Wednesday, September 22, 2004

TSA Tidbits

TSA LogoThis must just be the day for stuff about the TSA.

U.S. airlines have been ordered to turn over a months' worth of passenger data to the government, so that it can be used to improve the CAPPS II type database that congress has prohibited the TSA from using. But based on recent personal experience, the feds already know all about who is flying. So why do they pretend that they need data they already seem to have?

In a related item, the Department of Homeland Security ordered a United Airlines flight from London carrying the singer formerly known as Cat Stevens diverted to Bangor, Maine instead of allowing it to land as scheduled in Washington, D.C. Stevens, now a converted moslem known as Yusaf Islam, and his 21-year-old daughter were marched off the plane by FBI agents.

TSA officials said the singer was denied access "on national security grounds" because his activities could be "linked to terrorism." As one blogger noted, "I certainly feel safer now, knowing that the TSA is keeping known guitarists off of airplanes." The British Foreign Minister has issued a protest.

What I don't understand, is why they had to divert him and 280 other passengers on the Boeing 747-400 to Bangor, at significant cost to the troubled airline? Surely, they couldn't be a shortage of gun-toting feds in D.C.?


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