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"No Fly Watch List" problems and civil liberties concerns

One fellow Fulbrighter recommends "Who's Watching the Watch Lists?" by a former US diplomat, who was put on the "No Fly Watch List" and had to be specially cleared to board a plane to visit his grandchildren. Following are some excerpts:


John Graham is concerned about civil liberties, because

I'm being accused of a serious--even treasonous--criminal intent by a faceless bureaucracy, with no chance (that I can find) to refute any errors or false charges. (...) Whether it's a mistake or whether somebody with the power to hassle me really thinks I am a threat, the stark absence of due process is unsettling. The worst of it is that being put on a list of America's enemies seems to be permanent. The TSA form states: "the TSA clearance process will not remove a name from the Watch Lists. Instead this process distinguishes passengers from persons who are in fact on the Watch Lists by placing their names and identifying information in a cleared portion of the Lists" (which may or may not, the form continues, reduce the airport hassles).

John Graham refers to an MSNBC piece that describes that

Thousands of airline travelers a day are wrongfully identified as being on the government’s “no fly” list of known or suspected terrorists due to the failings of the airline industry’s pre-screening process, experts told a congressional panel Wednesday. Meanwhile, the government system intended to take over that screening process is so underfunded it might not get off the ground, a government official warned.

John Graham, who received an award by the first President Bush for his NGO work of fostering the health of US democracy, acknowledges that tougher internal security measures are necessary after 9/11, but

In protecting ourselves, we can't allow our leaders to continue to create a climate of fear and mistrust, to destroy our civil liberties and, in so doing, to change who we are as a nation. What a victory that would be for our enemies! And what a betrayal of real patriots, and to so many in the wider world who still remember this country as a source of inspiration and hope.


Age Ventures on : Stuff to read (July)

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