Last night, we wrote about the TSA screener who was reviewed for disciplinary action after placing one of the TSA’s customary notices in Feministe blogger Jill Filipovic’s bag with the words “GET YOUR FREAK ON GIRL” written on it. Ms. Filipovic posted the note to TwitPic, and then blogged about it. The TSA announced today that the screener was fired.
From the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Public Affairs:
TSA completed its investigation of this matter, and has initiated action to remove the individual from federal service. Like all federal employees, this individual is entitled to due process and protected by the Privacy Act.
During the removal action process, the employee will not perform any screening duties.
This might not be the first federal employee canned explicitly because of something that was posted on the internet, but it’s very likely the first time a TSA employee has been fired because of something that went up on Twitter (when asked if this was the case, the TSA declined to comment). Ms. Filipovic is a prolific and widely read blogger, and her Tweet was actually linked by the TSA’s official blog when explaining the screening agent’s removal. But in the blog post she wrote on the matter for Feministe, she noted:
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.
Yesterday, she blogged on Feministe that she’s still “fairly shell-shocked (and not in a good way)” by the experience and the attention the story has received, noting:
I just want this story to go away. The note was inappropriate, the agent in question acted unprofessionally when s/he put in in my bag, there should be consequences and I’m glad the TSA takes these things seriously. But I get no satisfaction in hearing that someone may be in danger of losing their job over this. I would much prefer a look at why ‘security’ has been used to justify so many intrusions on our civil liberties, rather than fire a person who made a mistake.
We’ve reached out to Jill Filipovic to get her take on the firing; she did not immediately respond to a request for comment.