According to a news story in the New York Times, an eight year old New Jersey boy is subject to extra scrutiny from TSA agents when he flies because his name appears on a “selectee” list.
Najlah Feanny Hicks said her son, Michael Hicks, a Cub Scout who travels often with his family, has had to go through extra security screening for most of his young life, receiving his first invasive pat-down at the age of two.
The “selectee” list contains around 13,500 names of people who are subjected to higher levels of security screening at airports, a larger group than the government’s official no-fly list.
Apparently the boy gets extra pat downs at airport security because he shares the same name as someone else who was already on the list.
This is just another example of the absolutely ridiculous approach to airport security that creates havoc for travelers. This blanket approach to restrictions — no liquids, take off your shoes, stay in your seat for the last hour before landing — may be making us safer, but I don’t know for sure. I haven’t seen any reports of how many possible terrorists have been caught since these restrictions went into place.
And what possible benefit to our safety was there in frisking a two-year-old boy just because his name was on a list? Not because there was something in his background, or his family’s background to raise alarms. He just has the wrong name.
I also wonder why the child’s name can’t be taken off the list? Is the list cast in stone?
What do you think? Is this a necessary precaution?
6 thoughts on “I’m feeling real secure over this”
I think it’s absolutely ludicrous — so much so, that unless I’m facing a big emergency, I won’t fly.
What I want to know is why this list is comprised of names only. To be actually useful, it ought to include a physical description, date of birth, photos, fingerprints, biometrics, etc. That way, if the name matches, they can check other characteristics before subjecting the person to extra scrutiny. TSA could see the name match, check the additional info, and realize, “Oh, this name is for a 37-year-old man. This little child is not the John Doe we’re looking for.” Duh. When the name match also matches the approximate age and physical description (broadly allowing for weight gains/loss, growing/shaving beards, haircuts, surgery, etc.), THEN subject the person to the next level of scrutiny–biometrics and fingerprints. If it’s not the person you’re looking for, apologize for the trouble and let them pass. If we were actually serious about airport security, we could provide better screening which would actually reduce the inconvenience inflicted on innocent people.
LOL, Anj, what you are suggesting would actually make since. Since when does any mandate from government make sense?
You know the old saying, “it takes an act of Congress.” Well, unless there is special interest money involved, Congress doesn’t take care of business.
Sad, sappy, and downright ridiculous.
Michael Hicks sounds like a pretty ordinary name. How many other Michael Hicks are being stopped and searched? He’s 8 now. What in the world is his middle name? Michael Imaterrorist Hicks?
Straight From Hel
That’s a good one, Helen. It boggles my mind that someone can’t act on some common sense and just take the boy’s name off the list.