The Absent-Minded Terrorist

The Transportation Security Administration has changed its policy on flying without identification.  It's no longer allowed.  According to TSA:

This change will apply exclusively to individuals that simply refuse to provide any identification or assist transportation security officers in ascertaining their identity.

In other words, the policy is directed not at possible terrorists, but at rabble rousers like Jim Harper, who insist that the long-held right of anonymous movement ought to be preserved.  However...

This new procedure will not affect passengers that may have misplaced, lost or otherwise do not have ID but are cooperative with officers. Cooperative passengers without ID may be subjected to additional screening protocols, including enhanced physical screening, enhanced carry-on and/or checked baggage screening, interviews with behavior detection or law enforcement officers and other measures.

It's hard to see how this is going to make flying any safer.  Does TSA really believe that a terrorist is going to be the one loudly proclaiming his right to anonymous travel?

Brian Doherty wrote about millionaire John Gilmore's quest for anonymous travel in 2003.

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  • ||

    Its called fake ID's. Terrorists will use those to arise the least suspicion. People are naturally suspicious of those who don't present an ID, so why would terrorists try and remain anonymous even if it was allowed?

  • ||

    Most Islamist terrorists are going to be suicidal anyway. Further, I have never been able to figure out just exactly what flying under an assumed name actually gets you. There are of course "no fly lists" but those lists are for international flights. Because international flights are subject to customs, the airline has to send a manifest ahead to CBP and make sure that everyone on the flight can in fact enter the country. So, the ID requirement is redundant.

    On domestic flights it matter not a whit that people are traveling under their own names. What matters is what they are carrying on the plane.

  • ||

    Keep an eye out for those people who are doing their best to stand out! They're not normal, and are therefore probably terrorists!

  • ||

    The ID fetish is a complete crock of shit. The perps on 9/11 weren't flying anonymously, and they weren't using fake ID, either. Their passports were valid, and they even had credit cards.

    The idea that someone who intends to do himself in to take a couple hundred innocent people with him will be deterred by checking his ID is absolute nonsense.

    -jcr

  • JMR||

    Thoughtcrime must be prevented, it's obviously more dangerous than violent terrorists!
    JMR

  • ||

    LOL, its about one thing and one thing only. Tighter Government control. One more step towards a Police State. Papers Please?

    www.iurlz.com/datools

  • ||

    The ID checking is ridiculous and useless, like the majority of airline security measures, but I'm not sure where it follows that people refusing to produce ID must be "loudly proclaiming [their] right to anonymous travel." Is there no room for quiet insistence on one's right to anonymous travel?

  • ||

    LOL, its about one thing and one thing only. Tighter Government control.

    Ehh, it's about other things as well. Airlines have always welcomed such ID regulations, as it makes it easier for them to enforce rules on non-transferable tickets and thus to price discriminate.

  • grizzly||

    Is there any other country in the world where it's possible to fly domestically without an ID?

  • Jozef||

    The article neglected to mention that people who "forgot" their ID are also asked about their party affiliation during their security screening.

  • ||

    Remember kiddies, the airline industry is a failure and only government regulation can save it!

  • Waterhouse||

    grizzly: Is there any other country in the world where it's possible to fly domestically without an ID?

    Maybe, maybe not. But that's not the point, is it? If one country has a stupid policy, pointing out that other countries share that policy isn't a good justification.

  • ||

    Does TSA really believe that a terrorist is going to be the one loudly proclaiming his right to anonymous travel?

    While I agree with you in spirit, this reasoning doesn't make any sense. If ID isn't required to fly then not bothering to ask for it will become the norm, after all whats is the point in asking if

    1) The people with something to hide are not required to
    2) If the right to not show ID is a Constitutional one than it cannot in turn be a reason for subjecting the person who refuses to additional security can it?

    So essentially you are saying you don't want any ID checks at all, and that's a fine argument to make, but your claim of terrorists 'not wanting to make a scene' is nonsensical given that if you got your way there would be no scene to make.

  • Guy Montag||

    I was unaware that you could fly without ID at all since the 1990s or earlier.

    When I worked in that industry we did not check ID of people who had tickets, we checked before issuing tickets. People could, and would, fly on other people's tickets for all sorts of reasons, especially if they were non-refundable and the person ho bought the ticket had a change in plans.

    When that changed, I heard a bunch of whining in various news stories of the airlines just doing this for "revenue".

    About 7 years ago or so I did notice that out west a DOD building pass was worthless as ID, but sometimes my company ID was ok, so was my Army Reserve ID, generally they wanted a driver's license.

    So, it seems, the real rules have caught up with my superstition. I have missed out on much fun, or trouble making, depending on where you stand.

  • ||

    In theory anyway, a fake id represent one more possible point of failure for a terrorist. No id requirements would take that away.

    But it won't stop anyone traveling under their real name, and in practice a fake id is not likely to be spotted.

