TSA Screeners Continue to Lie to Passengers About Legality of Recording at Checkpoints

By now, it is becoming clear that TSA screeners know that recording is allowed at security checkpoints in airports, they just choose to tell passengers that it is not allowed with the hope that the passenger will not know any better.

No different than the routine we see from police and security guards on a daily basis.

After all, the policy has been in effect since the inception of the Transportation Security Administration in 2002 and numerous videos have surfaced where TSA screeners have been forced to acknowledge that recording at checkpoints is allowed.

And you would think that someone would mention it to them in their training considering the TSA has had the information posted on its blog in very easy-to-read language since 2009.

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.

In the above video recorded earlier this month at an airport that I didn’t see mentioned, a mother begins recording as TSA screeners attempt to frisk her daughter who is in a wheelchair.

The girl who appears to be around three is crying and saying she doesn’t want to go to Disney World, so you can imagine how scared she must have been.

The mother starts video recording and the TSA screener tells her it is illegal to record.

The mother continues recording, saying nobody is going to touch her daughter unless she records it.

The screeners eventually back down from harassing her.

But the mother was obviously intimidated from recording their faces, which is something we all must learn to do when we find ourselves in such a situation.

This is at least the third time in less than a year that a video has emerged of TSA screeners attemping to frisk children in wheelchairs.

But it is the umpteenth time they’ve tried to tell passengers that video recording is illegal.

UPDATE: Fox News has more details on the incident.

The incident happened on Feb. 9th at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport.

Forck and his wife Annie, along with their three children were heading to Disney World for a family vacation. Lucy, their three-year-old, has Spina bifida and is confined to a wheelchair.

The family managed to make it through the TSA checkpoint without any problems. But as they prepared to walk to their gate, a TSA agent pulled aside Lucy for additional screening measures.

“They specifically told me that they were singling her out for this special treatment because she’s in a wheelchair,” he told Fox News. “They are specifically singling out disabled people for this special scrutiny. It’s rather offensive to me as a father of a disabled child.”

The agent said they needed to pat down Lucy and swab her wheelchair – even though both had already gone through the checkpoint.

Forck’s wife started filming the entire episode – over the objections of the TSA agent.

“You can’t do touch my daughter unless I record it,” she can be heard telling the agent.

The agent replied by telling the parents “It is illegal to do that.”


About Carlos Miller

Carlos Miller is founder and publisher of Photography is Not a Crime, which began as a one-man blog in 2007 to document his trial after he was arrested for photographing police during a journalistic assignment. He is also the author of The Citizen Journalist's Photography Handbook, which can be purchased through Amazon.

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  • jim morriss

    She’s obviously a terrorist just look at those shifty eyes and listen to the lies. See how she avoids having her picture made. The little girl is definitely terrorized. Oh wait that is the TSA agent “just doing my job…”

  • MM06840

    They will keep doing this as long as the sheeple put up with it. Dont fly!! If no one flew for a week there would be changes.

    • Tom

      a. For many people it’s not practical not to fly (work, family).
      b. Why should I give up my right to fly just because a terrorist organization took over the nation’s airports and their people harass law abiding citizens? Not flying is not the answer!! Write to your congressperson and ask them to stop those bullies!!

      • Won Word

        The answer is to get the terrorist organization defunded so we can go back to the days of minimal, private security (which was enough to keep stupid criminals off the planes). Once the TSA has no cash, they will be no threat to our way of life.

      • $196759

        So YOUR answer is begging and pleading to the very people who set this system up in the first place? Good plan. Like mice pleading with the cat to be a vegetarian.

      • mick

        Just do what i do everytime i fly. AND I AM NOT FULL OF BS WHEN I SAY I DO THIS. Dont go threw the body scaner (yes you can object but they will pat you down). When they pat you down just say messed up stuff like. Yeah touch my ass queer, yeah i like tthat wanna make out after, dont forget to check my balls again they liked it. And my favorite when thwy finish the pat down just drop your pants (make sure you have underwear on) and bent over and tell them they better check deep… it not only pisses them off there is really nothing they can do about any of it (by definition of law not indecent exposer) and it is funny to everyone that hears it.
        Ps just wear underwear that isnt see threw and doessnt let your junk pop out. That can get you in trouble acording to the cop that i had laughing the first time i did it. Other then that your good (women i dont know about you doing the pant drop esp if your wearing a thog).

