“Oh, try taking photos someplace the government has decided is their turf.”
“On a Sunday in summer 2006, when the Las Vegas FBI office was closed, I tried to shoot video of a plaque honoring FBI agents that was posted outside the building, with open access from an empty parking lot facing the street. The parking lot wasn’t chained off and there were no signs restricting public access. I was going to use that shot of the plaque honoring FBI agents in Lady Magdalene’s.”
“But within seconds after I tried taking that video a security guard ran out and ordered me and my associate producer, J. Kent Hastings, to freeze. The FBI guard confiscated my video camera, kept Kent and me standing in 110 degree summer heat for over two hours, and when he returned my video camera he had confiscated my tape and memory card.”
“Six months later the memory card was returned by mail — they’d erased it.”
Neil makes the case that the government and its activities should be transparent while private (isn’t that word a hint) citizens should enjoy the right to pursue privacy.
What’s ironic about the FBI shoot for Lady Magdalene’s is that the intent was to show the feds in a good light, honestly doing their part to stop a terrorist plot in the film, so naturally our reward was to be harassed. The film’s Director of Photography caught the incident on camera from inside another crew car.
Meanwhile, a big studio picture at the time, Flight Plan, portrayed a federal air marshall played by Peter Sarsgaard as a murderous villain trying to frame innocent Arab airline passengers. That piece of anti-government propaganda probably had the red carpet rolled out for them by the feds.
Neil Schulman is also the author of Alongside Night, a novel predicting America’s collapse.