PATRIOT ACT - does it really allow this?


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BB62
October 26, 2004, 02:18 PM
A friend of mine travelled to ********** recently with his family (Americans since birth, of no discernable ancestry) and told me of a disturbing encounter which he attributed to the excesses of the Patriot Act.

I would very much appreciate some input from those more knowledgeable than myself **if his perception is reality**, and comments or citations on just what the Patriot Act changed.

I did not question him in minute detail about events, not thinking at the time that this was right up THR's member's alley, so excuse the fuzziness!

The story is this: He was taking pictures at some open air square (in Los Angeles I believe) in which there were a number of "art" pieces and/or architectural items of interest. He was approached by a presumed LE individual who asked that he stop taking pictures. He was then asked what he was taking pictures of, and for his driver's license. At some point in the "stop" more presumed LE people arrived, evidently of another agency.

My friend was asked what the derivation (ancestry) of his name was. He asked what was the problem and was told that he was taking pictures on Federal property, and that doing so was against the law. He said that no signs were posted to that effect. The serial number of his camera was recorded by the "officials".

Evidently the square has a prison and some sort of building housing legislators. My friend was told that had he been taking pictures facing the other direction, there would not have been a problem. He asked if he was going to be charged, and was told "no". He asked if he was going to be fined, and was told "no". He asked if his film was going to be confiscated and was told that "the law still considers that private property".

BTW, my friend is about 5 foot 5, heavyset, no tattoos or anything.

Are the official's actions described above something newly allowable because of the Patriot Act's passage? Is it illegal to take pictures of Federal Property? (I guess the Grand Canyon is off limits then! LOL) , and does doing so open you up to detainment and questioning?

I would greatly appreciate it if knowledgeable individuals can speak to the legality and source of powers used during the "incident", and if you like, what really does the Patriot Act allow?

As you might imagine, my friend turned away my suggestions of contacting his elected representatives and making noise, preferring to "spread the word" among coworkers about the evil Patriot Act (is it??).

I realize that most of us would be greatly irritated were we stopped as my friend was, so please don't simply chime in and agree.

If we can get some knowledgeable comments here about the matter, I would love to refer my friend to this thread for his reading pleasure!

Thanks!!


BB62

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Gordon Fink
October 26, 2004, 02:27 PM
This wasn’t a PATRIOT Act matter. However, under said act, a search warrant could easily be obtained in the “terrorism” investigation of your friend, his camera could be seized (perhaps without his knowledge), and he would be barred from discussing any of it.

~G. Fink

cordex
October 26, 2004, 02:30 PM
I've read many similar stories from photographers - both professional and amateur.

Very worrisome, but I'm tempted to test this if given a chance.

Zrex
October 26, 2004, 02:40 PM
Not being a smart ass, but you might want to ask some of the resident LEO's here like Coronach their opinion about this before you go and get your camera confiscated.

WT
October 26, 2004, 02:40 PM
Don't know if it is part of the Patriot Act but it happens quite often in the NYC area. They have discovered illegals taking pictures of important bridges, government buildings, tunnels, etc.

New Jersey Transit has a policy of no pictures of facilities or trains without a permit.

They want to extend the ban to NYC subways but Mayor Bloomberg is against that. He doesn't want tourists going thru a stop and frisk as part of their NYC experience.

Unlike the rest of the country, NYC & Northern NJ are still in Orange Alert. We still have National Guardsmen on duty protecting public areas.

cordex
October 26, 2004, 02:55 PM
Not being a smart ass, but you might want to ask some of the resident LEO's here like Coronach their opinion about this before you go and get your camera confiscated.
If I'm reading this right, you seem to be accusing Coronach of supporting this kind of police intimidation of photographers.