        • isnamthere

          You’d better be careful, they may very well want to check it DEEP.

    • Milo Brooks

      Unfortunately, I’m an international student in a highly intensive programme. If I didn’t fly, it would be another year entirely until I could see my family again, or longer. I refuse to lose the chance to see my family.

      Boycotting the airlines wouldn’t even target the TSA first and foremost, only alter prices for those who still HAVE to fly. However, things like this article are what have them by the bollocks. Things are changing, believe it or not. It’s little by little, but it IS changing.

      • $196759

        Changing? Don’t be a sap, sister. It’s changing, all right — getting worse.

    • http://neville6000.deviantart.com/ Neville Ross

      This would be easy if the USA had high-speed rail connections, but it does not so unfortunately, the idea won’t really ‘fly’. Maybe what you need to do is get your Congressperson to start building said rail.

      • Difdi

        Given the VIPR program, what makes you think high speed rail would be TSA-free?

        • http://neville6000.deviantart.com/ Neville Ross

          It might not be as intensive as it is with airlines.

          • Saul B

            You’re too optimistic.

          • http://neville6000.deviantart.com/ Neville Ross

            Maybe, but from what I’ve seen in the commercial for the Acela train, it doesn’t look as if it’s a problem.

          • Saul B

            The TSA has set up shop at Amtrak stations from time to time over the past several years.

    • Gordon Freeman

      No, much more practical to FILM IT, OPT OUT, and COMPLAIN.

      Although, I am thinking I should run for office, my sole campaign point? End the TSA.

      • Frank Ney

        This legislative cycle will be rather interesting. Five states I’m aware of are proposing criminal penalties directed at this kind of TSA activity. I would love to see videos like this ending with the freedom fluffer taking the perp walk, bonus points if TASERed for resisting arrest.

      • Won Word

        You have my vote

    • Pete

      I already don’t fly to the USA. It’s one of the only countries I refuse to
      visit. As long as their immigration policy sides with paranoia over basic human
      decency I have no reason to visit.

      • http://neville6000.deviantart.com/ Neville Ross

        Same here. I refuse to go to the USA for sci-fi conventions as it is, and I’m surprised that my sister and brother in law can even go to New York the way that they do.

      • Colin

        Oh please. At least the USA allows immigration from essentially every other country on earth. And if you emigrate to the USA, once you become a citizen, you have exactly the same rights-property, voting, etc. as every other citizen. If I moved to mexico, and even if I became a citizen, I could NEVER buy property in mexico. I can visit Switzerland, but it’s almost impossible to move there-the essentially don’t want to share their sandbox.

        • Difdi

          You’re mistaken. Naturalized citizens do NOT have all of the rights every other citizen does.

          Most people are more likely to win a multi-million dollar lottery than get a chance to APPLY for immigration to the U.S., and such an application is not guaranteed to succeed.

          Read this, it’s an eye-opener: http://reason.com/assets/db/07cf533ddb1d06350cf1ddb5942ef5ad.jpg

          • dibs1987

            Or you can just cross the border illegally, have a baby or two and get all the benefits of citizenship for free.

        • Swissmule

          You are mistaken sir, you may want to do a bit of research before you go popping of about 1. the ‘100 year lease’ pertaining to property in Mexico was lifted several years ago and you can buy property in Mexico 2) “Essentially every other country on earth” cannot immigrate to the United States, as a matter of fact, except for a handful of countries that have treaties with the U.S. it is extremely difficult to obtain a tourist visa. 3) It is quite simple to move to Switzerland if you have a job with any number of the Big Pharma or GMO companies or if you wish to shelter/ wash your misbegotten fortune with any number of banks, holding co.s , corporate ‘mail boxes’ or choose from many other ‘shelter’ schemes courtesy of the Swiss Government.

