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Today a traveler going through the Albuquerque airport was detained and is reportedly in the process of arrest after politely refusing to show his ID. Phil Mocek, a Seattle area native, was traveling with his friend Jesse Gallagos when he politely declined to show ID to TSA agents.
According to reports from friend Ben Livingston, "Phil politely refused to show ID to the TSA employee. The TSA employee then called in a supervisor, and Phil started recording with his digital camera, which caused the supervisor to "freak out" and call the airport police. Approximately six police showed up in force, asked no questions, and told Phil he was being arrested for disturbing the peace."
Mr. Mocek had previously contacted the a TSA personnel at the Albuquerque International Sunport Airport(ABQ) to find out if photography was allowed, and was clearly told by local TSA officer Susanne Spencer that advance notification was recommended, but not required. "We only encourage individuals to contact TSA in advance so we can facilitate the photography," she wrote in an April 10, 2009 email. She subsequently reiterated that statement to Mr. Mocek on April 14. (FlyerTalk)
After Mr. Mocek was detained, "[Police] asked if he was with anyone, and he indicated he was flying with Jesse," said Mr. Livingston. "The police told Jesse he would also be arrested if he did not leave the compound. They demanded and received Jesse's ID, then drove him in a police cruiser off the airport property, where they informed him that he was banned from the property for 24 hours.
"I spoke with the Albuquerque jail and Phil hasn't been booked yet. He's still in the hands of the airport police... We are actively seeking help from anyone in Albuquerque who might be able to help... I'm hoping a local lawyer, or anyone local, might be able to get a little further."
Philosecurity contacted local authorities at 7:50PM on Sunday, Nov 15 2009, and confirmed that Mr. Mocek was still in custody and being "processed." Friend Ben Livingston provided some further perspectives on the issue, as follows:
"As Americans, we have the right to travel freely between the states... In America, we're supposed to defend against the government demanding our papers in order to travel. A lot of folks remember that in Germany, you had to show your papers in order to travel. Since 9/11, our government has implemented a policy that in order to make
things more 'safe' and 'secure,' they're going to force people to show their papers to get into the terminal to board the plane. The airlines don't necessarily require ID, although it's their right to decide who they do business with.
"As far as the federal government goes, demanding our papers in order to travel from state to state is actually a violation of our civil rights. If you're traveling into or out of the country, the federal government has a right to demand your papers. But if you're traveling interstate, you have a right to travel freely without interference from the federal government.
"In reality, ID checks don't make us safer. All of the terrorists on that 9/11 flight had valid ID. It's a fake security measure designed make us to feel safer. It's not actually intended to keep us safe. There are ways around it, too... Just last year TSA announced a new policy for the first time ever, which said that if you don't have your ID but you cooperate with TSA, show them credit cards etc, you can fly. So if you say you screwed up, it's cool. If you politely refuse for whatever reason to show ID, TSA will deny you access."
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