I've been on this board a little while now (since a few hours before it actually opened, in fact) and on TFL for a couple years before that. I've always enjoyed reading Coronach's posts in particular because from what I've read he's about as fine an officer as exists. I may not always agree with 100% of what he says, but I've never seen him unfairly rush to judgement or support overly statist laws. He presents a sane view from the other side of the badge and I respect him and his opinions highly. He routinely and calmly brings up good, valid points even when wrongly under attack by people who blindly hate all police. He's a Good Guy, and I'd buy him a drink any day.

This is not to say there aren't police apologists and statists on THR, but you really picked a poor example if I read you right.

Still, I'd love to ask Coronach's opinion. Mike, what do you think of this? Am I missing something? If I decide to take pictures of my local courthouse, should I leave my turban at home? ;)

Zrex
October 26, 2004, 03:01 PM
If I'm reading this right, you seem to be accusing Coronach of supporting this kind of police intimidation of photographers.

You are reading this wrong. The reason I put the disclaimer, "not being a smart ass" is because I am being serious. There are LEO's on this board who could probably give valuable advice on things like this. Just because I like to argue, and just because I may not agree with him on some subjects or dont always see eye to eye, does not mean that I do not value his opinion, ESPECIALLY when he works in a relevent field!

So, seriously, have people like Coronach received any guidance on things of this nature from their departments?


Still, I'd love to ask Coronach's opinion. Mike, what do you think of this? Am I missing something?

^^^^ That is what I meant by my post.

Cosmoline
October 26, 2004, 03:04 PM
Let's review the steps behind a terrorist plot

--Cell organized in the US
--Cell receives instructions to go to flight school and learn how to fly, but not land.
--FBI appraised of this, but ignores it
--Cell members assigned to a series of coordinated flights and given major targets in NYC and DC.
--Cell members board jets and thanks to FAR's are able to take them over with tiny box cutters and the assistance of the flight crews, as required by federal law.
--Cell members crash planes/fuel bombs into major buildings.

Federal response?

LET'S GET THOSE DARN PHOTOGRAPHERS!!

:D

Ktulu
October 26, 2004, 03:15 PM
We need a to pass a law banning certain types of "Assault Cameras." Kiss your auto winders and telephoto lens goodbye!

In a hand basket boys...in a hand basket!

cordex
October 26, 2004, 03:17 PM
I'm sorry for misunderstanding you, Zrex.

HankB
October 26, 2004, 04:00 PM
He was approached by a presumed LE individual who asked that he stop taking pictures. If I were approached by a presumed LE individual who began asking me questions, I would - politely - ask to see said individual's LE credentials.

buzz_knox
October 26, 2004, 04:11 PM
No, this has nothing to do with the Patriot Act. It happened more than once prior to the Patriot Act. It sounds more like an LE officer got a "bit" overzealous in his actions. Maybe he read one too many security alerts about individuals (including Arabs wanted by the FBI for illegal entry) photographing such items as power facilities, bridges, dams, etc.

mack69
October 26, 2004, 04:12 PM
One thing in the story bothers me.....the fact that you mentioned presumed LE's...WTH is that?? Did your friend not have the stones to ask for ID?? This is not a part of the Patriot act...If those guys were LEO's they may just be hyped up by their departments due to all the publicity of "terrorists" taking pictures of important buildings, attractions etc....

riverdog
October 26, 2004, 05:32 PM
Everyone knows you don't go to Dzerzhinsky Square with a camera and start taking pictures of KGB Headquarters. Where you been all your life?


... Ohh, Los Angeles -- never mind :rolleyes:

R.H. Lee
October 26, 2004, 06:01 PM
What's even more worrisome is the potential of a hypothetical "President Kerry" armed with the Patriot Act(s). :what:

Standing Wolf
October 26, 2004, 07:00 PM
...what really does the Patriot Act allow?

