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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Phil Mocek: On Trial For Being TSA Checkpoint Worker's Worst Nightmare

From the Seattle Weekly:
On November 15, 2009, Phil Mocek stepped into the main terminal at the Albuquerque International Sunport planning to board a Southwest Airlines flight bound for Sea-Tac. He carried with him two pieces of luggage, a boarding pass, and a cell phone capable of recording audio and video. What he didn't have was a valid form of identification -- no driver's license, no passport, nothing. So when Mocek reached the front of the line at the airport security checkpoint, the TSA worker asked him to step aside for further questioning. A few hours later, Mocek's flight touched down in Washington. He wasn't on board. Instead, the 37-year-old software developer was stuck inside a cell at the Albuquerque jail.

When Mocek attempted to record his conversation with the TSA checkpoint workers, they summoned both the Albuquerque Police and the FBI. Mocek was eventually arrested and charged with four misdemeanors: trespassing, disorderly conduct, refusing to obey an officer and concealing his identity.

Tomorrow, after more than a year of legal wrangling, Mocek goes on trial in Albuquerque for the charges. Civil liberties advocates are paying close attention to the proceedings.

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