Now here is a news story from BostonHerald.com that doesn’t encourage much faith that the federal “no fly” list is a good idea. It seems that Senator Ted Kennedy, easily one of the more recognizable politicians around, was denied boarding on three U.S. Airways shuttle flights in Boston, D.C. and New York last March because his name was on the list of suspected terrorists. Now as much as some folks in the GOP may argue otherwise, Kennedy is hardly a terrorist and you’d think that someone with his clout wouldn’t have much trouble getting the situation resolved after the first incident with just a simple phone call to Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge. You’d think that, but you’d be wrong. It took three calls to Ridge before the issue was cleared up:
“It happened even after (Ridge) called to apologize,” Kennedy (D- Mass.) told a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing. “He couldn’t get my name off the list for a period of weeks.” Kennedy is concerned average fliers face even worse problems, an aide said.
Gee, ya think? The response from Transportation Security Administration spokeswoman Ann Davis doesn’t do much to reassure me on the matter:
But Transportation Security Administration spokeswoman Ann Davis insisted Kennedy “is not on the list, not now or ever. His name was similar to someone else’s alias.”
She added that the senator “had to spend a little extra time at the ticket counter, which is unfortunate.”
Wait a minute here. Is she saying that your name doesn’t have to actually be on the list to have you kept off a flight, it just has to be “similar” to a name that is on the list? How is that in any way supposed to make us feel better? This whole system is pretty idiotic and that should be obvious when someone like Ted Kennedy can end up having a hard time flying because of it.