It's an exciting time at YOUR Transportation Security Administration! At the start of America's second decade of Total War Against Terror, the TSA is once again at the tip of the spear of the fight to keep you safe. While other agencies plod along using old-fashioned methods and targets, the TSA recognizes that the key to security is innovation and flexibility. We have therefore been at the forefront of identifying new frontiers of threats arising from suspicious "medical devices" and the personal orifices of anti-state agitators. As a result of our vigilance and innovation, our Ministry of Communications reports that we are more popular and talked-about than ever.
But with that popularity comes a grave dilemma. As "the kids" would say, some people out there want to "take some of our mojo without asking." We understand — who wouldn't want to be associated with the brave men and women who, day after day, touch the bodies of unwilling strangers? But please be aware: the TSA's logos and other branding efforts are the sole property of the United States government. Even in these tough economic times, we've turned down numerous requests from businesses that would like to use the TSA logo to market to our employees and to an adoring public, from many hobbyist photography web sites to various collector's clubs.
Misusing the TSA's logo and branding is not just a civil violation, it's a betrayal of America and (like other trademark and copyright violations) subject of interest to the Department of Homeland Security.
Whoever, except with the written permission of the Assistant Secretary for Transportation Security (or the Director of the Federal Air Marshal Service for issues involving the Federal Air Marshal Service), knowingly uses the words ‘Transportation Security Administration’, ‘United States Transportation Security Administration’, ‘Federal Air Marshal Service’, ‘United States Federal Air Marshal Service’, ‘Federal Air Marshals’, the initials ‘T.S.A.’, ‘F.A.M.S.’, ‘F.A.M.’, or any colorable imitation of such words or initials, or the likeness of a Transportation Security Administration or Federal Air Marshal Service badge, logo, or insignia on any item of apparel, in connection with any advertisement, circular, book, pamphlet, software, or other publication, or with any play, motion picture, broadcast, telecast, or other production, in a matter that is reasonably calculated to convey the impression that the wearer of the item of apparel is acting pursuant to the legal authority of the Transportation Security Administration or Federal Air Marshal Service, or to convey the impression that such advertisement, circular, book, pamphlet, software, or other publication, or such play, motion picture, broadcast, telecast, or other production, is approved, endorsed, or authorized by the Transportation Security Administration or Federal Air Marshal Service;’ [shall be guilty of a crime punishable with up to one year in federal prison]
Now, don't panic, citizens! I know that some of you are worried about your "TSA: TOTALLY SUPER AWESOME!" fan t-shirts. No worries! The TSA knows that friendly and supportive fan-club materials don't fall under the statute, because they don't try to usurp the TSA's authority.
The TSA is aware that certain "citizens" — who value their "First Amendment rights" over the safety and security of the people of this great nation, including grandmothers, nuns, and children — sometimes employ shirts, buttons, and other materials unfairly criticizing the TSA from an extremist perspective. The TSA is aware of the protections presently extended in some circumstances by some interpretations of the Constitution. Anyone wearing a shirt with a TSA logo that is critical of the TSA can rest assured that TSA agents are well-trained to distinguish between things and parodies or pictures of things, as are our partners in the transportation industry. Such critics will be inconvenienced and intruded upon only temporarily at worst. Moreover, dissents can rest assured that the Department of Homeland Security and the TSA remain as tolerant as they have ever been.
So, thanks to Rep. Rogers! See you at the security lines, citizens. And remember the TSA motto: CITIZEN, OBEY.
Last 5 posts by Ken White
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