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Censorship The Courts United States

TSA Withdraws Subpoenas Against Bloggers 125

Posted by timothy
from the oh-was-that-my-outdoor-voice? dept.
wwphx writes "In the wake of public outcry against the Transportation Security Administration for serving civil subpoenas on two bloggers, the government agency has canceled the legal action and apologized for the strong-arm tactics agents used."
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TSA Withdraws Subpoenas Against Bloggers

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  • Re:"Whoops, sorry" (Score:5, Informative)

    by Daetrin (576516) on Friday January 01, 2010 @04:28PM (#30615946)
    "We'll try again later and hope the public doesn't pay attention the next time."
  • Re:And of course... (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 01, 2010 @04:38PM (#30616018)
    Darn right. No, I do not consent to any search. Am I free to go? Lawyer. Those are pretty much the only things you should ever say. For why you should never talk to the police ( a class from law school), go here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6wXkI4t7nuc [youtube.com] And support the http://aclu.org/ [aclu.org]
  • by Animats (122034) on Friday January 01, 2010 @05:50PM (#30616434) Homepage

    As I mentioned yesterday [slashdot.org]. the subpoena probably wasn't valid. Once one of the recipients announced he would challenge it in court, the TSA probably withdrew it because they were going to look even dumber when a Federal judge threw it out.

    There are some real questions about a law enforcement organization having administrative subpoena power. In criminal investigations, subpoenas should come from a judge. Congress has repeatedly refused FBI requests for that power. I don't think that Homeland Security has it, either. But regulatory agencies with narrow remits often have it, so they can demand records relevant to whatever they regulate. The Department of Transportation had it for use in safety investigations and such. Typically they'd be asking for maintenance records.

    When Homeland Security picked up the Transportation Safety Agency from the Department of Transportation, they got DoT's administrative subpoena authority in the transfer. That's what Homeland Security was trying to use here. That clearly went beyond Congressional intent. And in any case, the subpoena hadn't been approved by one of the short list of people authorized to approve it.

  • Re:And the lesson is (Score:2, Informative)

    by mysidia (191772) on Friday January 01, 2010 @06:18PM (#30616596)

    According to the article it was a civil subpoena.

    And TSA agents are not police officers.

    Obstruction of justice is apparently not applicable to civil matters..

    The penalty for failure to comply with a subpoena depends on the jurisdiction/court that issued it, and usually some warning of that effect would be on the document.

  • by Animats (122034) on Friday January 01, 2010 @10:59PM (#30618970) Homepage

    I'm not sure where you're getting the idea that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) wants to be able to serve other types of administrative subpoenas.

    From FBI Director Muller's testimony before Congress. [fbi.gov] It didn't work; Congress said no. [thenation.com]

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