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Photographer Sought By Authorities

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  • Photographer Sought By Authorities

    Probably a guy just out enjoying his hobby...thought it may be of interest to photographers here. I also have acquaintances who are avid rail photographers that have seen a marked increase in the "questions" they get from police and security while railfanning...


    HOUSTON (Reuters) - Law enforcement officials said on Monday they are looking for a man seen taking pictures of two refineries in Texas City, Texas.

    Texas City, located on the Texas Gulf coast about 30 miles south of Houston, has three refineries including the largest U.S. plant operated by BP Plc., which is the third-largest U.S. refinery, processing 470,000 barrels of crude oil per day.

    The man, described as white with dark hair, was seen taking pictures outside the refineries, all located on the same highway, at about 5 p.m. CDT on Saturday, said Bruce Clawson, emergency management and homeland security director for Texas City.

    While it is not illegal to take pictures of a refinery from a highway or street, officials would like to talk to the man to find out his reason for taking the photographs.

    "This is based on the idea that al Qaeda does its homework," Clawson said. "That's not to say we don't have enough home-grown idiots already who might want to do something."

    The man was seen driving a white van.

    Valero Energy Corp. operates a 243,000 barrel per day (bpd) refinery in Texas City. Marathon Ashland Petroleum LLC, a joint venture between Marathon Oil Corp., and Ashland Inc., operates a 76,000 bpd refinery in Texas City.

    The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation has repeatedly warned refiners that they are possible targets for would-be terrorists. U.S. refinery security officials say their security guards regularly report people observing or taking pictures of refineries.

    During the Independence Day holiday, ExxonMobil Corp. tightened security at the largest U.S. refinery, the 538,000 bpd plant in Baytown, Texas, 30 miles east of Houston, because of general warnings about possible terrorist activity.
    George R. Widener
    Oshkosh, WI USA
    Aircraft Photos Here
    Railroad Pictures Here

  • #2
    better safe than sorry.

    I don't think there's anyone who would find an oil refinery aesthetically pleasing and shoot pictures of it for those reasons so there must be ulterior motifs.
    Whether those are related to al Qaeda or internal idiots like friends of the earth or other ecoterrorists doesn't matter, it's better to know what the guy was up to and who he's working for.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by jwenting
      better safe than sorry.

      I don't think there's anyone who would find an oil refinery aesthetically pleasing and shoot pictures of it for those reasons so there must be ulterior motifs.
      Whether those are related to al Qaeda or internal idiots like friends of the earth or other ecoterrorists doesn't matter, it's better to know what the guy was up to and who he's working for.
      Who the hell would find airplanes aesthetically pleasing to photograph...

      -Clovis

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Photographer Sought By Authorities

        Originally posted by pullin4u
        Probably a guy just out enjoying his hobby...
        You're no better than the authorities making unfounded claims like that, for all you know he could have been a terrorist. And as for the Police stopping people who are taking pictures of planes and trains, there is actually a reason for doing this, you know we are actually fighting a war against terrorism at the moment.

        Comment


        • #5
          I don't recall cameras flying into the sides of buildings.

          Comment


          • #6
            You're no better than the authorities making unfounded claims like that, for all you know he could have been a terrorist. And as for the Police stopping people who are taking pictures of planes and trains, there is actually a reason for doing this, you know we are actually fighting a war against terrorism at the moment.
            None of the current security measures in place in U.S. airports would have prevented 9/11/01 save for the banning of certain cutting devices in carry-on luggage...

            This reminds me of a conversation I had with two Los Angeles Airport Police officers about me taking photos from the Westchester bridge at LAX.

            The officer asked me what I was doing after he had searched my bag, and frisked me. I replied that I am a student pilot and an amateur photographer who takes photos of airplanes as a hobby, and even sells a few. He didn't seem to understand why anyone would buy airplane photos.
            I asked him what the problem was and he just said he wanted to know what I was doing. When I inquired as to why airplane photography is seen in such a way, he said "Well you have a high power lens and you can zoom into parts of the airfield and planes." I politely told him I still didn't understand what problem was...and he gave me the 9/11 bla bla speech "Well you know since we are on high alert we have become more concerned after 9/11..."

