Think About It…… June 16, 2010
The No Fly List is a list, created and maintained by the United States government, of people who are not permitted to board a commercial aircraft for travel in or out of the United States. And may God help you if for some unknown reason you ever get on it.
About five years ago my wife, a grandma with 28 grandkids, discovered that she could not book a flight on line or use an airport kiosk, but was directed to appear before an airline official, in person, at the airport. The airline is required to call numerous Federal Government officials, getting approval from them all, one agency at a time. This takes a lot of time. And it has happened over and over again. In fact, the most recent incident the airline had to call so many different Federal Clearance numbers, one after the other, that it took almost two hours. This caused us to miss our flight and our baggage had to be removed from the aircraft. The airline booked us immediately on another airline flight, where the process had to be repeated all over again. This time it only took one hour and forty minutes and we were able to board.
The exact number of names on the “no fly list” fluctuates, but the TSA says that tens of thousands of names are on the list plus thousands more names designated as “selectees” who must receive extra screening and research but are allowed to fly. The “No Fly List” is different than the “Terrorist Watch List”. Are the lists effective? It didn’t stop Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, another Muslim who was accused of trying to bomb Northwest Airlines Flight 253! It didn’t stop Faisal Shahzad, a Muslim accused of planting a car bomb in Times Square after flying into our country. Plus, other serious failures allowing other Muslims to slip through the system. But it does work on one white American Grandma. That I know, for sure.
For five years she has been interviewed, screened, wanded, searched and hassled by the TSA officials at airports both at home and in numerous foreign in countries. During those five years we have tried to do everything possible to end the torture from the TSA. We have called phone numbers given to us by the TSA officials. We have contacted the office of Transportation Security Traveler Redress Inquiry Program(TRIP). We have sent several Traveler Identity Verification Forms (The TIVF) both on line and via snail mail. Congress directed the TSA to establish a procedure to allow people to appeal their placement on the “No Fly List” or “Selectee List”, and we have tried that all to no avail.
Finally, this year we asked our powerful Congressman Don Young to intervene and even with his push all TSA would do was forward our documentation to the DHS TRIP office for a Redress Control Number. That amounted to absolutely nothing. We also asked Senator Lisa Murkowski for help but after 2 ½ months, its obvious that a first term Senator has very little clout at all.
One has to wonder if the “No Fly List” and the “Selectee List” are Constitutional. It would appear to many of us that they are not because they treat Americans as guilty without a trial, and deprives them of their freedoms without due process. A national lawsuit to challenge the “No Fly List” system, Green vs.TSA was brought on behalf of “false positive” passengers who had no method of resolving problems even after they had been cleared for flight many times. As a result, out entire Congress told TSA to “no longer produce a large number of false positives”. The TSA Bureaucracy won’t even listen to Congress.
Think About It! 6-16-10