without prior approval of the Assistant Secretary for the Transportation Security Administration. Unauthorized dissemination of this document or information contained herein is prohibited by 49 CFR Part 1520 (see 69 Fed. Reg. 28066 (May 18, 2004).”
    *******
    As I see it you did not violate part 1520 as 1520.7 makes this whole part not applicable to you. § 1520.7 “Covered persons. Persons subject to the requirements of part 1520 are:….” (not you as I understand the situation and read the code) http://law.justia.com/us/cfr/title49/49-9.1.3.4.7.html

  97. As usual, they are barking up the wrong tree! How about going after the real bad people! The muslim terrorists!!!!!!

  98. [...] and published it on his personal blog, Flying with Fish, on Sunday. On Tuesday armed TSA agents arrived at his house with an administrative subpoena and threatened him into surrendering his laptop. The agents wanted [...]

  99. [...] travel blogger who received a subpoena, Steve Frischling, said he met with two TSA special agents Tuesday night at his Connecticut home for about three [...]

  100. [...] Here’s Frischling’s post. He says he received the document from an anonymous source known to be a TSA employee, who uses a gmail account (will Google be subpoenaed?). “I received it, I read it, I posted it. Why did I post it? Because following the failed terrorist attack on the 25th of December there was a lot of confusion and speculation surrounding changes in airline & airport security procedures.” [...]

  101. I just got the brilliant idea to check your more recent postings. Geez. brilliant, eh?

    Disregard my inquiry.

  102. What a joke. Why dont we admit who the terrorists are and kill them. But, no, I forgot, we have one of their protectors as a President.

  103. my view is the blokes who received the email had already been on TSA + FBI radar screens and were sent the memo for the purpose of watching what each would do. then reps are sent to interview each and get a feel for whether they’ve talent to be offered to join the team. if law enforcement seriously considered either to be bad dudes, they’re have wiretapped and bugged their homes. talking to the agents is and was the right thing to do. there’s no reason to keep the boys in blue skeptical next time fed agents flash an id at your door, ask them to hold on and call 911 so your local police can get in on the action.
    profiling might not be nice but it sure is rational.

  104. Prefer my name witheld (Val)

    The ‘real bad people’ Ann Marie refers to…would they be the well-dressed Indian of around 50 that escorted the Nigerian to the gate and insisted on meeting with the gate agent’s supervisor since the African boy was to board without a passport? Or the guy on the flight that videotaped the whole time? Perhaps the Indian that was taken away from the customs interrogation area in handcuffs after an hour of questioning once the dogs sniffed out what may have been explosives in his bag, causing the rest of the passengers that arrived on this flight and were waiting to be questioned to another ‘safer’ location? It’s terribly inconvenient when attorneys willing to open their gobs and talk are eye-witnesses at the gate and on the flight. How much official effort will it take to make them shut up so that inconvient truths don’t emerge and uncomfortable questions don’t get asked? Lots of nudges and winks are going on as this fairytale gets told.

  105. Soooo, manchild Barry Obama can bravely issue a subpoena and steal a laptop, but does not have the cojones to charge a terrorist in anything but criminal court, let alone have the guts to even call a terrorist a “terrorist.” Our chicken hearted leader should soon hit 14% in the approval ratings, which would actually be less than the unemployment numbers he and his czars have created. Independents – next time you vote, remember how wrong a choice Obama! was!

  106. The White House Mafia at work. If there had not been so many witnesses, we would never even heard of this. All we hear is propaganda. They have the information we receive under control.
    Communism at work here.

  107. Good job. You did what any ethical blogger would have. Brings me christmass cheer to see people putting their right to free speech to work.

  108. [...] the subpoenas last Tuesday. Both bloggers immediately wrote about it on their respective blogs: Frischling’s and Elliot’s. Wired, the AP, the Huffington Post, and Boing Boing picked up the story.  The [...]

  109. [...] both men published accounts (Elliott, Frischling) of the TSA threats on their blogs, media outlets picked up the story and the TSA dropped both [...]

  110. [...] who described some of the details of the visit on his personal blog, told Threat Level that the two agents drove to his house in Connecticut from DHS offices in [...]

  111. [...] for his most excellent air travel advice specifically geared towards photographers on his blog Flying with Fish.  In fact on his blog, Steven details the arrival of the feds arriving at his door. Moments after [...]

  112. [...] who described some of the details of the visit on his personal blog, told Threat Level that the two agents drove to his house in Connecticut from DHS offices in [...]

  113. [...] TSA agents also visited Chris Elliot, a travel journalist who writes a regular column for The Washington Post. “Chris is the other journalist who received and published a copy of the TSA’s Security Directive SD-1544-09-06,” writes Frischling on his blog. [...]

  114. [...] my kids up at the bus stop I receive an unexpected phone call. Of course given that I never expected two Federal Agents to show up at my door one evening, nothing should phase me, but this call was unexpected. So who [...]