            (I was standing on a public sidewalk by the way)

            This is a textbook blahblah skirt around the real issue answer. Because there is no real issue. I am harming NONE. I am in a PUBLIC PLACE. I am enjoying a HOBBY. Yet I am frisked and searched.

            Explain.




            -Clovis

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by jwenting
              I don't think there's anyone who would find an oil refinery aesthetically pleasing and shoot pictures of it for those reasons so there must be ulterior motifs.
              So perhaps he's a model railroader and building a refinery model in his basement? Maybe he's a photographer who enjoys industrial subjects?
              I wasn't disagreeing with them looking for and questioning this guy- I just presented it as an interesting piece of information. Imagine one of us (ie: an airplane spotter) going home from the airport and finding a carload of FBI agents at your door a few hours later.
              And Grant, there is a difference between questioning photographers and harassing and intimidating them. Again, I don't disagree with checking people out in these situations...but I strongly disagree with infringing on a person's rights and freedoms.
              Jeesh.
              George R. Widener
              Oshkosh, WI USA
              Aircraft Photos Here
              Railroad Pictures Here

              Comment


              • #8
                I would like to see any evidence that simply PHOTOGRAPHING a certain facility or place from the outside can be used in a malicious way by terrorists.

                I doubt photographs of planes in any way aided the 9/11 hijackers...as we let them walk right into our own 767 simulators...

                -Clovis

                Comment


                • #9
                  This is not just an American thing, I've been searched and questioned all over the world from Auckland to London-but not once during my visits to the USA.

                  In the UK railfans are targets too, but not from the cops-from the boneheaded security people that the train companies employ. Most train companies have made it clear that railfans are welcome and photography (non-commercial) is not a problem, yet the 5 an hour security guys still harass people. I even had one of them ordering me around while I was on company business and company property this evening.



                  Matt
                  My gallery of transport and travel pictures.

                  Click Here to view my photos at RailPictures.Net!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Soon we'll see photographers on America's most wanted

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by egll
                      This is not just an American thing, I've been searched and questioned all over the world from Auckland to London-but not once during my visits to the USA.

                      Matt
                      Then you have been lucky....
                      Just curious.... if you have gone to Canada have you been hasseled there?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Airbus_A320
                        Originally posted by egll
                        This is not just an American thing, I've been searched and questioned all over the world from Auckland to London-but not once during my visits to the USA.

                        Matt
                        Then you have been lucky....
                        Just curious.... if you have gone to Canada have you been hasseled there?
                        Occassional visits from the cops here in Toronto, just a run of the license plate and a check of ID and they let you carry on. Only people who get moved on are those obstructing traffic, or the emergency gates which is fair enough.
                        Even had a conversation with a cop who is a bit of a photographer himself, we had a nice chat about aviation photography.
                        I always find being reasonable does the trick, I've not yet been asked to leave anywhere..............but then I've not been to the US either, yet.
                        Garry Lewis

                        Air Team Images - www.airteamimages.com
                        Air Traffic Controller - Toronto ACC (West Low)

                        https://flic.kr/ps/AAWk8

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Leftseat86
                          .....I replied that I am a student pilot and....
                          -Clovis
                          Try to catch me flyin dirty...

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            The places in the US I went to were Vegas (twice), Phoenix & LA (twice). Shot from the terminals in ORD, MSP and JFK.

                            Never been to Canada though.

                            The only trouble I had in the US was when I took a picture of a Greyhound bus-but that was two years ago.


                            Matt
                            My gallery of transport and travel pictures.

                            Click Here to view my photos at RailPictures.Net!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              The only trouble I had in the US was when I took a picture of a Greyhound bus-but that was two years ago.
                              Thats too funny

                              Never been to Canada though
                              Go to YVR....

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