Friday, January 28, 2011

New Mexico v. Phillip Mocek: A Quick Reminder on ID and Photography at TSA Checkpoints


***Update 1/30/2011 I referred to recent media coverage (which was all about Mr. Mocek's acquittal).  The purpose of the blog was to focus on TSA checkpoint procedures which have not changed- as some have assumed- and to provide a refresher on TSA procedures.

Mr. Mocek was charged by the Albuquerque Police Department with trespassing, disorderly conduct, refusing to obey an officer, and concealing identity.  He was acquitted.  In so far as Mr. Mocek wants to fly in the future, like other passengers, he will still need to produce ID or work cooperatively with TSOs to confirm his identity. 

TSA verification processes must proceed quickly and without interference. Any passenger holding a camera in the face of TSOs as they try verify identification should not be surprised if asked to step aside so that other passengers in line can be processed expeditiously without further disruption. 

TSA's goal is to ensure that all passengers who fly are checked against government watchlists. This can be achieved only if a passenger's identity is confirmed at the checkpoint.
***



A recent case - New Mexico v. Phillip Mocek - is making the news recently. The case stemmed from Mr. Mocek’s failure to cooperate with the instructions of Albuquerque police officers at the Albuquerque International Sunport Airport after interactions he had with TSA transportation security officers.

Mr. Mocek had a boarding pass, but would not produce ID when asked. As I've said before here on the blog, if you don’t have an ID, TSA will work with you to verify you are who you say you are. On the other hand, if you refuse to provide information, you will not be permitted to fly. This process had begun with Mr. Mocek, but was not completed. Without an ID that matches the individual holding the boarding pass, we can’t be sure the passenger has cleared government watchlists.

As far as photography, as I stated in a previous post, TSA does not prohibit photography at checkpoints as long as there is no interference with the screening process.  As TSOs were talking to Mr. Mocek to verify his identity, he was holding a camera up to film them and appeared to be trying to film sensitive security information related to TSA standard operating procedures on ID verification.  Such behavior interferes with the ordinary course of business at the checkpoint and may well delay other passengers.    

We are grateful for the support provided to TSA by the Albuquerque police.  

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team


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218 comments:

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Jim Huggins said...

Anonymous asks: I'm curious, was the verdicted appealed?

A criminal acquittal can't be appealed in court. Otherwise, prosecutors could indefinitely "punish" defendants by repeatedly forcing them to defend themselves in court against false charges (like these).

Anonymous said...

"Anonymous said...
im curious, was the verdicted appealed?
have there ever been any verdicts that have been given reversed in an appeals court?

February 7, 2011 3:58 PM"

Why would they appeal, and on what grounds?

Beyond being double jeopardy, the prosecution was handed its hat the last time around. Would you like to see them kiss their careers goodbye? Perhaps you should read up on our judicial system.

Anonymous said...

@Adrian: Some of the TSA officers make several false statements to the police. Will they be charged or disciplined for their actions?

Of course not.

Our Government Overlords wouldn't be allowed to jeopardize their continued employment at a few hundred thousand dollars a year per screener.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said:
"im curious, was the verdicted appealed?
have there ever been any verdicts that have been given reversed in an appeals court?"

This verdict will not be appealed and, if it were, would be rejected on the merits. The defense didn't even present evidence; the not guilty verdict was due entirely due to the insufficiency of the Government's case.

Additionally, the TSOs likely engaged in perjury when the videotape evidence is compared to sworn testimony.

Nope, you'll never hear from this case again unless it's Mr. Mocek suing the state and federal government.

Anonymous said...

I hope Mr. Mocek testifies before Congress about his ordeal. Lets add in Amy Sullivan from Time Magazine, the patriot pilot and the breast milk Mom. We need to get TSA's misdeeds in front of the American people.
Nothing like sunshine to cure rot and infection.

Anonymous said...

anon said:
"I hope Mr. Mocek testifies before Congress about his ordeal. Lets add in Amy Sullivan from Time Magazine, the patriot pilot and the breast milk Mom. We need to get TSA's misdeeds in front of the American people.
Nothing like sunshine to cure rot and infection."
so out of over 8 years for screening you have 4 witnesses that you want before congress. 100s of thousands of people are screened everyday across the country so that puts the number of people screened since tsa was made in the billions and you want to sight 4 or 5 witnesses, it could even be in the 100s. come on look at the big picture!

