The TSA Calls Off the Dogs.

by Little Miss Attila on December 31, 2009

Reynolds has the summary, and a few links. I’m buying the doormat, for sure.

Flying with Fish (Steve Frischling’s blog):

Yesterday was an interesting day, which I really wish had happened to someone else. At 10:30am two Transportation Security Administration Special Agents returned to my home and removed my laptop from my house. The TSA was looking for the email address of the person who sent me Security Directive SD-1544-09-06. I did not have the email address and knew it was not on my hard-drive, however the computer was removed to be searched by a Secret Service computer forensics expert. The search yielded nothing.

What worries me is this…and not for my own security and freedom…but for the safety of the traveling public which the TSA is charged with protecting. Why was I assigned two high-ranking TSA Special Agents?

One Special Agent, out of Boston, served with Secret Service for more than 30 years and has also served in the role of Director of Counter Terrorism & Law Enforcement with the U.S. Attorney’s Office. The other Special Agent, from New Jersey, served more than 20 years with the Secret Service, leaving the Secret Service in the position of Assistant Special Agent In Charge of the New York Field Office, and then going onto work as a Deputy Director of Global Security.

The agent from Boston joined the TSA as a Special Agent in October 2009; the agent from New Jersey also joined the TSA as a Special Agent in 2009.

I understand the TSA’s concern in finding their internal leak, however as much of the media has reported, the TSA appears to be using a heavy handed tactic in coming after Chris Elliot and myself regarding this issue. These two agents, with more than a combined history of 50 years of working as Secret Service investigators, may be better tasked to dealing with matters of direct national security issues.

The Department of Homeland Security could have better allocated its resources of two clearly senior investigators researching something more befitting their experience and expertise. The Department of Homeland Security could have better allocated its resources in having a Secret Service computer forensics specialist travel more than 100 miles to image my hard-drive.

When the TSA removed my laptop from my home, my computer and system was functioning perfectly. Shortly before the TSA returned to my home they called me to tell me that the Secret Service computer forensic investigator was encountering many ‘bad sectors’ in my hard drive. Upon checking my MacBook following its return, and running Disk Utility it appears that I have many bad sectors in my hard drive, countless errors in my operating system, my MacBook will not synch with Time Machine to be backed up, my audio is no longer working and a red-light inside my audio jack is on constantly.

Chris Elliott‘s travel blog:

I also just spoke with Steve Frischling, who had also been served with a subpoena in connection with the security directive. He says he received a phone call from a deputy chief counsel for enforcement at the DHS to let him know he was off the hook and that the agency had offered to buy him a new computer. His previous computer had been damaged after Frischling consented to a search of his computer and hard drive.

Needless to say, I’m delighted by this turn of events.

TSA did the right thing by withdrawing its subpoena. Perhaps it has bigger problems to worry about?

(To follow on Twitter, try TSA and #TSAfail.)

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Joe January 1, 2010 at 9:21 am

Words fail. Stuff like this is not major in itself, not to make light of what these guys had to deal with because I am sure it was major to them at the time, but it is so September 10th in scope. A disaster will happen if this crap continues.

What the hell is wrong with the TSA? Seriously, how friggin stupid can they be?


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