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Clinton Used IRS - Bush... Air Traveler Harassment
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  • Clinton Used IRS - Bush... Air Traveler Haras...   wheelslip   11y  
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    Clinton Used IRS - Bush... Air Traveler Harassment
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    Date: 8/3/2003 10:33:40 PM   ( 11y ago )
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    Published on Sunday, August 3, 2003 by the Independent/UK
    US Anti-War Activists Hit by Secret Airport Ban
    by Andrew Gumbel in Los Angeles

    After more than a year of complaints by some US anti-war activists that they were being unfairly
    targeted by airport security, Washington has admitted the existence of a list, possibly hundreds or
    even thousands of names long, of people it deems worthy of special scrutiny at airports.

    The list had been kept secret until its disclosure last week by the new US agency in charge of aviation
    safety, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). And it is entirely separate from the
    relatively well-publicized "no-fly" list, which covers about 1,000 people believed to have criminal or
    terrorist ties that could endanger the safety of their fellow passengers.

    The strong suspicion of such groups as the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which is suing
    the government to try to learn more, is that the second list has been used to target political activists
    who challenge the government in entirely legal ways. The TSA acknowledged the existence of the list
    in response to a Freedom of Information Act request concerning two anti-war activists from San
    Francisco who were stopped and briefly detained at the airport last autumn and told they were on an
    FBI no-fly list.

    The activists, Rebecca Gordon and Jan Adams, work for a small pacifist magazine called War Times
    and say they have never been arrested, let alone have criminal records. Others who have filed
    complaints with the ACLU include a left-wing constitutional lawyer who has been strip-searched
    repeatedly when traveling through US airports, and a 71-year-old nun from Milwaukee who was
    prevented from flying to Washington to join an anti-government protest.

    It is impossible to know for sure who might be on the list, or why. The ACLU says a list kept by
    security personnel at Oakland airport ran to 88 pages. More than 300 people have been subject to
    special questioning at San Francisco airport, and another 24 at Oakland, according to police records.
    In no case does it appear that a wanted criminal was apprehended.

    The ACLU's senior lawyer on the case, Jayashri Srikantiah, said she is troubled by several answers
    that the TSA gave to her questions. The agency, she said, had no way of making sure that people did
    not end up on the list simply because of things they had said or organizations they belonged to. Once
    people were on the list, there was no procedure for trying to get off it. The TSA did not even think it
    was important to keep track of people singled out in error for a security grilling. According to
    documents the agency released, it saw "no pressing need to do so".

    It is not just left-wingers who feel unfairly targeted. Right-wing civil libertarians have spoken out
    against the secret list, and at least one conservative organization, the Eagle Forum, says its members
    have been interrogated by security staff.

    The complaints by the ACLU form part of a pattern of protest since the 11 September attacks, with the
    Bush administration repeatedly under fire for detaining people on the flimsiest of grounds in the name
    of the "war on terror". Many Muslims have had a hard time, especially if they have a surname such as
    Hussein.
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