Terrorism

No Fly No More

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The federal "no fly" list is due for some slimming, said Kip Hawley, head of the Transportation Security Administration, who hopes to cut the list in half by 2008.

Some are still griping:

Even cutting the list in half is "nice but not all that meaningful," said Barry Steinhardt, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union. He noted that various estimates of the list's size, which is classified, have ranged from 50,000 to 350,000 names.

"Cutting a list of 350,000 names is not all that impressive," Steinhardt added.

Presumably the 175,000 people no longer on the list would find it fairly impressive when they tried to board a plan to visit grandma for Christmas. If the list is fixed, though, we will lose the chance for stories of hilarious identity confusion, like this one:

Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska…complained that his wife, Catherine, was being identified as "Cat" Stevens and frequently stopped due to confusion with the former name of the folk singer now known as Yusuf Islam, whose name is on the list. In 2004 he was denied entry into the U.S., but officials declined to explain why.

More on who can fly and who can't here and here.

NEXT: New Hampshire's Thought Police

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  1. Colbert on O’Reilly, O’Reilly on Clobert. Tonight.

    /Resume thread.

  2. I will defend the wire tapping but I won’t defend this. It is just stupid. If we don’t want a guy in the country, then don’t let him in or deport him. If we think a guy is such a danger that we don’t want him on an airplane, then arrest him for being a terrorist. But a no fly list? What a monumental waste of time and effort.

  3. Personally, I’m happy they’re keeping Cat Stevens out of the country. Good lord, he might make another record.

  4. Come on Commonsewer, don’t you want to ride on the “Peace Train”?

  5. Sen. Stevens– sick of air travel restrictions on his wife– is currently working on a method of travel to replace airplanes, involving a series of cross country tubes. Not trucks, mind you– TUBES!

  6. John has a great point. Everybody goes through the security checkpoint. Presumably somebody’s name could single them out for a more detailed search. But if somebody’s so dangerous that we won’t let them on a plane even after a full search of their person, why is that person still walking around? Arrest them!

  7. I’m happy they’re keeping Cat Stevens out of the country. Good lord, he might make another record.

    Too late for that:

    Last month he released “An Other Cup” (Atlantic), his first album of pop songs in 28 years. This week, after arriving in the United States on Sunday, he chose radio broadcasts for his first performances here since the 1970s.

    link

  8. To be fair, the TSA does permit people to fly whose names appear on the “No-Fly” list. However, they require that their victims undergo extra scrutiny, and I think they’re not allowed to get their boarding passes from anyone but a human ticketing agent.

    This somewhat mitigates the offensiveness of the list but in no way eliminates it.

    Then again, we should thank our lucky stars that it is the government providing security and not some evil corporation. Have you heard the abuses committed by Disneyland in the name of security?

  9. The no fly list is a joke. Most airlines actually modified their software to make it easy to generate the documentation required to allow someone on the list to fly. (I know, I’m on the list or at least someone with my very common name is on the list).

    It’s time to just drop it all together.

  10. TWC,
    Bite me. I haven’t listened to his latest stuff so I don’t know about that. And his passionate embrace of Islam at the end of a spiritual odyssey left me scratching my head.

    Never the less, the stuff Cat Stevens recorded in the 70s was pretty good. I think his poetry was first rate, and his melodies very fine. I’m not saying he was historically great, but I bristle at the implication that his stuff is unlistenable.

  11. Anything that inconveniences Ted Stevens AND Ted Kennedy or those that like/love them is OK by me.

  12. tarran,

    I’m one of the unfortunates who has to see a human and surrender my drivers license/passport to a counter agent for 15 minutes while his manager goes in the back room to call the FBI/DHS/FAA and make sure I’m not they guy they’re looking for. This has happened about a dozen times but it wasn’t until a few months ago when someone at the counter would explain why my fairly common Anglo/Irish name was on the checklist.

    The guy doing the explaining was named Muhammad. I think he appreciated the irony.

  13. Anything that inconveniences Ted Stevens AND Ted Kennedy or those that like/love them is OK by me.

    First they came for the overweight, corrupt senators, and I said nothing…

  14. John and Brian have it–this, like most other stuff dealing with airline security *cough* take off your shoes *cough*, is stupid political grandstanding with no effect on our security except that the money spent on this can’t go to actually protecting us.

  15. Anything that inconveniences Ted Stevens AND Ted Kennedy or those that like/love them is OK by me.

    I would guess that the senators’ inconvenience pales in comparison with anyone bearing those names who doesn’t have senatorial clout.

  16. TWC is afraid he’s being followed by a moon shadow, moon shadow, moon shadow.

  17. “This has happened about a dozen times but it wasn’t until a few months ago when someone at the counter would explain why my fairly common Anglo/Irish name was on the checklist.”

    Um… I don’t think the Irish are widely known for eschewing terrorism. 🙂

    If you had a Finnish name or something like that your complaint might be more valid.

  18. TWC he has made another record. An Other Cup. Nick Harcourt has been playing it a lot on KCRW.

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