TSA Screener Busted After Blogger’s TwitPic of “Get Your Freak On” Note Goes Viral

Jill Filipovic—she of the daily feminism essential-reading blog Feministe—recently took a trip through one of our nation’s great airports. When she got off the plane, she found a note in her bag. She Tweeted the note, it went viral, and the TSA has now publicly acknowledged it and the disciplinary action being taken against the TSA screener who put it there. So what was the note?

get your freak on note TSA Screener Busted After Bloggers TwitPic of Get Your Freak On Note Goes Viral

As Jill captioned the photo, which has been seen by 126,250 people:

Just unpacked my suitcase and found this note from TSA. Guess they discovered a “personal item” in my bag. Wow.

Today, the TSA’s blog not only acknowledged the note and where they saw it—going so far as to link it—but also report the action they’ve since taken:

Earlier this week, a passenger found a highly inappropriate note scrawled on a “Notice of Inspection” that TSA places in checked bags if they are required to be searched. She tweeted a photo of what she found and we soon learned of the incident. TSA quickly launched an investigation and identified the employee responsible. That individual was immediately removed from screening operations and appropriate disciplinary action has been initiated.

The handwritten note was highly inappropriate and unprofessional, and TSA has zero tolerance for this type of behavior. Agency officials have also reached out to the passenger to personally apologize for this unfortunate incident.

Yes, the link was theirs.

Surely, the note provoked plenty of outrage in the comments and responses to the Tweet. But maybe the TSA didn’t see how Jill felt about it in longer form, when she blogged it on Feministe:

This is what TSA will do when they inspect a bag you checked and find a, um, “personal item.” Total violation of privacy, wildly inappropriate and clearly not ok, but I also just died laughing in my hotel room.

The TSA apparently didn’t think it was so funny. These are the same people who take their Anti-Snow Globe signs very, very seriously. While this can’t be the first time a TwitPic has gotten a government employee in trouble—or the first time the internet has resulted in the TSA being scrutinized—it has to be the first time it’s resulted in such a directly acknowledged fracas by the TSA.

Let alone one that’s linked-up well.

fkamer@observer.com | @weareyourfek


  1. Anonymous says:

    How do you know that the TSA employee was fired, when TSA only says “That individual was immediately removed from screening operations and appropriate disciplinary action has been initiated.”? Another assumption from a blogger who wants to call himself a journalist. Journalist fact checks. Journalism is not a hobby, it’s a profession. Go read the article by Pete Hamill that was posted by your own very publication that you work for. http://www.observer.com/2011/08/pete-hamill-on-his-tabloid-and-the-future-of-journalism/
    I guess this is what Pete Hamill’s vision on the future of journalism — all hearsay.

    1. Anonymous says:

      Hey, you read the Pete Hamill thing! That was a good one.

      1. Anonymous says:

        Although you’ve changed the heading on this post, her’s s  the original tweet from NYO

        Stuff that Pete Hamill says are great. Wish more bloggers and aggregators can learn from them or him

      2. Anonymous says:

        You’re right, we should’ve done due diligence in correcting the Tweet. I’ll redact the old one and Tweet out the new headline.