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Opinion: Has Big Brother Gone Too Far?

| December 30, 2009, 12:28 PM | 0 Comments

TSA In A Tizzy Over Security Directive

This has no real local connection, but there may be some national ramifications. In a nutshell, a colleague of mine, Christopher Elliott,  has been following the events succeeding the Christmas bombing attempt of the Northwest Airlines flight in Detroit.

In his quest for clarification of the new “rules”, he ran into a roadblock. The Transportation Security Agency would not discuss them.  In an effort to keep his readers informed, he posted a story about the TSA telling travelers one thing and airlines another. This was followed up with an update based on information given to him from an airline directive which required airline personnel to perform pat down searches. And finally, he was able to obtain  and publish the full text of SD 1544-09-06 authorizing pat down searches of passengers.

As a journalist, he did it all by the book. He requested clarification from the TSA, he contacted his sources, and finally, was able to obtain the document.

But now, the TSA is upset that someone published the document (which was ridiculous and is set to expire in a few hours in any event) and wants some answers.

Last night, Mr. Elliott (and at least one other journalist) saw black sedans pull in front of their homes complete with Federal agents armed with subpoenas demanding that this journalist disclose his source. And while still unconfirmed, I have heard that another journalist has already had his computers seized.

What do you think? Has big brother gone too far? What is the purpose? They distributed the directive to airlines and their employees. Why can’t the public know? I am interested in your opinion.

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