    • walter conell

      I’ve been saying the exact same thing for years. It must be done in huge numbers, but no one wants to be put out. Their rights are not important enough. To put up with it means you approve of it.

      • isnamthere

        You are absolutely correct. Just like a national work stoppage would snap some govt./corporate heads around very quickly, a strike against airlines would have their ceo’s crying loudly to the govt. to ease up on the TSA crap. But you are also correct in noting that most people won’t stand up for themselves.

    • in4mation

      States can opt of the TSA but not under Obama. Too many union jobs at stake.


  • Shawn

    Carlos, the link to the TSA’s blog doesn’t work.

    • Frank Ney

      You don’t really need to visit Propaganda Village to read Blogdad Bob’s drivel.

      • Won Word

        I’m just glad the guy found a job post-Saddam.

  • Dan Sayers

    That was disturbing to watch… Hell, all TSA videos are disturbing to watch. But it’s very necessary that it was recorded. When a child off the cuff says they do not want to go to Disney World, what further proof do we need that the TSA is not just unconstitutional, but evil? Our children aren’t allowed to have a childhood because the federal government continues to overstep their Constitutional authority to indoctrinate them from a very early age to be mindless servants of the state.

    • Sally

      So Dan, you got from an ignorant agent to idoctrination in one tiny step! Bravo. And where were you when the Patriot Act was passed the first time? Hiding behind “Bush keeps us safe?”

      • Zach

        I missed where Dan said anything about “Bush.” He seems to be something you like to hide behind. If Dan is against the TSA, it would logically follow that he is not a supporter of the former administration’s “anti-terrorism” policies. I understand that making this connection would require a basic level of intelligence. Perhaps you’re just not there yet.

      • Ammyth

        George Bush.

        Q.E.D. bitches! (At least some seem to think so.)

      • Ron Rugg

        Hmmm seems like Dan struck a nerve in one of the brainwashed, TV viewing minions. I’ll bet I’ll bet Sally would put up with anything the government does to her just for a false sense of security. “But, but it’s for our safety”… how sad is that?

      • Cole Johnson

        geez sally shut up! whats done is done! wake up we are in 2013! and obummer is the terorrist now!

    • Little Bright Feather

      AMEN ! The TSA along with all the other 1200 “Federal agencies” are all UN-Constitutional to begin with and no Federal anything has any authority or jurisdiction outside of their own DC borders ! Everyone needs to know that ! Then all this stuff would stop ! It does not matter that DC does not recognize or follow the Constitution anymore, actually since 1861, but as long as we the people use the Constitution as OUR law, DC cannot do a thing about it ! Then the PEOPLE are in control ! The Constitution and our Bill of Rights – USE THEM OR LOSE THEM ! There is no such thing as “Federal law” over or in the States ! DC can only make law for their own DC area, not the states ! Get this info out to the public – knowledge is power ! And in this case it’s also FREEDOM. Stand up to the Feds ! They have no right to be in our states at all – much less operate and dictate in them !

  • Tijuana Joe

    Flyertalk has a long thread about this.

    They can’t just say “photography is prohibited” near checkpoints because that

    would be immediately challenged as a First Amendment violation.

    So they dilute it with this “Slowing things down” clause.

    For example, what if uninformed TSA/cops slow things down in response

    to (legally protected) filming by causing a commotion (like in the Mocek case)? Is that your fault? Hell no.

    Don’t fall for their BS.

    • http://www.theretaildetail.us/ Amy Barnes

      I was photographing a Federal building outside (the ACLU has already fought, and won, a challenge to snapping pics of federal buildings) and one guard tried to detain me. I just laughed and walked off – I was on the public sidewalk. I’ve been snapping pics for over ten years now, no one is going to tell me I cannot take pictures in public places.

    • http://www.theretaildetail.us/ Amy Barnes

      WE the people can condition THEM by not only exercising our rights, but deliberately trying to aggressively use them as much as possible to condition THEM to our right to photography.

