WASHINGTON, D.C. - Babies have been stopped from boarding planes at airports throughout the nation because their names are the same as or similar to those of possible terrorists on the government's "no-fly list."See, see, see what that evil Patriot Act has done? Babies cannot board flights without onerous and unreasonable background checks! Where is our freedom? Where are our rights?
It sounds like a joke, but it's not funny to parents who miss flights while scrambling to have their babies' passports and other documents faxed. Ingrid Sanden's 1-year-old daughter was stopped in Phoenix before boarding a flight home to Washington at Thanksgiving. "I completely understand the war on terrorism, and I completely understand people wanting to be safe when they fly," said Sanden, a Minnesota native. "But focusing the target a little bit is probably a better use of resources."
The government's no-fly lists have grown markedly since the Sept. 11 attacks. Critics including the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) say the lists don't provide enough information about the people on the lists, so innocent passengers can get caught up in the security sweep.OK, let me get this one straight, the ACLU wants MORE data collected about airline travelers?
That can happen even if the person happens to be a baby such as Sanden's daughter. Children younger than 2 don't need tickets, but Sanden purchased one for her daughter to ensure she had a seat. "It was bizarre," Sanden said. "I was hugely pregnant, and I was like, 'We look really threatening.' "Earlier, Sanden said she understood the point of increased security. I guess she forgot about the part where not 'looking threatening' doesn't mean a thing.
Sarah Zapolsky and her husband had a similar experience last month while departing from Washington Dulles International Airport. An airline ticket agent told them their 11-month-old son was on the government list. They were able to board their flight after ticket agents took a half-hour to fax her son's passport and fill out paperwork.See, see, Bush, Rumsfeld, Cheney, Haliburton, Patriot Act, all bad, bad, bad.
Well-known people such as Sen. Edward Kennedy, Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., and David Nelson, who starred in the sitcom "The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet," also have been stopped in airport security checks. The government has sought to improve its process for checking passengers since Sept. 11. But for now, airlines still have the duty to check passengers' names against those supplied by the government.
What, there's more to the story?
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA), which administers the list, instructs airlines not to deny boarding to children under 12 -- or select them for extra security checks -- even if their names match those on a list. But it happens anyway, according to Debby McElroy, president of the Regional Airline Association.Wow. Surprise ending. The AIRLINES are screwing rover on this one. The big, heartless, unaccountable TSA says let junior board the plane, no questions asked, but it's United, Delta, Northwest, etc., that are dropping the ball.
There you go class; make sure the smoking gun is in the last graph.