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Dave Beedon | all galleries >> Photography >> Threat to National Security? > Photography on a ferry led to a talk with the FBI
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Photography on a ferry led to a talk with the FBI
2004 Dave Beedon

Photography on a ferry led to a talk with the FBI

Seattle Ferry Terminal view map


My wife and I rode the ferry from Seattle to Bainbridge Island to visit a friend, who picked us up at the island ferry terminal. At the Seattle terminal and during the ride I shot photos with abandon, including all sorts of infrastructure stuff: dock, loading, pipes and tubes, lights, stairs, etc. This led to a request by the FBI to explain what I had been doing. HUH?

The crew, under orders to report anything out of the ordinary to comply with security regulations, watched me snap away. When my wife and I left the ferry on foot, they noted the license plate of the vehicle which drove us away. The owner of that vehicle (our friend) later was contacted by the local FBI office, asking about the "photographer who got into your car at the ferry terminal on such-and-such date." Our friend called me and told me the FBI wanted to talk to me. Naturally I thought it was a joke. It wasn't. I talked to the FBI agent---whose job it was to follow up on all reports---and explained my actions. We had a friendly chat. Case closed. It makes one wonder...


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John Cooper10-Jan-2010 23:24
"A friendly chat" , boy was that your lucky day.
dan dunn24-Jul-2009 02:31
Dave the Photo Terrorist "officer arrest that man; he Chronically undersaturates"!
The Third Side14-Dec-2007 04:39
Afraid to be photographed? What a ferry!
Monte Dodge18-Nov-2007 23:36
Maybe We should just make all cameras illegal???? What a Crock Of - - - -!! And Who Polices the police?? Our new " Government is afraid of it's own shadow and is getting a bit more nice what we as kids were told the USSR was like... ( The guy it the photos looks like you just " Shot His Dog" Or Had A " Bite Me" Stick er Ducttaped to your hat... Big vote..
Dave Beedon18-Oct-2007 22:31
I have visions and other unusual experiences on Moabian sandstone.
exzim18-Oct-2007 22:17
He looks a little stoned. Perhaps ferry employees have been associating a little too often with their British Columbia Ferries counterparts, and as this report states
"Canada's transportation safety watchdog warned Wednesday of widespread marijuana use by BC Ferries crewmembers, " , and therefore they are seeing some special visions.
Jason Anderson15-Jul-2007 14:16
Dave, I received a message from DHS asking about a David bin Beedon. Apparently you're not even permitted to look at airplane pictures on PBase anymore.
It's reassuring to learn that after almost six long years of this 'war on terror' we've reduced al Qaeda's strength to 2001 levels. Making this the most effective war since the war on drugs.
Dave Beedon13-Jul-2007 18:01
On another occasion, while I was taking pictures of 737s from a city-owned trail next to Boeing property in Renton, a company security guard expressed (in a non-threatening manner) his concern that what I was doing was not good, although he could not explain why. He probably thought it was a security risk of some kind. He understood, or at least did not argue with my stating, that as long as I was on public property there was basically no restriction on my shooting pictures. It's a sad commentary on the ability of fear---gleefully exploited by certain politicians---to change the way people think and act.
Steve Ainsworth13-Jul-2007 17:39
Part of the 9/11 legacy , Dave. There's always the risk of over-reaction. I sometimes get concerned looks from security guards in DC buildings when I'm shooting interiors. One guard waived me away from a building in Milwaukee, even though I was well outside of it on a sidewalk taking a picture of its exterior. At least I got a good picture of it before I was sent on my way!
John Cooper13-Jul-2007 07:38
Dave, you are now on that list for ever. Plus many more. Corresponding with me puts you on one list.
I find it strange that a person taking photographs is classed as out of the ordinary.
I wonder what is ordinary to the ferry crew.
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