When I learned that the FAA planned to KEEP my CF memory card, I sent out emails to my Hawaii legislators (Senators Daniel Akaka & Dan Inouye, Representative Patsy Mink).

Patsy Mink responded:

October 9, 2001

Dear Mr Aycock:

Thankyou for your report on security measures taken against you during your recent trip.

Over-reaction is typical of law enforcement agencies.

Confiscating your camera is an example of over-reaction. I hope you are able to recover your film. If you would like my office to help in this regard, please sign the enclosed release of privacy so I can speak on your behalf.

Very truly yours,
Patsy T. Mink
Member of Congress


She included a copy of a query that she had sent to the Department of Transportation:


The Honorable Norman Mineta
US Department of Transportation
400 7th St. SW
Washington DC 20590

Dear Secretary Mineta:

On September 16, 2001 flying from Seattle to Hilo, Hawaii Joel Aycock's Nikon digital camera was confiscated by FAA at the Honolulu Airport because he took a picture of a National Guard soldier. He was detained for 3 hours, then released.

Confiscation report: #01-09-290.

On September 26, 2001 he was called to come pick up his camera.

But FAA refused to return his 32mb CF Compact flash memory card, valued about $75.00.

The film contains nothing that compromises airport security.

Your clarification of FAA authority in matters of confiscation will be appreciated. Is there a regulation that no photos can be taken in or around an airport or while aboard a plane.

Very truly yours,
Patsy T. Mink
Member of Congress