We've got an aggressive 6-month plan and we need your help. Contribute now!

Big Sis Has a Veto on your Travel Plans

  • email

Air Transport World reports that Homeland Security has taken charge of deciding who may fly and who will not. The airlines used to do this. Big Sis claims their takeover will result in fewer cases of mistaken identity, such as the CNN reporter who turned up on a watchlist after criticizing the TSA.

It’s just a changing of hands, but there’s an ominous feel to this announcement. I find it hard to believe that this will result in any improvement. Won’t it just make it easier for Big Sis to bar certain people from flying, or make their lives hell in order to fly? The watchlist process is already opaque. Could it get any worse?

US Dept. of Homeland Security stated that all passengers on flights “within or bound for the United States are now being checked against government watch lists” under implementation of the Transportation Security Administration’s “Secure Flight” program, which entails the agency prescreening a passenger’s full name, birth date and gender prior to issuance of a boarding pass.

Previously, airlines were tasked with checking names against watch lists; now, in accordance with a final rule issued by DHS in 2008 (ATW Daily News, Oct. 23, 2008), airlines are required to collect a passenger’s information at the time of reservation and provide it to TSA. DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano said in a statement, “Secure Flight makes air travel safer for everyone by screening every passenger against the latest intelligence before a boarding pass is issued.”

TSA Administrator John Pistole added, “The threats we face in the aviation sector are real and evolving, and we must confront them with strong and dynamic security measures. Secure Flight bolsters our efforts to be more intelligence-driven and risk-based in our approach to aviation security.”

Some 197 airlines are participating in the program, for which full implementation was required by Jan. 1. “We are pleased that [airlines and government] were able to reach this important security milestone ahead of schedule,” US Air Transport Assn. President and CEO James May said. TSA, which noted it “adheres to strict protocols to protect individual privacy” related to the passenger information provided by airlines, pointed out it has been handling the watch list checks for all domestic flights since June 22.

DHS said that “99% of passengers” will be able to receive boarding passes at home, via kiosks or airport counters just as before Secure Flight was in place. “Individuals found to match watch list parameters will be subject to secondary screening, a law enforcement interview or prohibition from boarding an aircraft, depending on the specific case,” it stated.

Pistole commented that a positive offshoot of the program will be making it less likely passengers will be wrongly confused with names on watch lists. “This will reduce, perhaps substantially, the number of people seeking redress,” he told reporters.

  • Michael

    Does Pistole know how to do math?
    “99% of passengers” will be able to receive boarding passes at home, via kiosks or airport counters just as before Secure Flight was in place. Individuals found to match watch list parameters will be subject to secondary screening, a law enforcement interview or prohibition from boarding an aircraft, depending on the specific case,”

    Most flights I’ve been on have over 100 people, which means on average at least 1 person will need additional screening and is likely to be a danger!? It should be more like 99.99%

  • http://www.libertythinkers.com Dan G

    Every ‘reform’ any .gov agency does always makes things worse.

    The only think that can save us is when the dollar crashes and they can’t pay the high school dropouts with blue gloves their minimum wage anymore.

    Interesting times…..

  • gardenlobster

    Oh great. We won’t find out we’ve pissed them off until 24 hrs before our flight…

  • Jim in NE

    Well this one actually makes sense.
    Profile the folks who raise red flags.
    Basic stuff the Israelis have been doing for years.
    And, if not a transportation- or homeland security- arm of the government screening, then who should screen passengers? Do we want the FBI to be reviewing everybody who flies? How about Pakistani Airlines?

    There are certain people that I’d very much like to get hassled before they get on an airliner. I bet the percentages of members of certain nationalities and religions are far more heavily represented on the Do Not Fly list than those who fit the general demographic of passengers flying out of, say, Green Bay, Wisconsin.

  • TomDean

    Michael has a very valid point.
    There are 2 million passengers per day.
    So according to Big Sis, 1% will need additional screening.
    Let’s help Nappy do the math.
    2,000,000 X 1% = 20,000 passengers per day

    And this is an improvement?

  • John L

    it’s getting harder & harder to distinguish the current regime from Nazi Germany. “Your papers please.” Internal border controls, strip searches outside of law enforcement, lack of due process, guilty until proven innocent. We are very close to the point of no return.

    • John L

      BTW, by “regime” I don’t mean the Obama administration. I just mean the power structure in general. Sure, O is becoming culpable the longer he is in office & allows this to continue. But the wheels were put into motion under W so he too shares a lot of blame. Is there any party in Washington willing to stand up for America, or have they all given up?

