Monday, August 16, 2010

UPDATED: TSA Does Not Want You Taking Photos Of Their Bearded "Islamic" Screeners

Author Dana Vachon, remembered by everyone the internet as the blogger turned novelist with a six figure publishing deal, is currently tweeting about his troubles at JFK airport.

According to Vachon, whose Twitter account is mostly a kind of fictitious novel via Twitter, the TSA ordered him to delete a photo he took "...of a bearded Islamic security guard at JFK."

Ordered to delete the photo or face police action and confiscation of his iPhone, Vachon protested, asking what law allowed them to force him to delete a photo. The TSA asked him if he "supported the 'battle' against terrorism."

Asked if this account was true, Vachon confirmed it was. "Entirely," he said, continuing, "...and they never cited the law that allows them to make you delete photos."

Moments later, in a show of defiance or an exercise of his rights, (or both!) he tweeted one photo of the security agent that he did not delete. It seems that photos of TSA agents are frowned upon, though as seen here on NYC The Blog, you are free to take photos of the bins used to store your items as they enter the xray machine.

Vachon expained he took the photo of the agent because it "embodied the glorious ridiculousness of post-9/11 life." Explaining to TSA why he wanted the photo, Vachon wrote, " day people would want to know how we lived in 2010 and I hoped to show them."

The series of tweets describing this encounter has been preserved here.

UPDATE:The New York Times reaches the TSA for comment: "A spokesman for the T.S.A. said that he was not familiar with the episode at Kennedy and that the agency did not prohibit photos at security checkpoints, except in the case of the computer scanner’s screen itself. However, it would not be uncommon for officers, who are on the lookout for suspicious behavior, to talk with a photographer to find out why he or she was taking pictures."

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