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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