At Least I Know I'm Free


How to get onto the Homeland Security watch list.

[Via Kevin Drum.]


NEXT: Protecting the Democratic Process

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. “How many books have you gotten made?”

    Sounds like those language experiments with chimpanzees have finally paid off.

    I agree that going Greyhound is of limited benefit. It’s only a matter of time till there’s a Homeland Security clearing process to ride a bus. And eventually, it’ll be almost impossible to drive long-distance without running into a random traffic stop and being asked for your national ID.

  2. let’s see how many would call for eliminating the TSA (or atleast privatizing the airport screening responsibilities)

  3. If you ask me (and there’s no evidence to suggest anyone has), Mr. Green is taking this entirely wrong. Ala Steve Martin’s Navin Johnson, Mr. Green only needs an umbrella in his drink and he can run through the airport terminals screaming, “The new watch list is out! The new watch list is out! Finally, I am somebody!”

  4. zorel, I’ll vote for privatizing security at airports. (And given that this is a blog for a libertarian magazine, I bet most people here would.) There’s no evidence that the TSA is doing any better of a job than private security screeners, but they are verifiably more expensive (the first thing the TSA did was give everyone a pay raise) and substantially less accountable.

    (Incidentally, 9/11 doesn’t count as a failure of private security, since the boxcutters the hijackers carried were perfectly OK under the FAA’s own security standard, i.e., even if federal screeners had been in place that day, the screeners still wouldn’t have confiscated the boxcutters, even if they had been found.)

  5. One more argument for implementing Bob Poole’s security ideas. You know, the guy that founded this place.

  6. So “bomb” is out, as well as “hijack”. Presumably also “crash”, “blast”, “detonate”, and “strike”.

    Ah, the beauty of the destruction of words

  7. I’m still waiting for the assine fool to comment who they “have no sympathy for this guy” and how he “should have known better” than to carry a piece of paper with the word “bomb” on it into an airport.

    “Don’t you know there is a war going on?!?!?!”

  8. Well, Mark S., writing “bomb” on a piece of paper in an airplane is a stupid thing to do.

    The problem here is the interrogation and the watch list.

    I recently noticed a google search for the person mentioned here coming from It’s not that common a search term, and I guess eop means executive office president.

    If they saw “The Feds threatened L.A. radio station KFI?”, I’m probably on the list too.

  9. The thing I hate the worst about Thousands Standing Around (besides the bossy attitude) is the fact that even though screening is now federalized, those first class passengers still get to go to the head of the line! What about the taxes I paid! Now the airline can’t even sneak you to the head of the line to make a fast international connection – bastards…

  10. When morons jabber, “If you don’t have anything to hide, why do you object to your privacy being stripped away?” I think of occurrences like this.

    But he’s right that taking the bus wouldn’t be an improvement. Last week, in Londonderry, NH, the passengers were ordered off a Trailways bus and not allowed back on till they let the police search their luggage. No threat, no probable cause — just a search for the hell of it.

  11. Gee, people on airliners are awfully nervous these days. I wonder why?

  12. Sounds like the police are jealous that they aren’t the only ones that can make people squirm.

  13. That story was the bomb. Oh crap…

  14. This is absolutely sickening.

  15. If writing the word “bomb” on a piece of paper can get the TSA in a tizzy, they are obviously admitting that their bomb screening is a complete joke.

  16. The fact that this man’s story is published (and advertised by Reason) demonstrates that all hope is not lost.

    Hopefully stories like this become commonplace. (and it’s not a stretch to predict they will)

    Ironically Bush may have to be reelected for the media to focus on these abuses, because the mainstream media will be less likely to frame criticisms of a Kerry-run TSA.

  17. And in the TSA we have another agency that can’t admit it’s wrong. Not ‘sorry, we suspected something, but it’s clear you’re not what we were suspecting. Have a nice day.’ Nope, it’s ‘Well, you didn’t do enough for us to make it stick this time, but you will, and we’ll catch you when you do.’

  18. My wife’s mom in Costa Rica had a mix of food spices they called “la bomba” that she would mail us periodically. After 2001 they agreed not to call it that anymore. Part of me thought we were being paranoid, but I guess not.

    Sounds very draconian though. Make one little innocent “mistake” (it’s not your mistake really, it’s theirs) and you’re on some watch list, probably for life.

  19. I was in an airport talking about some book that had nuclear weapons in it. I tried to very consciously refer to them as nuclear warheads as opposed to bombs because warheads go on missiles, not in carry-on luggage.

    Something, however, tells me that the cops wouldn’t see the semantic difference. This goes back to the reading and the importance of a larger vocabulary. 🙂

  20. Green should look on the bright side. At least he wasn’t strip-searched like India’s Defence Minister was…twice.

  21. You have a right to privacy. Nobody (especially private companies) can have a file on you. If they even think of you (i.e. your image in their skulls) that is fascism.

  22. “So, how many books have you gotten made?” I started my usual backpedaling answer to that query, honed to perfection in the Dallas bar scene, but he cut me off: “That’s not what I asked.” I told him I must have misunderstood. He responded, “You’re a writer and you don’t understand my words?”

    ROFL Oh man that’s funny, because it happened to someone else.

  23. Terrorists’ goal is not to kill people. Killing people is just a means to an end. That end is instilling fear in the target population and making the target government more oppressive. The Bush administration is playing right into the terrorists’ hands by issuing periodic warnings and alerts that stir up fear and engaging in petty acts of opression such as that described by Mr. Green.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.