Sad to say, I think it's being made up as we go along. The so-called "Patriot Act" is dangerous enough in the Bush administration's hands; in leftist extremist hands, it could prove a civil rights disaster.

bcbr
October 26, 2004, 07:42 PM
We were stopped to photo the old Memphis Arkansas bridge on the Arkansas side on a county public gravel road that circles out and under the bridge on continues on to a section of land we here about call Dacus lake. This was Dec last year. I was watching the misses take her photos and lo and be hold here comes a car from the bushy area I had seen as we went past.
A large man got out and said You cannot do that. I listened to his reason and told him I under stood ,But we were almost done and told the Misses to carry on. The man was a wackenhut security guard and @zz ho...
Any way The misses was afraid and very nonconfrontational. I told him to call for some help. We are on a public road off to the side on private property and to not approach us or interfere with me, I was very armed and was and still not going to personally put up with it no way no how.
Any way we were done and the Guuarrdd was busy writing down tag numbers and what ever else he was doing. We drove on off and for the next 3 hrs I guess we talked about all this and more. She knew I am rite but was scared to death to do any thing but comply? Me ,I wont take another step back for any one much ,I felt soorrry for the IGNORANT BASS fishing whew, anyway we have nice pics of the bridge and went on down thru Ark and crossed back at Helana , We went over and asked a fella down there could we lurk about and photo, was not a problem,all up under that bridge taking pics ,I donot know the difference except the Helena side was on a boating docking co property,I played with a big lab while she photographed.
I wrote to the Wacken nut folks about this incident,sent them copies of our pic as well as a list of Bridge Web Site detailing everything about the bridges, assurring them of the ridiculous event and the meaning of my right to travel freely and unimpeaded.
Wrote the Gov of Ark. as well about this ,ain't heard Jack SHoot from any of them.
My point is to answer you ,YES . It is happening more and more and I cannot stand it one little bit. It scares the Misses,stuff like this ,but she knows I mean it ,I am already sick and just almost dont care anymore to vote and write the letters to the congressmen,both senators and representative,senators donot like to be called congressman I found out.
Sorry for the semi rant and lecture, we must all live free. If we are at war then kill the enemy,hurt him bad,kick him while he is down to keep him down,seize his stuff, make him pay a horrible terrible price, I will support you and the govt. at every step and turn,Just git it right and do not mess with the home bodies ,and citizens here.
If it can be done I will have her post some of her photos from that trip.
I apologize if this seemed to take the thread some where other than the original post.Bobby

Sead0nkey
October 26, 2004, 08:09 PM
This sadly is exactly what the terrorist want. They have changed are day to day lives (mine anyway). :fire:

BB62
October 26, 2004, 08:33 PM
"One thing in the story bothers me.....the fact that you mentioned presumed LE's...WTH is that?? Did your friend not have the stones to ask for ID??"

I said it that way because at the time my friend was recalling the events, I did not try to pin him down on every detail, with the thought that it would be great grist for THR - that came later, hence the fuzziness of my description.

I am disappointed that so many responses are off-topic - I dreaded that.

What I am read I summarize as follows: the "stop" was not related to the Patriot Act, but rather to a general unease about potential terrorist activity. LE are free to question a person about their activities, and that person should (is?) free to not go along and be free to go unless the officer can voice reasonable suspicion.

Is my summary accurate? PLEASE anyone, tell me how or if the PA fits into the events described. In what ways does the Patriot Act affect Joe Tourist/Joe Citizen?

Thanks!


BB62

BB62
October 26, 2004, 08:35 PM
"Sad to say, I think it's being made up as we go along. The so-called "Patriot Act" is dangerous enough in the Bush administration's hands; in leftist extremist hands, it could prove a civil rights disaster."

Can you elaborate? How can the PA be used, as you understand it, against your average innocent Joe Tourist/Joe Citizen?


Thanks!



BB62

artherd
October 26, 2004, 09:35 PM
The story is this: He was taking pictures at some open air square (in Los Angeles I believe) in which there were a number of "art" pieces and/or architectural items of interest. He was approached by a presumed LE individual who asked that he stop taking pictures. He was then asked what he was taking pictures of, and for his driver's license. At some point in the "stop" more presumed LE people arrived, evidently of another agency.


