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Houston Man Receives Visit from FBI after Photographing Weather

 
smilesun
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User ID: 25232441
Italy
10/09/2012 12:12 PM

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Houston Man Receives Visit from FBI after Photographing Weather
A man who snapped photos of a brewing storm last month received a visit Friday from an FBI Agent, inquiring why he would want to take such photos.

Michael Galindo explained that he was simply volunteering for the National Weather Service.

And FBI Agent David Pileggi seemed to be satisfied with that response.

But Galindo was left wondering whether he now has a permanent FBI file.

“He told me, ‘you’re not a threat and you are doing a public service but just be careful next time,’” Galindo said in a telephone interview with Photography is Not a Crime.

The problem arose because Galindo happened to be taking photos near the Lyondell Refinery outside of Houston on September 13, even though he was never standing on the refinery’s property.

Someone from the refinery spotted him and called police, whom apparently arrived after he had left.

Police then contacted the local FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force, which bills itself as “nation’s front line on terrorism.”

“I was pretty freaked out when he came but I had no idea what it was about,” said the 26-year-old man. “The worst thing I’ve done is get speeding tickets, but I haven’t gotten one in three years.

“He said I was spotted near the refinery but I couldn’t even remember doing that. I thought it had to be somebody else.

“It wasn’t until he mentioned my camera that I made the connection.”

Galindo told the agent that he volunteers for a NWS program called Skywarn that trains citizens to monitor the weather in the name of “protecting lives and property.”

He said when he pulled off to the side of the road and began taking photos of a brewing storm and potential tornados, he didn’t even notice the refinery, but made sure there weren’t any “no parking” signs around.

“I told him I had been looking for a clear line of site and I had found it,” he said.

Although Pileggi seemed a little surprised by that response, he pulled out a three-page document and began asking questions off it, inquiring whether Galindo had ever been in the military or had ever traveled overseas and about what schools he had attended in the past.

“I wasn’t sure what that had to do with anything,” Galindo said.

The 20-minute visit took place less than a week after a scathing report was released on the inefficiency and ineptitude on urban fusion centers, such as the Miami-Dade Police Department’s Homeland Security Bureau, which was monitoring my Facebook page because of my blog, as well as the Houston fusion center, which produced a video depicting photographers as terrorists.


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Anonymous Coward
User ID: 12779781
United States
10/09/2012 12:19 PM
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Re: Houston Man Receives Visit from FBI after Photographing Weather
seriously? of course they need to follow up when someone is taking pictures of a refinery
they didn't harass him
they did their job
i'd be the first to defend the guy if they harassed him
but they didn't
this is what they're supposed to do
they didn't haul him in and interrogate him after shooting his dog and tasering him while he was handcuffed on the ground
non-story imo
no offense, op
i just don't see where they stepped out of line
smilesun (OP)

User ID: 25232441
Italy
10/09/2012 12:36 PM

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Re: Houston Man Receives Visit from FBI after Photographing Weather
seriously? of course they need to follow up when someone is taking pictures of a refinery
they didn't harass him
they did their job
i'd be the first to defend the guy if they harassed him
but they didn't
this is what they're supposed to do
they didn't haul him in and interrogate him after shooting his dog and tasering him while he was handcuffed on the ground
non-story imo
no offense, op
i just don't see where they stepped out of line
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 12779781


There have been many books concerning FBI undercover agents on perilous assignments ...