Full text of my subpoena from the Department of Homeland Security


We had just put the kids in the bathtub when Special Agent Robert Flaherty knocked on my front door with a subpoena. He was very polite, and used “sir” a lot, and he said he just wanted a name: Who sent me the security directive?

I invited Flaherty to sit down in the living room and introduced him to my cats, who seemed to take a liking to him. The kids came by to say hello, too.

“A subpoena?” I asked the special agent. “Is that really necessary?”

“Sir,” he repeated. “You’ve been served.”

Alright, then. I’ve been served. Here’s the full text of the subpoena:

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
Department of Homeland Security
Transportation Security Administration

SUBPOENA DUCES TECUM

YOU ARE HEREBY COMMANDED BY THE ADMINISTRATOR, TRANSPORTATION SECURITY ADMINISTRATION, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY, to produce and permit inspection and copying of the records described below to Special Agent Robert Flaherty, TSA Office of Inspection, Transportation Security Admininistration, 580 T G Lee Blvd, Suite 610, Orlando, Florida 32822 (Phone #: 407-563-4096), email: Robert.M.flaherty@dhs.gov, no later than COB December 31, 2009, in furtherance of an official investigation:

All documents, emails, and/or faxsimile transmissions (sic) in your control possession or control concerning your receipt of TSA Security Directive 1544-09-06 dated December 25, 2009.

IN TESTIMONY WHEREOF, the undersigned, an officer designated by the Transportation Security Administration, has hereunto set his hand in the county of Arlington, Virginia, this 29th day of December, 2009.

Dan Kuntz
Senior Counsel – Civil Enforcement
Transportation Security Administration
U.S. Department of Homeland Security

AUTHORITY

This subpoena is issued under the authority contained in 49 U.S.C. §§ 40113 and 46104; and 49 C.F.R § 1503.3.

Any person who neglects or refuses to produce records in obedience to this subpoena is subject to fines under Title 18, United States Code, imprisonment for not more than one year, or both, 49 U.S.C § 46313.

(For those of you who didn’t go to law school or take Latin, a subpoena duces tecum — Latin for “bring with you under penalty of punishment” — is form of a subpoena issued by a court ordering the parties named to appear and produce tangible evidence for use at a hearing or trial.)

So if I’m reading this correctly, the TSA wants me to tell them who gave me the security directive.

I told Flaherty I’d call my attorney and get back to him.

What would you do?

(Incidentally, my kids liked Special Agent Flaherty. They’ve been calling him “our friend from the TSA” all evening. Probably because he had a cool badge and got along with the cats.)

(Photo: timsamoff/Flickr Creative Commons; it is not a picture of my actual subpoena, which doesn’t look quite as sexy.)

Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is an author, journalist and consumer advocate. You can read more about him on his personal website or contact him at . Got a question or comment? You can post it on the new forum.

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