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25/11/2008 – The No Fly List. The TSA. The Glaring Problems Highlighted By A Four Year Old.
The most famous of these gaffs by the DHS is possibly the appearance of Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA) on the No Fly List. Senator Kennedy was first elected to the United States Senate in 1962 and is one of the most influential Senators in the United States. Once Senator Kennedy found out he was placed on the No Fly List in August of 2004 it took him three weeks to be removed from the list after directly speaking with the Secretary of Homeland Security.
In a terribly embarrassing situation for the DHS, former South African President, and Nobel Peace Prize Winner, Nelson Mandela has also appeared on the No Fly List.
Some awkward situations for United States Federal Air Marshall Service (FAMS) have arisen when these U.S. Federal Agents, charged with protecting commercial airline flights have been denied boarding. Why? Well it turns out some of these FAMS have had their names pop up on the No Fly List.
So who else has appeared on the DHS No Fly List? Recently while reading FlyerTalk I found a very interesting post by a father who’s four year old son apparently made the No Fly List.
This four year old was not flagged for having no known travel history, which in its self is still a terrible reason to be flagged. This four year old has a flying history on both Delta Airlines and United Airlines. This four year old has even has his own United Mileage Plus frequent flyer number for the past three years.
The father of this ‘tagged’ four year old searched his sons name in various places online. Due to an unusual last name it was not hard to determine that only one other person has his son’s name, and that person would not be someone targeted by the DHS.
So how does a four year old end up on the DHS No Fly List? Well no one knows. Why does no one know? Well the DHS will not disclose why a name has been directly placed on the No Fly List. In fact for quite sometime the DHS would not confirm there was a No Fly List.
Luckily for our four-year-old-flyers a United Airlines customer service representative at the airport simply asked for his date of birth and issued a boarding pass. A four year old thankfully does not need to provide a valid photo identification to travel……..yet.
With new security measures coming into place old concepts and practices need to be reevaluated and phased out. The current systems in place for Homeland Security deter few threats, cause confusion and provide virtually no security benefits.
To date no terrorists have been intercepted by the current security measures in place. To date no terrorists or suspected terrorists have been intercepted by the No Fly List.
What has happened is the delay and obstruction of free travel by thousands of law abiding travellers?
Hopefully our little four-year-old traveler continues to ‘Fly The Friendly Skies’ and is exempt from future problems with the No Fly List.