Thursday, August 19

Homeland Security on Drugs

Is he Department of Homeland Security a political tool for the Republicans? We could ask Tom Delay, (who apparently did something nice, you can read about it at Steve Gilliard's place) who made use of the resource when trying to track Democrats down during his Gerrymandering Rodeo last year. Or we could ask Tom Ridge (R-Moron) how a United States Senator would end up on the No-Fly list. I guess it makes sence that the Senator in question is a Democrat from
. This is doubtless being celebrated in Freeperville.

(CBS/AP) The Senate Judiciary Committee heard Thursday morning from one of its own about some of the problems with airline "no fly" watch lists.

Massachusetts Democrat Ted Kennedy says he had a close encounter with the lists when trying to take the US Airways shuttle out of Washington to Boston.

The ticket agent would not let him on the plane because Kennedy's name was on the no-fly list — in error. After a flurry of phone calls, Kennedy was able to fly home, but then the same thing happened coming back to Washington.

Kennedy says it took three calls to Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge to get his name stricken from the list. The process took several weeks, in all.

It took three freakin calls and several weeks to correct this error, pardon the rhetorical qustion, but are you shitting me. Probably took Delay and Cornyn less time to do their good deed, I mean their jobs.

If this list includes a multiple term U.S. Senator and a 3 year old Californian, is it unfair to question whether the list is valid? Back to the original question; is it possible that the DHS is being used for political purposes?

The senator's complaints are not the first concerns raised about the system, which is supposed to keep suspected terrorists off flights but, critics say, also has been used to discourage left-wing activists from traveling.

A retired minister, a college student and a member of the military are among those involved in the American Civil Liberties Union's challenge to the list.

Airlines are instructed to stop anyone on the "no fly" list that is compiled by the Transportation Security Administration. The ACLU contends, though, that some people are wrongfully put on the list.

"Many innocent travelers who pose no safety risk whatsoever are stopped and searched repeatedly," the ACLU said in a statement issued in April.

Not sure that this is a definitive answer, but the cynic inside me thinks that this administration would be willing to use any available tool for political gain, including something orwellian like a no fly list. Not sure how much I would like to be continually harrased just to fly across the country, not like flying pisses me off to no end in the first place. Lets see what the FBI has to say about this.

The FBI released heavily-redacted memoranda on the no-fly lists last year.

One memo read: "The essential purpose of the No-Fly List is to prevent the transport of persons who …" The rest of the sentence is blacked out.

The TSA acknowledged the name-matching technology used by some airlines confuses people on the no-fly list with passengers who have similar names

I sure would like to know the wording of the last part of the No-Fly mission statement. Now everything is clear, the software confused Senator Ted Kennedy with Unibomber Ted Kaczynski. Of course that must be the rub, they are both named Ted and their last names are practically homophones. I often confuse Ireland and Poland, 'cause, well, they both got land in the name