Law enforcement does not have the right to request idenfitication from an individual on public or private property. The exception being when they are in a car (which is not a right, rather it is a licenced activity, therefore they can ask for a DL.)

This is just an example of bad cops shaking somebody down, and just violating a federal law or two. Really no big deal...


...


I mean, it happens all the time...


...

ksnecktieman
October 26, 2004, 10:05 PM
I think they key word here was prison,,,,,,,,, Their concern may have been someone planning a jail break.

BB62
October 26, 2004, 11:31 PM
"I think they key word here was prison,,,,,,,,, Their concern may have been someone planning a jail break."

Yes, but how long can one be "held" and does LE ability to do so derive from the PA?

Warbow
October 27, 2004, 12:51 AM
Your first summary looks good. PATRIOT (http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=107_cong_public_laws&docid=f:publ056.107) has nothing to do with what happened. How did whoever suggest that come to that conclusion?

DMF
October 27, 2004, 01:22 AM
Assuming any thing written in the initial post is accurate, nothing described has anything to do with the USA-PATRIOT Act.

Also, you say "supposed LEO," why didn't they ID themselves?

On to the other stuff: If I walk up to you and start asking questions, ask for your ID, and even ask to see your camera and write down the SN, what's the problem. If you consent to participate in the conversation, consent to show me you DL, consent to show me your camera, there is no problem. Doesn't matter if I'm a LEO or not. It was all consensual. If you don't want to talk, don't. If you don't want to show your DL, don't. If you don't want to let them examine your camera, don't.

Mr. Fink, as for your comments about the ease of getting a Search Warrant, to include your reference to a so called "sneak and peek" warrant, you are incorrect. The USA-PATRIOT Act didn't change anything with regard to the 4th Amendment requirement to establish PC to a judge, with regard to warrants, which has always included the so called "sneak and peek," more accurately a delayed notice warrants.

Delayed notice warrants were NOT established with the USA-PATRIOT Act. Here is a good history of those warrants if you care to avail yourself of the facts: http://www.lifeandliberty.gov/docs/patriotact213report.pdf

S_O_Laban
October 27, 2004, 01:41 AM
I'm certainly no expert on the PA. That said, it's my understanding that it deals mainly with how Leos and courts deal with non US citizens.

Perhaps someone more knowledgeable about this can chime in.

davec
October 27, 2004, 01:44 AM
I've heard stories of people being questioned by the secret service for having the audacity to photograph the White House from a distance by a telephoto lens, but I have zero proof of their claims.

buzz_knox
October 27, 2004, 10:00 AM
Law enforcement does not have the right to request idenfitication from an individual on public or private property.

Actually, a lot of gov't property owners have posted that entry onto the property constitutes consent to search belongings. This would probably cover requests for identification as well.

Jonathan
October 27, 2004, 12:57 PM
Law enforcement does not have the right to request idenfitication from an individual on public or private property.


Terry vs Ohio established that they have always had the right to temporarily detain people, request ID, and question regarding the situation so long as they had "reasonable suspicion" of "criminal activity". However, Terry did not establish that the detainee was compelled to answer questions.


The Hiibel case reversed many rulings based on Terry in that it forces suspects to identify themselves. Refusal can be a misdemeanor violation of state or local law (in about 20 states, IIRC). In doing so the supreme court did not evaluate potential self-incrimination via personal identity.


So yes, they can request identification, and the government is free to make laws that demand you comply.

BB62
October 27, 2004, 02:11 PM
"Also, you say "supposed LEO," why didn't they ID themselves?"

Because at the time the story was told to me I didn't pin my friend down on every detail, so I am presuming that it was an official or official looking person.

