In an eye-opening op-ed, journalist David Lindorff outlines a compelling case alleging that the U.S. government is using the guise of national security and public safety to track and, in some cases, harass journalists. Recent headlines seem to back up the investigative reporter’s contention that politics plays a major role in who is singled out for extra attention at the airport.
The mysteries surrounding certain airport and immigration security protocols is very much by design. It is a lot more difficult for nefarious elements to find a workaround for procedures designed to keep air travel safe if the bad guys don’t know exactly what those procedures are in the first place. One respected investigative reporter, however, is convinced that random airport searches and peculiar ticketing glitches may not be as arbitrary as officials would have us believe.
In a March 25th editorial column, journalist David Lindorff asserts that his recent ticketing check-in issues and repeated extra attention from airport security can be linked to a career of exposing government malfeasance. He shares mostly anecdotal (but at times, compelling) evidence to back up his contention that he is subject to added scrutiny when traveling solely because of his job.
Lindorff shared numerous incidents of being singled out at the airport. The sheer number of times the reporter recounted being temporarily detained by airport screeners and immigration officials certainly make it appear unlikely he was flagged at random each time. The journalist also shared remarkably candid conversations he had with security officials in the U.K. who admitted that he was being subjected to extra security screening at the behest of the U.S Department of Homeland Security.
“This made it clear beyond a doubt that I am on some internationally circulated watch list produced by my own country’s Homeland Security authorities – an action this is equally clear was being taken on account of my work as a journalist, since I have never done or even written anything or associated with anyone that would lead to suspicion that I was a terrorist or a threat to an airliner,” Lindorff wrote. “I am a journalist period. So much for the first amendment and the fourth too, if my computer and/or phone was searched.”
Still, Lindorff didn’t present much in the way of unequivocal evidence that he was specifically targeted for harassment or that his name appears on a watchlist of pesky journalists. As frequent flyers in the Flyertalk forums well know, sometimes a random secondary security screening is just that – random.
On the other hand, leaked documents revealed that Homeland Security compiled a secret list of journalists, activists and social media influencers who are involved in monitoring the immigration situation at the U.S/Mexico border. An NBC News report found that individuals whose names appeared on the list were frequently detained and harassed at the border.
Lindorff indicated that he believes his travel woes are in part due to his vocal criticism of the current and past White House administrations. “Yeah, I’m a journalist and our president doesn’t like journalists,” he recalled explaining during his most recent one-on-one security screening.
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