Wednesday, December 28, 2005

This Terrorist Isn't Toilet-Trained Yet

Once your name gets on that no-fly list, you will never get it off. Even if you're only nine months old.

The classified no-fly list was adopted after the hijacked-plane attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, in an effort to prevent suspected terrorists from getting on aircraft or coming to the United States. Airlines must check passenger names against the list before allowing them to get on a plane.

While the number of suspected terrorists on the list is unknown, aviation sources estimate that it includes tens of thousands of names, if not more.

TSA spokesman Christopher White said the agency has seven people working full-time on processing applications to get on the cleared list. Considering the number of applications, that works out to less than 4,000 complaints per redress officer.

"We do take the cleared list very seriously, and it's also important for us to focus on the right people. It does us no good to focus on the wrong John Doe," White said.

Cleared individuals receive a letter from the TSA saying, "we have provided sufficient personal information to the airlines to distinguish you from other individuals" but cautions that "TSA cannot ensure that your travel will be delay-free."

John Graham, a 63-year-old former Department of State official, said his TSA letter had not helped at all.

"I'm at a point now where I don't really care whether my name is on the list as a mistake, as mistaken identity or whether someone at TSA does intend to hassle me. The fact is, there's a total absence of due process," he said.

The American Civil Liberties Union calls the no-fly list system unconstitutional, saying it treats people as guilty without a trial and unfairly deprives them of freedoms. It also says the system is an inaccurate and ineffective security method.

Via Suburban Guerrilla.

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