U.S. Marines Accuse Man Photographing Base from Public Sidewalk

Carlos Miller

U.S. Marines Accuse Man Photographing Base from Public Sidewalk of Breaking Federal Law

A man who was standing on a public sidewalk outside of a military base in San Diego was told he was breaking federal law by photographing the entrance to the base.

“You are on my property,” said the United States Marine Corps military police officer, who walked more than 100 feet outside the base to confront him.

But the man, who posted his video on YouTube under the username The Junkyard News, insisted he was not breaking any law.

But the Marine continued to demand his identification, calling for several more Marine Corps police officers, who all told him he was breaking federal law.

“Do you believe in the Constitution of the United States of America,” the man with the camera asked one of the Marines. “Did you take an oath to the Constitution to uphold and defend it?”

“I fought four-and-a-half year defending the Constitution,” replied the Marine. “I don’t need a lecture about the Constitution.”

The law the Marines kept citing is U.S. Code › Title 18 › Part I › Chapter 37 › § 795, which states the following:

Photographing and sketching defense installations
(a) Whenever, in the interests of national defense, the President defines certain vital military and naval installations or equipment as requiring protection against the general dissemination of information relative thereto, it shall be unlawful to make any photograph, sketch, picture, drawing, map, or graphical representation of such vital military and naval installations or equipment without first obtaining permission of the commanding officer of the military or naval post, camp, or station, or naval vessels, military and naval aircraft, and any separate military or naval command concerned, or higher authority, and promptly submitting the product obtained to such commanding officer or higher authority for censorship or such other action as he may deem necessary.

However, President Obama has not mentioned that Camp Pendleton requires “protection against the general dissemination of information,” including photographs or videos.

If it came down to that, Obama should probably start with Google Earth, Google Maps and especially the site that offers “sightseeing with Google Satellite Maps,” all which allow us to see the inside of the base from our computers.

Obama should also crack down on the video posted on YouTube since 2008, which only has about 1,098 views at this time, offering glimpses from inside the base through Google Earth.

Only one person has left a comment so far, stating the following:

Meanwhile, the guy in today’s video was standing so far away from the base, that he was only able to photograph the entrance.

Eventually, an Oceanside police officer pulled up, exchanged some words with the Marines, and the citizen just walked away without further detainment.



War on Photography