Green Room

TSA, Amtrak police hassle journalist recording their activities

posted at 3:01 pm on July 28, 2012 by

The TSA and all that it represents—the interminable waits at airport security checkpoints, the inconvenience of having to travel minus basic creature comforts such as toothpaste, the strip searches of white-haired grannies and pat-downs of crippled children … all are here to stay. So says John Pistole, chief of the much-maligned agency, who told ABC Nightline co-anchor Terry Moran on Friday, “Clearly we’ve had success in not having a repeat of 9/11. We can’t go back to the pre-9/11 days.”

It’s far from good news, but it would be a far less bitter pill to swallow if the agency made even a cursory gesture toward educating its agents before sending them out into the field. Would it be asking too much to require that the TSA’s 50,000 employees learn the agency’s rules and regulations? If effective training procedures were implemented, the TSA would be spared the embarrassment of having one of its agents tell a journalist that videotaping their activities is illegal.

That is what happened to Julio Rausseo, a Midwest correspondent for We Are Change, an independent media group focused, according to its website, on “expos[ing] corruption worldwide.”

Interestingly Rausseo’s run-in with the TSA was not at an airport but in Chicago’s Union Station. He was there on July 5 on his way to Peoria when he noticed TSA agents setting up a checkpoint in the Amtrak boarding area.

He began to record the sights and sounds when he was ordered to stop by uniformed personnel. But the incident didn’t end there. A week later, he was dining at a restaurant in the station when he was approached by another officer who demanded to see some identification. Rausseo had the presence of mind to record this second exchange, which can be viewed here.

At one point, he is told:

You’re obviously a rookie journalist, ’cause any seasoned journalist would know that you follow policy and procedure. A normal journalist and a professional journalist would know to go to management office, get a permit, [say] who you are, what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. Then they escort you, and you are able to execute your First Amendment rights.

But the TSA’s own blog says nothing about the requirement for a permit or being escorted by management. The entry urges that members of the press “contact the TSA Office of Public Affairs,” but there is no iron-clad requirement that they do that or even identify themselves.

It would be heartening if Chief Pistole took the time to explain the agency’s limits to his screeners.

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That’s cool The TSA can be as imbecilic as they desire. (You people enjoy that not just unconstitutional, but anti-constitutional power trip. And that’s right, I said “You people.”)

And as you make commercial travel more and more of a nightmare for us all, more and more of us will opt to not spend our dollars on commercial travel.

I never fly anymore — and it is specifically due to the kind of aggravation and idiocy as referenced in this article. (To the airlines that no longer see any of my consumer dollars — on behalf of TSA, you’re welcome.)

As the TSA reaches its tentacles into train and bus service, I’ll cease to consider using those modes, as well. Easy-peezy.

I’m sure, of course, that my refusal to utilize the above services constitutes some Kafkaesque violation of the commerce clause in CJ John Roberts’ tortured pretzel logic.

I guess I’m just not the patriot I used to be. (Sigh.)

Dion on July 28, 2012 at 3:37 PM

That’s cool The TSA can be as imbecilic as they desire. (You people enjoy that not just unconstitutional, but anti-constitutional power trip. And that’s right, I said “You people.”)

And as you make commercial travel more and more of a nightmare for us all, more and more of us will opt to not spend our dollars on commercial travel.

I never fly anymore — and it is specifically due to the kind of aggravation and idiocy as referenced in this article. (To the airlines that no longer see any of my consumer dollars — on behalf of TSA, you’re welcome.)

As the TSA reaches its tentacles into train and bus service, I’ll cease to consider using those modes, as well. Easy-peezy.

I’m sure, of course, that my refusal to utilize the above services constitutes some Kafkaesque violation of the commerce clause in CJ John Roberts’ tortured pretzel logic.

I guess I’m just not the patriot I used to be. (Sigh.)

Dion on July 28, 2012 at 3:37 PM

Then you are going to love it when they set up on the highways in your area. I guarantee its coming. In the view of people like Obama/Napolitano/Pistole is a little security is good then more and more is even better.