      • Cindy

        I have always supported Barak Obama. However, I am horrified that this man does not seem to have a problem with what is going on here. He is no longer in any way in touch with the people of this country.

        • Taymere

          Neither Obama, nor his wife and children will never be sexually assaulted by a TSA agent. “Let them eat cake” is the attitude of the elite with their corporate jets and charters.

          I will not fly commercial under any circumstances. I am now trying to figure out how we can get to the Philippines to visit my wife’s family from the US without getting groped. Canada is doing the same thing so driving there first then flying is not an option. Mexico is a prohibitively long drive for me. Anyone have suggestions besides a slow trans pacific trip on a yacht? A yacht trip would be arduous with our infant and toddler, and them meeting their maternal grandparents is one of the main points of taking a trip to the Philippines. I personally have no fondness for weeks at sea, and my wife has never done it and would be terrified at the first sign of weather.

          The sad thing is that we were considering moving to Hawaii recently, now I won’t even go visit there because it’s too hard to get there without flying.

        • Concerned citizen

          I want to suggest that if every American checked the Congressional voting record, we would not have the kinds of deceptions we have now from Obama, and others before and coming after him.
          I noted his vote for the Patriot Act (twice, not once). This raised my eyebrows, and i felt like a “ghoul” forwarning people during the Obama craze that he was/is not to be trusted. Unfortunately I was right.
          Obama has now claimed the “right” to shoot Americans and others off the battlefield who he himself unilaterally, without judicial review, declares an “enemy combattant” (whatever it takes to be labeled such a thing, like Greenpeace was labeled a “Terrorist” entity prior to Obama and so were the Nobel Peace Prize-winning Quaker group, the American Friends Service Committee, an anti-war group).

          You can read about Obama’s “hit list” “executive privilege” on the ACLU’s website, http://www.aclu.org this was originally reported by the Los Angeles Times and Washington Post, if I am not mistaken.
          “Change”. Indeed. He promised it, didn’t he?
          If we all check the Congressional voting record before we vote, we will not have such “change” in the future.
          Please pass word along. Thank you all.

    • Sandy

      John quoted the Nazi request “Your papers please.” TSA request lacks the “please”. Their attitude is more arrogant than the Nazis..

  • NewYorkDan

    I have the horrible feeling that things are gonna get a lot worse before they get better. In the land of the free and the home of the brave, we are really very close to being a police state. In this forum, I am preaching to the choir. But out there in the world, too many people just don’t understand what is at stake. What we are giving up when we begin to submit to these things. At work, my young colleagues are quite interested in what the stars are wearing but not at all concerned about the erosion of our way of life — at the hands of our own government. They don’t undersatnd that our rights were hard-won and can be lost forever. And that you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone.

    • John L

      Agreed. I took this argument to a web forum consisting primarily of military members & their spouses. Of 3000 people on that forum, only 2 others shared my concern about erosion of our rights. Others may have silently agreed, but didn’t post. The majority of the comments were: “If it keeps us safe, I’m all for it.” So I’m saying, safe from what? Why is your husband in the Navy? What is he fighting for? Does anyone understand the past generations who fought & died to give us our rights, and we will just meekly give them up?

      This totally went over their heads; no one seemed to understand the enemy is us. I fear the passive nature of Americans willing to relinquish our freedom (and the government willing to take it) far more than I fear any terrorist. Sure, a terrorist can blow up an airplane. But Americans themselves can give up something far more precious. Who was it that said “Live free or die.” These are not just words.

      • Dot Age

        That is the mentality of someone in the military. Obey orders at any cost. That is what keeps them safe. They have lost the reason for why they are serving. The last 4 wars have been to “protect” some foreign country to “keep us safe”.

      • Sandy

        Tell the “if it keeps us safe, I’m all for it” sheeple that the Constitution places responsibility for Americans’ safety squarely upon our own shoulders. The government’s role is to keep our Constitutional and unalienable rights safe. IF our government keeps our rights safe, We the People can keep ourselves safe.

        • John L

          Believe me, I tried. I was astounded at their lack of concern & utter unwillingness to consider the greater issues at stake. FWIW, I’m retired from the military, and I’m no sheeple. I certainly hope there are others like me still on active duty or I despair for our future.

