Update on bloggers threatened by TSA over security directive leak


Update, 3:50pm PT: One of the two bloggers reports that the TSA has dropped its subpoena against him.

An update on the case of the two travel bloggers who received holiday visits by armed TSA agents (with matching Homeland Security subpoenas!) after publishing a leaked copy of the "Christmas Day incident" security directive.

Chris Elliot has an attorney now, and more time to respond to the subpoena.

Steven Frischling got his laptop back from the Special Agents who demanded it, then imaged his hard drive, but the laptop no longer works (paranoid commenters suggest one explanation could be the installation of keylogger software, but that's just one of many possibilities.)

Annie Jacobsen of TheAviationNation.com has posted an interview with Frischling here. Why, Jacobsen asks in that piece, is Homeland Security going after these guys so hard?

[I found] my answer in a pre-recorded message at the FBI's Detroit Metro Bureau to which press are referred. The message there states that anyone seeking information about "the Christmas Day event at Detroit metro airport" should call the Department of Justice in Washington.

Wait. A Christmas Day "event"? The FBI makes the attack against Northwest Flight 253 sound more like a shopping sale or a rock concert than the terror strike that it was. Trying to kill 298 airline passengers, destroy an airplane, and crash it into the suburbs of Detroit is now called an "event"? Could the jackbooted TSA visit to blogger Steven Frischling's Connecticut home be just another trickle-down result of DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano's insistence that terrorist attacks be referred to as "man-caused disasters"?

You see, in the TSA directive which Frischling's posted online, the TSA was caught calling a spade a spade: "INFORMATION: On December 25, 2009, a terrorist attack was attempted against a flight traveling to the United States."

For bloggers reading this story in horror, here's a helpful resource: The EFF's "Surveillance Self-Defense" website. Here's a relevant section:

Q: What should you do if a government agent (or anyone else) shows up with a subpoena?

Update items at NYT, another at Firedoglake which addresses the need for a federal shield law to protect professional bloggers. (Huh? OK, then go read this, too). Snip:

As one federal prosecutor told Wired, "it strikes me that they're more aggressive with this reporter than with the guy who got on this flight."

Previously: TSA subpoenas, threatens two bloggers who published non-classified airline security directive

Related reading: Miles O'Brien: Captain Underpants and the Illusion of Security.

(Thanks, Glenn Reynolds / image: Elliot.org)