I just wrapped up a mild confrontation with several TSA agents at Terminal B in Logan. The situation was cooled off by a very gracious and friendly TSA supervisor. I had just passed security and decided I was going to take some photographs of screeners and passengers. I was confronted initially by one screener who told me I could not photograph the X-ray screen. I had not been doing so, but moved a little just to concede that inch of ground. Apparently the concern is with the settings displayed on the screen with “that kind of lens”. Sensitive security info, eh?
So, I moved to where it would be obvious that I could not be photographing the screen. Another screener then came over and told me I needed to “stay with my bags” (I had moved over one table and left my bags at the first table) and I told him I simply moved so as to make it clear I wasn’t photographing the security screen as his colleague had requested. A female TSA agent chimed in and told me I could not photograph “us” (meaning the agents). I then told the male agent they needed to get their rules straight, and began laying out some of the conflicting information I was receiving. This was not well received (they apparently aren’t used to being stood up to) and I continued to press the male agent and asked him for clarification – is this a rule, a law, or somebody’s personal preference? Could he be more specific? It began escalating slowly and he walked away. They didn’t seem to want to engage me for very long. So, I continued my nefarious activity. I then packed up my camera and began walking to the other side of the checkpoint and was “met” by a very nice man named “Bob” who introduced himself as a TSA “screening manager.” Their trick seemed to be to aggressively discourage me from taking photographs while never actually outright telling me I was violating a rule or law and not going far enough to actually try to stop me. But I admit I was quite friendly and cooperative and if I’d been firing off the camera in all their faces it might have been different. Who knows. I’ll write more later, but I need to catch this flight. I might try being a little more aggressive on my way back through, if I’m not too tired to spend a few hours in a detention cell here at Logan.
The interesting thing is, the photographs came out so poorly that I was deleting them as I went along.