      ANY time I see a badge or a uniform, the camera is being made ready. There was one time where an angry SWAT team member tried to demand that I not interview or tape people saying that they’d heard gun shots at the Sportsline Bar and Grill on Windy Hill Road (Smyrna, GA). I immediately went back home to post my footage online on my blog. YouTube will take stuff down, the police are sorry outta luck with a private blog. Post, post, post. And don’t EVER back down.

  • Gordon Freeman

    CARLOS, you made FARK.com, which is only second to being on O’Really?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_IC7WKE2FK5GHVMDT6OTQHE7BQY MITCHELL

    Why not make the TSA post a flyers bill of rights in giant bold sign right where it can be not only seen but pointed to in every screening station? Every screener should carry a busimess card that can be requested with a date and time stamp that can be used for info when filing a complaint and that person can be fired for lying on the job like the rest of us.

    • $196759

      Bill of rights? Are you NUTS????? The whole damn operation is a violation of THE Bill of Rights, 4th amendment re: unreasonable searches.

  • https://twitter.com/lemonchronicle Elizabeth

    Being payed to lie, deceive, trickery. How could anyone keep doing that to a person day in and day out?

  • $196759

    I think we need to publish photos of TSA personnel, along with their names and addresses, and let nature take its course.

  • leo

    i was in pharmaceutical sales for 12 years, flying weekly across the U.S. until 2 years ago i resigned and took a job where i didn’t have to fly… because of the TSA. i got tired of uneducated, rude, and harassing TSA agents (really should just be called security guards) treating me and everyone else like cattle, and third class citizens. The last straw came when an old man in the Georgia mountains gave me a small jar of his homemade peach jam, that the TSA confiscated just before i was fondled head to toe. I gave up my career in sales because of them, which was not easy.

  • bobby

    police state and you dummies allow this to happen all in the name of so called terrorists sheeple you deserve what you get!

  • mark gershman

    i have a relative who works for the tsa. She is educated, professional, well trained , and considerate. This is more than i can say about many of those commenting here on this subject.

    • James

      And yet clearly she is one of the few. I have traveled coast to coast through the year, and I have never met an agent I would consider intelligent when I try to explain the concept of a human being with fake knees. They all stare at me as if I am somehow speaking another alien language.

      I have fake knees, no, I wont go through your new scanner, yes I will happily walk through the metal detector, No, I will not take off my shoes as it is not required and it is painful, sure you can give me an extra pat down, no, you will not fondle my knees as they hurt constantly, if you do you have been warned I will scream at the top of my lungs. Yes I will film the entire walkthrough of the TSA, no it is not illegal, yes, get your supervisor since you clearly cannot read the paper printed from your own companies website.

      This is just a sample of the shit I put up with each time I fly.

    • isnamthere

      You forgot to add “peeping tom” and “pedophile.”

  • pnutbrand

    They ask you where you’re from and where you going to gain a dominant role and gain control in the situation/conversation! Once they say “first off, where are you traveling too” and you politely respond they have gained a psycological advantage over you and put you into a more submissive mind set.

    Stay firm with these Tyrannical Sexual Assailants! Keep your mind in the game for that’s all this is and they are winning.

    Also I know and understand you’re trying to make this less scary and uncomfortable for your child but telling her she is “special” in the high pitched mommy voice and that she gets this treatment for being special is quite dangerous in my opinion. Truly special people are treated with respect as should anyone be, but these TSA people are sick child molesting/sexual predator criminals and innocent children do not deserve this kind of “special treatment”!

    • cesca_nz

      so first off where am I traveling to – I can legally reply – its none of your business? OR, you clearly cannot read its printed on my ticket!! LOL

      • http://www.theretaildetail.us/ Amy Barnes

        My response, if the person has attitude, is “I cannot confirm, nor deny anything at this time.”

  • James Daubney

    Although disturbing. If that person was an al-quida (sp?) American suicide bomber/terrorist and that wheelchair was filled with explosives who would you blame then? When the terrorists see that they won’t check a child’s wheelchair where do you think the next plane bomb will be? Sad that it has come to this but it’s just what needs to be done to have secure air travel in 2013. Sorry if that pisses someone off but that’s the way it has to be. And yes, filming should be tolerated, what’s the big deal?