  115. [...] bloggers, Steven Frischling and Christopher Elliott, travel journalists each wrote on their blogs about the advisory. A [...]

  116. [...] for me BoardingArea didn’t require me to sign a legal waiver absolving them of being subpoenaed by the Federal Government should I post any more content that the US Government isn’t thrilled [...]

  117. [...] Chris Elliott’s report of the subpoena here, Steve Frischling’s here and travel writer/blogger (and until recently USA Today travel reporter) Chris Gray Faust’s [...]

  118. [...] Chris Elliott’s report of the subpoena here, Steve Frischling’s here and travel writer/blogger (and until recently USA Today travel reporter) Chris Gray Faust’s [...]

  119. [...] Chris Elliott’s report of the subpoena here, Steve Frischling’s here and travel writer/blogger (and until recently USA Today travel reporter) Chris Gray Faust’s [...]

  120. [...] Chris Elliott’s report of the subpoena here, Steve Frischling’s here and travel writer/blogger (and until recently USA Today travel reporter) Chris Gray Faust’s [...]

  121. [...] Chris Elliott’s report of the subpoena here, Steve Frischling’s here and travel writer/blogger (and until recently USA Today travel reporter) Chris Gray Faust’s [...]

  122. [...] Chris Elliott’s report of the subpoena here, Steve Frischling’s here and travel writer/blogger (and until recently USA Today travel reporter) Chris Gray Faust’s [...]

  123. [...] Chris Elliott’s report of the subpoena here, Steve Frischling’s here and travel writer/blogger (and until recently USA Today travel reporter) Chris Gray Faust’s [...]

  124. [...] Chris Elliott’s report of the subpoena here, Steve Frischling’s here and travel writer/blogger (and until recently USA Today travel reporter) Chris Gray Faust’s [...]

  125. [...] Chris Elliott’s report of the subpoena here, Steve Frischling’s here and travel writer/blogger (and until recently USA Today travel reporter) Chris Gray Faust’s [...]

  126. [...] Chris Elliott’s report of the subpoena here, Steve Frischling’s here and travel writer/blogger (and until recently USA Today travel reporter) Chris Gray Faust’s [...]

  127. [...] Chris Elliott’s report of the subpoena here, Steve Frischling’s here and travel writer/blogger (and until recently USA Today travel reporter) Chris Gray Faust’s [...]

  128. [...] Abdulmutallab and to prevent him from boarding a plane cannot be rectified by arbitrary rules and thug tactics. Too much time, energy and money is being spent on showcase security and PR, resources better [...]

  129. [...] Chris Elliott’s report of the subpoena here, Steve Frischling’s here and travel writer/blogger (and until recently USA Today travel reporter) Chris Gray Faust’s [...]

  130. [...] TSA agents also visited Chris Elliot, a travel journalist who writes a regular column for The Washington Post. “Chris is the other journalist who received and published a copy of the TSA’s Security Directive SD-1544-09-06,” writes Frischling on his blog. [...]

  131. [...] TSA agents also visited Chris Elliot, a travel journalist who writes a regular column for The Washington Post. “Chris is the other journalist who received and published a copy of the TSA’s Security Directive SD-1544-09-06,” writes Frischling on his blog. [...]

  132. [...] Chris Elliott’s report of the subpoena here, Steve Frischling’s here and travel writer/blogger (and until recently USA Today travel reporter) Chris Gray Faust’s [...]

  133. [...] in the worst of situations I have encountered when dealing with the TSA, this past December when two TSA Special Agents (ie: Federal Agents who carry guns) showed up at my house … (that was outside the scope of their Jurisdiction), I wrote this “I hope 2010 is the year the [...]

  134. [...] who described some of the details of the visit on his personal blog, told Threat Level that the two agents drove to his house in Connecticut from DHS offices in [...]

  135. [...] Service for publishing an "SSI" security directive (some details can be found here – http://boardingarea.com/fl…) … if anyone was going on the No Fly List would be me. I have since published multiple SSI TSA [...]

  136. [...] The Fallout From SD-1544-09-06 : The Feds At My Door – Travel photographer Steven Frischling gets subpoenaed by the Department of Homeland Security. On Flying With Fish. Thanks to @yaksierra for sharing the link. [...]

  137. [...] Christoper Elliot and Steven Frischling have had visits from TSA and DHS  “Homeland Security Special Agents”, issuing [...]

  138. Best of luck with the situation. Good work.

  139. I know this if off topic but I’m looking into starting my own blog and was curious what all is needed to get setup? I’m assuming having a blog like yours would cost a pretty penny? I’m not very internet savvy so I’m not 100% sure. Any recommendations or advice would be greatly appreciated. Kudos

  140. [...] there is no secret list, because if there were, I’d be on it. With my own personal history of having two TSA Special Agents, from the Office of Law Enforcement, at my house three time in two day…, having published multiple TSA SSI security directives (including one before it was released), [...]

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