I will recontact him when/if I feel this thread nails down if this was truly caused by a legal use of the Patriot Act. At the moment I am pretty much convinced that the "stop" had nothing to do with the PA.


BB62

Andrew Rothman
October 27, 2004, 05:52 PM
New Jersey Transit has a policy of no pictures of facilities or trains without a permit.

They can "policy" whatever they want, but taking a picture from public property is always legal.

I suppose they could institute a "no cameras" rule on NJT property, but that's something else again.

My brother, by the way, was approached, confronted, identified and sent on his way by a city cop while photographing buildings in St. Paul, MN.

He doesn't look very Arab. He does, however, look pretty Jewish! :D

Fairlane63
October 27, 2004, 07:08 PM
Hope this isn’t too long. My first post—wooohooo!

Labor Day weekend of 1996, a friend and I were in Laredo, Texas and we walked into Nuevo Laredo via the bridge over the Rio Grande to drink, shop, etc. It was the first time I’d ever been west of New Orleans, much less into a foreign country, so it was kind of a big deal to me and I was taking pictures of most everything like the typical doofus tourist would. Anyway, as you come back over to the Texas border, there is a building on the U.S. side that pedestrians must pass through to be “screened” and occasionally have their bags searched. Well, before we entered this building, I took a couple of pictures of it. One of the uniformed LEOs inside came out pretty quick and told us that taking pictures of this building was not allowed—I’m pretty sure he was Border Patrol, but it’s been a while, so I’m not 100% sure. I really couldn’t imagine what harm these pictures could cause plus I’d had a little to drink so my initial thought was to answer with a three-word response that begins with “kiss”. However, since we had yet to enter this building and the thought of a body cavity search inside said building didn’t sound real appealing, my response was something along the lines of “sorry about that—won’t happen again”. We were passed on through with nary a problem.

So… I don’t guess this really answers the original poster’s question about his friend’s incident, but this did happen to me eight years ago, so it definitely predates the Patriot Act. Now, what law, policy, rule, etc. this did fall under is a mystery to me…

-Chris W.

bcbr
October 27, 2004, 08:56 PM
http://worldnetdaily.com/news/printer-friendly.asp?ARTICLE_ID=41118

Lupine
October 27, 2004, 09:46 PM
National and State Parks have had an interesting policy since the mid-90s against photography.

They felt that professional photographers could not photograph within National Parks and most State Parks without a permit. Non-professionals were exempt. They claimed that professionals who might generate income from such images should pay for the use of the park itself, beyond admittance fees.

I had been a member of North American Nature Photography Association, a group that was outraged--after all, it was photographers such as Ansel Adams who helped create recognition that many of these places needed to be preserved.

Anyway, rangers were instructed to identify photographers using tripods as "professionals"

I got into it a few months back with a ranger at Smith Rock here in Oregon. I wasn't in anybody's way, I was right there at a paved viewpoint (not destroying any habitats) when the ranger came up and asked me if I was, indeed, a professional. I knew what was coming and said "Pro wedding photographer, but amateur landscape photographer." I was told I had to put away my gear. I told him to ask me why, and he said it was illegal....but he couldn't elaborate.

I eventually left. Anyway, when I heard the government was asking citizens to report sightings of foreigners photographing buildings, monuments and bridges, I nearly choked. Oh, PLEASE. I mean, what's the favorite pastime of tourists?

BB62
October 28, 2004, 02:05 AM
Did you contact your Congresscritter? If not, you sure should.

buzz_knox
October 28, 2004, 09:31 AM
Oh, PLEASE. I mean, what's the favorite pastime of tourists?

You mean the favorite pasttimes of two Arabs sought by the FBI (and currently awaiting trial for illegal entry into the United States) photographing a major hydroelectric facility at 4 a.m.?

BB62
October 28, 2004, 02:33 PM
You raise a good point.

