Police and Transportation Security Administration officials are proving to be clueless about TSA’s policy regarding photography and videography at airport checkpoints.
The latest incident comes to us from Nashville International Airport where an airport police officer confronts a man who is openly videotaping the checkpoint area from a respectable distance, meaning he was not physically interfering.
“I believe it is a security violation and I can arrest you for it,” the cop tells the man.
The man informs the cop that the policy is clearly stated on the TSA website; that you are allowed to photograph and film the checkpoint area as long as you do not interfere.
We don’t prohibit public, passengers or press from photographing, videotaping, or filming at screening locations. You can take pictures at our checkpoints as long as you’re not interfering with the screening process or slowing things down. We also ask that you do not film or take pictures of our monitors.
However… while the TSA does not prohibit photographs at screening locations, local laws, state statutes, or local ordinances might. Your best bet is to call ahead and see what that specific airport’s policy is.
The cop confiscates the man’s iPhone, then walks over to a uniformed TSA official and asks about the policy.
Fortunately, that TSA official knew the policy, so the officers ended up having to return the camera and apologize to the man.
However, in another incident in Hartford, Conn., the TSA official did not know about the policy and had to be informed by the TSA public affairs office, which can be reached at (571) 227-2829, a number that should be plugged into your cell phone.