  • ||

    Could this also be about bail-jumpers, fugitives, etc. from run of the mill crimes committed where an alleged perp is being sought by the authorities?

    I suppose we could do away with TSA and the airline companies could install whatever "security" they want and then we couldn't complain about showing valid i.d. or strip searches or whatever. Somehow I don't believe we'd find Delta or Southwest or any other commercial airline willing to let unknown passengers stroll on board.

  • ||

    If I'm flying with my 80 year old senile Dad I have to allow an extra ten or fifteen minutes for a body search because his drivers licence is expired. Plus I have to go to the ticket counter to have someone scrawl SSS on the boarding pass. Insanity.
    Now that my daughter has a metal hip, I think the family will be driving from now on.

  • Alice Bowie||

    Does TSA really believe that a terrorist is going to be the one loudly proclaiming his right to anonymous travel?


    Well, Yes.

    Think of the TSA as a PUPPET. And imagine GW Bushes hand going up the PUPPETs ass and operating the Jaw in a matter in which it appears that the PUPPET is talking.

    One would think that the TSA is Dumb. Actually, its the policy makers that are DUMB.

  • ||

    I suppose we could do away with TSA and the airline companies could install whatever "security" they want and then we couldn't complain about showing valid i.d. or strip searches or whatever. Somehow I don't believe we'd find Delta or Southwest or any other commercial airline willing to let unknown passengers stroll on board.

    Now you're talking. I myself would prefer an airline that focused on keeping babies and drunks off the plane. Also, if your fat ass spills over your seat, you should be required to purchase two tickets. (Actually I think airlines should go back to charging by the pound. You and your luggage get on the scale)

    Other people might feel better having their luggage pawed through and a cavity search.

  • Guy Montag||

    Somehow I don't believe we'd find Delta or Southwest or any other commercial airline willing to let unknown passengers stroll on board.

    Scroll up to my comment. They used to.

  • Alice Bowie||

    TSA is a Security Officer ... Right?

    Who in our society becomes $5/hour security officers?

    Who gets promoted to manage other security officers?

    Who seeks higher employment as a security office?

    Silly, ineffective, and stupid policies become very CLEAR if u consider all of these questions as for WHO is setting policies...It's the most stupid people in our society.

  • ||

    (Actually I think airlines should go back to charging by the pound. You and your luggage get on the scale)

    You may have been being sarcastic here, Warren, but I actually would like that :). I would also definitely prefer that very large people be charged for the extra seat that they occupy, considering that it takes away from mine. You only bought 1 seat, lard-ass, so stop consuming part of mine, unless you'd like to pay me for it.

  • Kieffer||

    Wow. Usually government agencies like the TSA at least make a shallow attempt to cloak their knuckle-dragging displays of power with some justification. Props to them for finally dispensing with the charade and admitting that airport security is less about safe travel, and more about compelling obedience.

  • ||

    We must nationalize the airlines, in order to provide Americans the sort of quality air travel experience they deserve.

  • ||

    The Transportation Security Administration has changed its policy on flying without identification. It's no longer allowed.

    If this is a change, what was the deal with that Gilmore guy, I think his name was, wasn't he suing because he couldn't get on a plane without ID? Regardless of the policy, could you in reality successfully get on a commercial flight in the U.S. without showing ID? Seems like the airlines might have a problems with it even if TSA didn't, and even if TSA technically allows it, that seems like a good way to get pulled aside for "enhanced scrutiny".

  • ||

    IIRC, only 19 of the 9/11 hijackers (~100%) had ID.
    None of them walked across our southern border.
    None of them snuck in from Canada.

    Make your own conclusions.

  • ||

    grizzly: Is there any other country in the world where it's possible to fly domestically without an ID?

    Is there any other country where it's possible to publish and broadcast offensive views without legal repercussions?

  • Alice Bowie||

    BTW, of the 19 of the 9/11 hijackers...none were illegal aliens.

    Goes to prove the point that PROFESSIONALS should be in charge of making security policies that are effective and fair...not $5hour security guards promoted to supervisor.

  • thoreau||

    Can we just deport the entire TSA to North Korea or Turkmenistan or some other shithole?

    I hates them! I hates them forever!

  • grizzly||

    First they banned anonymous air travel and I said nothing because I always have an ID in my pocket. Then they repealed the first amendment, I was outraged but it was too late.

  • ||

    Then they repealed the first amendment

    I said, "You can't do that!"

    They arrested me.

  • Mr. X||

    Does Mr. Gilmore have standing to sue again, since the facts on the ground about the ability to fly without ID have changed?

  • ||

    This new procedure will not affect passengers that may have misplaced, lost or otherwise do not have ID but are cooperative with officers.

    Yeah, you can forget your ID, but remember to bring some kneepads.

  • Ayn R. Key||

    See the comments in the TSA's blog. Only one intrepid soul so far has actually tried to defend this policy, at a ratio of about 80 to 1. And the one was saying "why is everyone upset about this?" instead of the usual "do you want the terrorists to win?"

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