8 Billion Dollars and all we have to show for it is a shredded Constitution.

clippermiami on July 28, 2012 at 5:15 PM

You’re obviously a rookie journalist rent-a-cop, ’cause any seasoned journalist person with a decent Civics Class under their belt would know that you follow policy and procedure the Constitution. A normal journalist cop and a professional journalist agent of the government would know to go to management office, get a permit warrant, [say] who you are, what you’re doing looking for and why you’re doing it what you’re accusing me of. Then they escort you you can get in my face, and you are able to execute your in the meantime, I will practice my First Amendment rights without your jackboot on my neck.

GWB on July 28, 2012 at 5:33 PM

Then you are going to love it when they set up on the highways in your area. I guarantee its coming. In the view of people like Obama/Napolitano/Pistole is a little security is good then more and more is even better.

Internal passports are coming soon to to be shown at a “border checkpoint” (state line) near you.

single stack on July 28, 2012 at 6:26 PM

Oh, I know what’s coming down the road (and sooner rather than later). And I weep for future generations.

But as for me… I’m not a young man anymore, and I know I’ll see much less of it than the generation that is following me.

I am absolutely delighted to not be a young person in this world at this time.

Dion on July 28, 2012 at 6:37 PM

When we–or our bunch–take over, this Bullendrœck is gonna stop, & El Pistolero will find himself laid off at the very least.

Oh, I know what’s coming down the road…

But as for me… I’m not a young man anymore, and I know I’ll see much less of it than the generation that is following me.

Dion

Alternatively I might join you in death sooner than expected, but either way I’m not putting up with this tyranny in my country.

Audax vincit!

Olo_Burrows on July 28, 2012 at 7:04 PM

The TSA and all that it represents—the interminable waits at airport security checkpoints, the inconvenience of having to travel minus basic creature comforts such as toothpaste, the strip searches of white-haired grannies and pat-downs of crippled children … all are here to stay

Uh, no. What the TSA represents is tyrannical, unconstitutional government.

Why is it so hard for HotAir bloggers to call the TSA unconstitutional?

Dante on July 28, 2012 at 9:12 PM

Why is it so hard for HotAir bloggers to call the TSA unconstitutional?

I have done so on many occasions. I guess you were out sick those days.

Howard Portnoy on July 28, 2012 at 9:30 PM

In Germany in the 30′s and 40′s they had an organization that behaved very much like the TSA; the called it “Geheimes Staats Polizei” or Gestapo for short.

baron scarpia on July 29, 2012 at 1:12 AM

Should read “they called it”

baron scarpia on July 29, 2012 at 1:13 AM

The motto of the TSA & affiliates is “Respect my Authoritay!”

yenober on July 29, 2012 at 9:52 AM

change ‘pat-downs of crippled children’ to ‘molestation of crippled children’ and this article goes from 99.5% accurate to 100…

avgjo on July 29, 2012 at 4:02 PM

“ist yo paypahs in ordah?”

44Magnum on July 29, 2012 at 10:19 PM

Every jerkoff with an I-Phone is not a journalist. Just like every schmuck who up-loads a video on You Tube isn’t a member of the Fourth Estate.

Don’t believe me? Should all those OWSers or jihadi wannabes qualify for press credentials? How about those idiots who post videos of getting their balls smashed?

C’mon, I don’t like the TSA and their security theater either but, get off the 1st Amendment violation grievance train, please.

walkingboss on July 29, 2012 at 11:04 PM

I also avoid flying whenever possible. That’s why travel is down, not the recession.

Lately tho since all the planes are full and leaving about the same time, the TSA cannot molest as many people as they did previously; there would be a riot in the security line. It’s sooooo unpleasant and crowded. This won’t change until the airlines lose so much money that even the govt can’t bail them out.

PattyJ on July 30, 2012 at 12:15 PM

” A normal journalist and a professional journalist would know to go to management office, get a permit, [say] who you are, what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. Then they escort you, and you are able to execute your First Amendment rights.”

Why does this sound like it came out of the script of Casablanca – with (Claude Rains) Captain Renault speaking to (Bogart) Rick and (Bergman) Ilsa.

Or perhaps downtown Beijing today? But not a Chicago train station in 2012…… egads!!!

Pecozbill on July 30, 2012 at 1:05 PM