Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Two Year Old On Terrorist Watch List

Another shining example on how the TSA is making the skies safe comes from an article about a two year old held at the security checkpoint because his name was on the terrorist watch list.

A RESPONSE to last week’s column about the chronic troubles of air travelers came from Christine Anderson, who says she was with her son Jack both times he was told that he was on the terrorist watch list.

The first time was in 2004, when Jack; his mother; his brothers Joey, then 8, and Joshua, then 5; and their grandmother, Susan, arrived at the airport in Minneapolis for a trip to Disney World.

“The woman at the ticket counter demanded, ‘Who is John Anderson?’ ” Ms. Anderson recalled. She pointed at the baby stroller and said, “He’s right here.” The suspect, then 2 years old, blinked his big blue eyes and happily gummed his pacifier.

“That baby’s on the no-fly watch list,” the agent said.

His brothers became agitated. “We’re not going to Disney World!” one of them wailed, according to Ms. Anderson.

After about an hour, the airline ascertained that the Jack in the stroller was not the Jack on the terrorist list, and the family made its flight.

Her concern, she told me, goes beyond a mere hour’s delay at the airport while Jack’s name is cleared. It’s more about the effect such a stigma has on people like Jack, she said.

Jack’s brothers, of course, made a big deal about their baby brother being a terrorist suspect — especially when it happened again two years later on another family trip when Jack, then 4, was taken aside.

“I understand a delay at the airport is a small price to pay for security,” Ms. Anderson said, adding: “But it’s more than just a delay. Jack’s a sweet, sensitive boy. What will the ramifications be for him, years later? Kids don’t rationalize like adults. His take on this is, ‘I don’t do bad things, but they say I do.’ And you can’t tell him differently.”

Since the last airport incident, the family has driven on vacations to avoid airport trouble for Jack.

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Ben said...

“I understand a delay at the airport is a small price to pay for security,”

This lady is an idiot. We have not traded our liberty for safety, just the illusion of safety.