    • Justin Case

      Life is dangerous, I’ll take my chances with freedom. Now P!55 OFF you coward.

    • Saul B

      Well, James, just this past weekend a terrorist blew up a Pakistani market, killing scores.

      So I take it that you’ll have no problem being frisked the next time you go grocery shopping? It’s a scary world out there, you know?

      • isnamthere

        Don’t give morons like this any ideas. He’ll be calling his congressman asking why we aren’t frisking people going in and out of stores.

  • James Daubney

    All you people who are making the sarcastic remarks and saying stupid shit, will all fade into the woodwork when a plane blows up because some TSA agent didn’t check a child or a wheelchair. Do you think a terrorist cares if they use a child as their instrument of destruction? Not for a minute, they are all going to get 72 virgins remember. So get off your high horse and just admit that these things have to be done to have safe air travel.

    • cesca_nz

      So james – how much do the jews pay you to be one of their megaphonies??

    • gaijingeisha

      Seriously? Get off your own high horse and admit you are too much of a coward to stand up against the inappropriate fondling, scanning and groping of the disabled, the elderly and the young. You feel your security is somehow enhanced by these pathetic charades when in reality the security comes from the willingness of those on board any plane to stand up and fight for their very lives if someone should ever again attempt to hijack a plane. We would all be better off flying with a plane load of armed passengers. I and many others like me will not set foot in an American airplane or airport. We will take our tourism and our business to a country that respects both our money and our dignity.

    • Saul B

      James, please tell me one incident, ever, worldwide, where a wheelchair was used to smuggle in a bomb onto a plane.

      Just one, it’s all I ask.

    • isnamthere


  • Ron Rugg

    This is absolutely disgusting!

    Just how long are the American sheeple going to put up with this sort of BS?!?! If you put up with this sort of crap then you’re part of the problem, PLAIN & SIMPLE. Every decent, reasonable American should outraged by this sort of treatment of it’s citizens by our ever increasingly abusive government. We should all REFUSE to fly for any reason and let it be known why we’re refusing to fly. If enough of the public did this the airlines would lose a lot of money and they would pressure the government to stop this sort of abuse. Money talks, very loudly. I’m not saying get rid of all airport screening by any any means but when the screening becomes abusive then it’s time to stop. Do you really feel safer because the TSA abuses, harasses or traumatizes the elderly, disabled and/or children? If you do then there is definitely something wrong with you. Why hasn’t there been a massive public outcry about this? Have we become so brainwashed that we believe that this sort of treatment is normal and just for our safety?

    • Saul B

      >> Have we become so brainwashed that we believe that this sort
      >> of treatment is normal and just for our safety?

      Sadly, many have.

  • Justin Case

    I find it difficult to feel bad for a people who allow this. What kind of man would allow his wife and kids to go through a checkpoint and be touched by another? What kind of mother would allow the same. All this would stop if the American people would just refuse to use ANY service that the TSA was at. The airlines would not put up with it if they had no passengers and the government would cave. When I see children being touched by the strangers and then crying I blame the parents. I don’t blame the TSA because those people are traitors and are doing their treasonous jobs but for a parent to allow this…? What kind of man wants his vacation sooooooo bad that he would allow his family to use the airport? He is not a man, he is a coward, a pile of filth not worthy to call him self a man. He is a male, the worst kind of thing on this Earth.

  • apeman2502

    The uniform convinces the TSA that they have the exclusive right to video tape their molesting people before taking the videos home to review to improve their grasp of molesting for the highest result. They refuse to arrest war criminals, the Israeli 9-11 WTC/jet impact video producers allowed back into the U.S., Fukushima saboteurs, etc.. That makes them molesters. A three year old child will not try to hide Wall Street looters in their underwear. The FBI has arranged EVERY terrorism attempt in the U.S. since 9-11. The Ministry of Unnatural Acts.