      • Cindy

        This is exactly it. If you study history and all the sacrifices that have been made so the citizens of this country can be free, then look at the way people do not even seem to notice the constant erosion of our rights, it is horrifying. These people did not give up their lives so everyone could own a big-screen TV and an Ipod. They did it to protect the freedoms of the greatest country in the world. Do we want to be living in a country where the governments puts dissidents in jail for life or murders them? They are keeping watch lists! Do you see where this is going?

        Wake up now and stop this insanity! We don’t want to have to get to a point where we have nothing left and the only option available is revoltultion to get back to where we were. That would only come at a huge cost – a price that has already been paid

    • Cindy

      Yup. The younger generation does not seem able to comprehend what is at stake at all.. It is alarming. Take the Ipod earbuds out and start paying attention,

  • Denise Nobs

    My hubby is a Christian biker missionary/chaplain. We found out that he is on the anti-gang task forces watch list because he associates with biker gangs – burying and marrying Hells Angels. We have noticed that he has been subject to extra security measures over the past year. I wonder where it will end? Like if you show up at a Tea Party function, will you be on a watch list because you are opposed to what is happening in govt? And omg. If I am opposing all these new rulings, are they going on we won’t fly and watching us too? I’m not paranoid, I am po”ed.

    • John L

      This is interesting. I’m a missionary too. A biker, but not with any club. I’m former military & contractor with high security clearances (now expired). Over the past 18 months, I’ve been pulled aside more & more for closer scrutiny, even on the boarding ramp to the plane I’ve gotten a pat down when no one else did. It’s very puzzling & disconcerting. Once I was called the the counter at the gate to produce more ID for seemingly no reason. I have no idea why & no one has ever said I’m on a no-fly list.

  • RealityCheck

    We have to keep at this. Obama needs to take notice of this farce. Great article in NY Magazine on the subject, by the way. I couldn’t have said it better myself: http://nymag.com/news/politics/powergrid/69779/

  • Jim in NE

    For an even more frightening scenario, try this link to a panel discussion with some former CIA officials, one better known than the other, and read down a bit:

    (note, it has little to do with air travel, and everything to do with civil liberties).

    If we don’t raise the issue, there aren’t many that will. (Curiously, the ACLU is one of them). Too many Conservatives are willing to push the “we need to be safe” emotional button in order to (1) tear down the incumbent, or (2) reinforce the power of the incumbent, depending on who’s in office at the time. The New Hampshire license plate reads “Live Free or Die”. Does anyone actually feel that way anymore?

  • Pingback: Hawaii needs to join fight against TSA’s abusive procedures « Hawaii Citizen

  • Concerned citizen

    A) It is alarming to read the posts of people who agree with Janet Napoleon-o who wants to have us all grilled by police if she happens to not like us. (??? Did anyone ever think of that?? Is this really about terrorism and safety then, or just mere uh….flying politics? Think about it). See the ACLU’s “terrorist” database here, you won’t believe who is on it:


    B) How does being publicly molested keep us safe? DUH! People have traumas, PTSD and flashbacks for years from such experiences. Oh yeah, bring on the rapists and child molestors, please, they keep us safe. Where is the logic in that?? WAKE UP!!!!

    C) I am grateful to read that many people here do “Get it” that this is about loss of freedom and has nothing to do with so-called “Safety”. I lived near the former Iron Curtain and know for a fact that dictatorships curtail the free travel of people. This is the beginnings thereof and I stress again that this is only the beginning. Wait until they go after your family members and hold them hostage because you flew the coup—left the country—without government permission.

    Am I paranoid or nuts? No way folks. That is what dictatorships do. Trust me, they are wrapping the wool over our eyes with their brain-washing “safety” chants. ANd by the time people start to be jailed for flying just because they happened to take up the pen and speak out against diabolical government abuses, then it will be too late for those who finally “wake up”. And for the rest of us.
    Take my warning seriously. This is based on living experience. If you think I am paranoid, act protectively now and think later. Words of the wise.

    Oh, and one last piece of proof that my warnings are real. The ACLU has reported more than 1 milion people on the no-fly list, including babies whose names match someone on the terrorist d-base. Among these were coincidentally?? the late Ted Kennedy and Senator Patrick Leahy. Other Congresspeople too, and no partisan statement intended, it is just fact….they were all Democrats. That is, those who happened to speak up for liberty and justice for all. Hint, hint? Think, thank, thunk? Goodbye freedom? Think please. Thanks.

Read previous post:
YouTube - Testing the TSA policy on photographing checkpoints at Miami International Airport
Cops Harass Miami Airport Photographers

Poorly informed cops give opt out day photographers hard time.