Jim Taricani on the TSA Subpoenaing Bloggers About Their Sources
The Associated Press is reporting that the Transportation Security Agency is trying to force a pair of bloggers who reported on changes to TSA security procedures following Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab’s attempted bombing of a Christmas Day flight to Detroit to reveal their sources…
As the government reviews how an alleged terrorist was able to bring a bomb onto a U.S.-bound plane and try to blow it up on Christmas Day, the Transportation Security Administration is going after bloggers who wrote about a directive to increase security after the incident.I asked WJAR-TV’s (NBC10) Jim Taricani, who was sentenced to six-months of home confinement in 2004 for refusing to reveal the source of a videotape he received in connection with a Federal corruption investigation and who supports the passage of a Federal shield law for journalists, what he thought of the subpoenas. His reply was that…
TSA special agents served subpoenas to travel bloggers Steve Frischling and Chris Elliott, demanding that they reveal who leaked the security directive to them. The government says the directive was not supposed to be disclosed to the public.
Frischling said he met with two TSA special agents Tuesday night at his Connecticut home for about three hours and again on Wednesday morning when he was forced to hand over his lap top computer. Frischling said the agents threatened to interfere with his contract to write a blog for KLM Royal Dutch Airlines if he didn’t cooperate and provide the name of the person who leaked the memo.
These subpoenas are a perfect example for the need of a federal shield law that includes bloggers.
The “Free Flow of Information Act” that has passed the House of Representatives does not provide a privilege for bloggers. The bill pending in the Senate also does not include a privilege for bloggers.
In my opinion, bloggers are comparable to the pamphleteers of Colonial days, when the Founding Fathers fashioned the Freedom of Press clause in the First Amendment.
When bloggers gather, analyze and dispense information about our government, they should, in my opinion, be provided with a privilege to protect the sources of their information.