  • Michael Blitch

    I flew through Orlando last night on the way to South America. As I approached the security line a guard walked up and asked was was in my bag, what I did for a living, etc. I said I’ll answer direct questions required by law but I’m not interested in making small talk. He said I was then being officially randomly selected for screening. Literally standing there in socks and a T-shirt in the cold for an hour as they went through everything claiming a swab of my hands ‘alerted’. They were professional about things, probably because they later noticed I had my iPhone recording as I even approached security. They didn’t notice it until they started going through the stuff in my vest on the table. Their tone and stiffness did change a noticeable amount after asking ‘are we being recorded?’ and they started having conversations away from the table. Throughout the time i saw people conferiing and motioning to my stuff. When a new agent would wander by or start to say something someone would pull them away and motion to my stuff where the iPhone had been out recording. I know the local cop was called over at some point and i can only suspect they were trying to find something with which to make my experience miserable or even make a ‘wiretapping’ claim. I can only hope someone higher up eventually set them straight, so the issue never came up heck maybe theyve by now been told it was legal. I even stepped on some old broach that had been dropped by someone, causing a puncture wound that drew some blood. Nice for them to eventually get a bandage from an EMT even though I had my full med kit with my stuff on the pile in front of me, which I could not touch. It just reinforces why I despise the inefficient ‘security theater’ called the TSA.

  • http://www.facebook.com/GRANDWORLDDRAMA Keith Mallett

    take the TSA down!

  • J.T.

    Americans will have to grow up someday. Stop flying. When the airlines know people wont fly, they will kick the TSA out of their terminals. STOP FLYING, STOP FLYING, STOP FLYING.

  • http://www.theretaildetail.us/ Amy Barnes

    WE the people can condition THEM by not only exercising our rights, but deliberately trying to aggressively use them as much as possible to condition THEM to our right to photography.

    ANY time I see a badge or a uniform, the camera is being made ready. There was one time where an angry SWAT team member tried to demand that I not interview or tape people saying that they’d heard gun shots at the Sportsline Bar and Grill on Windy Hill Road (Smyrna, GA). I immediately went back home to post my footage online on my blog. YouTube will take stuff down, the police are sorry outta luck with a private blog. Which makes me wonder about the reasoning behind the mythical “internet off switch” people are talking about Obama wanting to be able to use.

    Anyway, see police? Take pictures. Then post, post, post. And don’t EVER back down. Because once it’s public, it’ll be harder for them to file suit to get an order for a take-down.

    The only really sticky point for me is peoples’ faces – if it’s “the crowd,” as in the general public, I avoid faces, just my personal prefs. If someone asks that I delete a picture of them, and they are NOT the police, I generally will comply out of respect for that person’s request for privacy. The police have earned NO such accord from me with their aggression.

  • Lefim

    The incident is being shown on “Hannity” just after 9:50 ET mark (same show on again after midnight) and Hannity stated TSA has apologized, stating faulty training and unclear guidelines, though he feels it sounds a bit insincere.

  • jmj
  • TxCwbyTrue


    The TSA released the following statement about the incident:

    TSA regrets inaccurate guidance was provided to this family during screening and offers its apology. We are committed to maintaining the security of the traveling public and strive to treat all passengers with dignity and respect.

    Forcks said he had not decided if he was going to file an official complaint.

    • Saul B

      An “official complaint” against the TSA.

      Now that’s a good one.

  • http://uncensored.citadel.org/ IGnatius T Foobar

    This video is a very good example of why Obama IS the Hitler of our era.

  • Cole Johnson

    tell you what tsa, you bring your children here for me to grope and humiliate ,while you search mine!

  • Sami

    Okay. Regardless of the legality of filming..the child should get over it. If she can’t go through the scanner…she has to be frisked. Unless someone carries her through the scanner..she should get frisked. If the child had a bomb sitting under her butt and the plane blew up, people would be blaming TSA for not being thorough enough. The people shouldn’t have made a big deal about the mom video taping…but seriously the child should have been soothed by her mother and told that the men were gonna search her.

  • Joe

    Discriminating against people with disabilities is a violation of the Citzens with Disabilities Act