On the one hand, the sense I get is that the "detention" of my friend was consensual (even though he hardly felt that to be the case), yet the police/FBI are looking for two Arabs photographing (at a rather odd time I might say) for what I can only surmise is a non-consensual questioning session.

What in the law, and/or what law makes the difference?

How does one interested in rights AND national security define their own position?

BTW, while in college (more than 10 years ago), I took time lapse pictures of Hoover Dam in the wee hours - it was nicely lit and looked cool!


BB62

buzz_knox
October 28, 2004, 02:54 PM
The difference is that your friend wasn't already wanted by the FBI on suspicion of committing a felony. These two subjects were. The only reason they weren't arrested on site was that NCIC was down when the officer who found them ran them through the system. He did it later that morning, found they were wanted, and they were busted in Virginia.

I'm aware of other individuals who have been questioned for photographing critical infrastructure facilities. They had some interesting stories, but nothing that they could be held on. For example, one gentleman was photographing the beautiful sunset . . . which happened to have been behind him the entire time he was observed photographing a fossil plant's electrical switchyard. I'll leave his ethnicity to your imagination, but I think you can get it in one.

BB62
October 28, 2004, 03:29 PM
Okay, thanks for the clarification.

Let me ask you this, then - let's say that rather than being compliant with this "consensual" questioning, my friend said "What's it to you?" and similar things (like I would be VERY tempted to!).

Does the PA come into play? What might become of his or my telling the LE guys to essentially pound salt?

I appreciate your and anyone else's input - but if you feel my or his doing so is against the law, please cite the law.

Thanks!


BB62

DMF
October 29, 2004, 02:11 AM
The USA-PATRIOT Act has NO affect on the situation you are describing. None, zero, nada, zip. Unfortunately the ACLU, and a few other idiots, have told lies to people that haven't bothered to do their research and now most of the time someone is unhappy with LE it's blamed on the USA-PATRIOT Act.

The USA-PATRIOT Act did very little to change how LE operates. It was a feel good piece of legislation, but did very little. If you would like to read a summary of how the USA-PATRIOT Act affects LE feel free to read the guidance given by the Legal Division of FLETC, the place that teaches the majority of Fed LEOs. Here it is, have fun: http://www.fletc.gov/legal/qr_articles/PATRIOTACT.pdf

Clean97GTI
October 29, 2004, 05:32 AM
Nope, nothing to do with the Patriot Act.

Being the smart-a** that I am, I would have told them that as a taxpayer, I own the land that I am photographing. Who are they to tell me that I can't take pictures of my own property? :neener:

Besides, I thought pictures were the property of the photographer...especially when you aren't taking a picture of anyone. I mean, these are just buildings/structures/etc.

I was recently asked to leave street corner on the Las Vegas strip when I was passing out flyers. My flyers were simply about changing our election methods. Two bicycle officers rode up, told me I was loitering (I was not) and that I needed to move along. When I started to argue with them, they asked for ID (which I produced along with my CCW card ;) ) and told me that I could be cited. I decided that I didn't want to go to court and fight some BS charge (I know I know, I should have taken the High Road and fought it) The thing that bugs me the most is that illegals line the same stretch every night and pass out cards and flyers for very attractive "entertainers" without being bothered. I guess the stuff that makes money is OK, but the stuff that makes people think is bad. :fire:

BB62
October 30, 2004, 04:48 AM
Just what is the definition of "loitering"?

Sounds like a call to your local ACLU is in order.

standingbear
October 30, 2004, 11:47 AM
I wonder what wouldve happened if he'd said..."these arent the droids you're looking for" and "they may move along"?

being my typical smart ellic self,Ida prolly tried it,got charged then hauled off to some detainment facility for deviants...where I could be re-educated properly in the way of political correctness.

I understand the need for "security" these days but maybe..just alil..less intimidation could go a long way.it annoys me to no end that these days...everyone is under suspicion for something and common sense has gone out the window.


patriot act? I dunno but it is a sign of the times..

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