Michael Galindo has a hobby taking pictures of storms as a volunteer for the National Weather Service’s Skywarn program. On September 13 he took a few pictures of a brewing storm which, unknown to him, happened to be near the Lyondell Refinery outside Houston. And I wouldn’t be mentioning this if it hadn’t taken an ugly turn:
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.
With all due respect to Agent Pileggi — who seems to have handled this in a reasonable and proportionate matter — Michael Galindo was just a guy taking some pictures in a public place. That’s his right. You are the the one who got sent on a fool’s errand to harass an American citizen by demanding an explanation for something that he shouldn’t have to explain to anyone.
Next time, maybe you should be more careful.