Anonymous said...

Yes, let's look at the big picture. TSA has inconvenienced billions of people, violated the constitutional rights of millions of people, egregiously personally violated at least dozens, destroyed or tried to destroy several lives, and caught exactly zero terrorists. There's your big picture!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said:
"Nothing like sunshine to cure rot and infection."
so out of over 8 years for screening you have 4 witnesses that you want before congress. 100s of thousands of people are screened everyday across the country so that puts the number of people screened since tsa was made in the billions and you want to sight 4 or 5 witnesses, it could even be in the 100s. come on look at the big picture!"

You know there's far more than four people who could testify about their mistreatment at the hands of the TSA. But we both knew that, didn't we? I'm trying lazy rhetorical phrasing like some of the others here.

Anonymous said...

Why do TSA employees continue to lie to the public and state that the TSA does not allow photography or video recording at the checkpoints?

http://www.independent.org/blog/index.php?p=9337

C from FT said...

Blogger Bob said:
"TSA's goal is to ensure that all passengers who fly are checked against government watchlists. This can be achieved only if a passenger's identity is confirmed at the checkpoint."

Please explain how looking at the ID that someone produces before they enter the checkpoint is tantamount to checking it against government watchlists.

Does your TDC (trained document checker) have the entire government watchlist database memorized? (Hint: the answer is no.)

Have you outfitted each of your TDCs with super-small, minature computer terminals that are hard-wired into their brains? (Hint: the answer is no.)

Is there any sort of real-time communication going back and forth between the TDC and someone at a computer terminal, checking each ID that's presented? (Hint: the answer is no.)

Are there methods that would prevent someone from purchasing an airline ticket under an assumed name, checking in and printing out that boarding pass at home, then scanning that boarding pass and using an image editing program to change the name to match the name displayed on their ID, then using that faked boarding pass to enter the TSA checkpoint? (Thus avoiding being tagged on any computer watch list... Hint: the answer is no.)

Since your document checkers don't know who's on the watch list, and it's relatively simple to bypass the watch list system to begin with, requiring one to produce ID doesn't make anybody any safer.

Really, Bob, who do you think you're fooling with this line of reasoning? "We've looked at your ID, and we're all safer because of it" is about as realistic as "I'm from the government, and I'm here to help"...

Anonymous said...

Bob said:
Blogger Bob said:
"TSA's goal is to ensure that all passengers who fly are checked against government watchlists. This can be achieved only if a passenger's identity is confirmed at the checkpoint."

Great, Bob. Good to know that the bombers you're looking for will be caught assuming they've attempted to bomb an aircraft in the past.

Seriously, seriously stupid.

notmy said...

As sad as it is that this is even a story it does provide some glimmer of hope.

Jim Huggins said...

If TSA's requirements for ID at checkpoints are so vital ... how, pray tell, did an 80-year old woman get through a TSA checkpoint with someone else's boarding pass, ending up in the wrong city?

Anonymous said...

West, this is an astonishingly unprofessional set of comments. Frankly, I'd have expected better from a PR professional than to refer to free English lessons and keep insinuating that there might have been technicalities in the trial that prevented a guilty verdict. Not guilty in a system with the presumption of innocence means the accused is innocent, just as the TSA often refuses to comment on allegations until they are proven or otherwise in court for legal reasons. For you to continue to imply guilt after a finding of not guilty is quite shocking.

Anonymous said...

Call your senator 24/7 and vote anyone that continues with this stazi force to exist out of office in both senate and house.Its up to all of us via vote to remove them.

The writeing of the TSA to the case that was found innocent in this blog speaks volumes of their authority even over a judicial proceeding.The arrest was unfounded and mr mocek should put forward a civil case and sue.

Anonymous said...

DJ said...
so photography at the checkpoint is permitted, so long as it does not capture the screening process?

that rings hollow, even for TSA..."


No, as along as it does not INTERFERE with the screening process. Reading is fundamental.

Anonymous said...

Why are TSA employees at ATL still threatening people with deliberate delays and/or arrest for attempting to document their experiences with the TSA?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BAWvd1Mzusg

Anonymous said...

So even though acquitted on ALL charges and it has been proven in a court of law that nobody is required to show ID to fly, you are telling us that TSA will NOT comply with the ruling? I smell another court case soon………………..

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