Thoughts, essays, and writings on Liberty. Written by the heirs of Patrick Henry.

“The New Deal began, like the Salvation Army, by promising to save humanity. It ended, again like the Salvation Army, by running flop-houses and disturbing the peace.”     H. L. Mencken

August 13, 2008

Forgot Your ID? Welcome To The Watch List

by Brad Warbiany

Back in June, the TSA decided that you were no longer allowed to fly without ID, even if you submit to a more strenuous search process. At the time, though, there was a loophole. Assuming you had lost or forgotten your ID, and were “cooperative” in assisting screeners to assess your identity, you would still be allowed to fly.

Many of us thought this was a gaping loophole, because it wouldn’t be very hard to tell the screener that you’d forgotten your ID, show him a Blockbuster Video rental card, and be on your merry way.

I guess not, though. They went even farther than the old program:

Fliers without ID placed on TSA list

The Transportation Security Administration has collected records on thousands of passengers who went to airport checkpoints without identification, adding them to a database of people who violated security laws or were questioned for suspicious behavior.

The TSA began storing the information in late June, tracking many people who said they had forgotten their driver’s license or passport at home. The database has 16,500 records of such people and is open to law enforcement agencies, according to the TSA.

Asked about the program, TSA chief Kip Hawley told USA TODAY in an interview Tuesday that the information helps track potential terrorists who may be “probing the system” by trying to get though checkpoints at various airports.

The article goes on to say that the TSA has apparently reconsidered, and will be expunging those who “simply” have forgotten their ID from the list. Those who are acting “suspiciously”— ominously undefined— will remain on the list, of course, so if you’ve forgotten your ID, you’d better hope that you find a screener who isn’t having a bad day.

One wonders how a list, such as the terrorist watch list, can reach a million names. When they can add 16,500 merely forgetful people over the course of a month and a half, though, it ceases to be a mystery. You’re doin’ a heckuva job, Kip, you idiot

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