15,000 seek to clear their name from no-fly list

Old Nov 7, 07, 6:00 am
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15,000 seek to clear their name from no-fly list

http://www.c-n.com/apps/pbcs.dll/art...ONT01/71107004

The complaints have created such a backlog that members of Congress are calling for a speedier appeal system that would help innocent people clear their names so they won’t fall under future suspicion. Among those who have been flagged at checkpoints: toddlers and senior citizens with the same names as suspected terrorists on the watch list.

“To leave individuals in this purgatory is un-American,” says Rep. Yvette Clarke, D-N.Y., who says she’ll introduce legislation to try to streamline the process.
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Old Nov 7, 07, 7:24 am
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The list itself and those who created/maintain it are un-American.
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Old Nov 7, 07, 7:39 am
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I wonder if there exists a reasonable way to keep such a list of actual dangerous people. I'm not talking one that is 49,000 long, but maybe 100-200 long.

Maybe they should just start over?
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Old Nov 7, 07, 7:50 am
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Originally Posted by magiciansampras View Post
I wonder if there exists a reasonable way to keep such a list of actual dangerous people. I'm not talking one that is 49,000 long, but maybe 100-200 long.

Maybe they should just start over?
It's impossible. "Dangerous person" is a speculation. The 9/11 hijackers had no record. Tim McVeigh had no record. People can't predict the future very well. For every bit of information that you choose to use to decide whether someone is dangerous, you'll have a large number of false positives and you'll miss "dangerous" people who don't throw off those indicators.
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Old Nov 7, 07, 7:53 am
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Originally Posted by whirledtraveler View Post
It's impossible. "Dangerous person" is a speculation. The 9/11 hijackers had no record. Tim McVeigh had no record. People can't predict the future very well. For every bit of information that you choose to use to decide whether someone is dangerous, you'll have a large number of false positives and you'll miss "dangerous" people who don't throw off those indicators.
You're probably right.

The problem, as I see it, is that the false positives are pretty damn costly, both in dollar terms (costing individuals $$$, cost of diverting planes when they find "someone" is on the list, etc.) and civil liberty terms.

I'm not surprised that DHS isn't too worried about the costs, though. That would be out of character.
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Old Nov 7, 07, 4:24 pm
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OBJECTION, SPECULATION!

I smell a class-action lawsuit. Seriously, don't pull the "patriotic" crap on me. I'll sue the government, the president of the United States, or even members of the military if I've been done wrong by them.
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Old Nov 7, 07, 4:54 pm
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Originally Posted by magiciansampras View Post
I wonder if there exists a reasonable way to keep such a list of actual dangerous people. I'm not talking one that is 49,000 long, but maybe 100-200 long.

Maybe they should just start over?
Actual dangerous people will either
a) never travel on a commercial flight, or
b) not travel under their actual dangerous name.

Or am I perhaps missing the point of the "list" ?
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Old Nov 7, 07, 4:57 pm
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Originally Posted by Wally Bird View Post
Actual dangerous people will either
a) never travel on a commercial flight, or
b) not travel under their actual dangerous name.

Or am I perhaps missing the point of the "list" ?
I guess one could argue that serves as a deterrent. I.e. if you know you're name is on the list, you don't fly.

Note that "one" could make that argument; certainly not me. It's a stupid argument.
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Old Nov 7, 07, 6:15 pm
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Originally Posted by magiciansampras View Post
You're probably right.

The problem, as I see it, is that the false positives are pretty damn costly, both in dollar terms (costing individuals $$$, cost of diverting planes when they find "someone" is on the list, etc.) and civil liberty terms.

I'm not surprised that DHS isn't too worried about the costs, though. That would be out of character.
The costs (as DHS and politicians see it):

Delaying thousands of innocent people: Basically free
"Allowing" one person to get harmed by a "terrorist": Political suicide

Easy math.
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Old Nov 7, 07, 9:24 pm
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Originally Posted by magiciansampras View Post
I wonder if there exists a reasonable way to keep such a list of actual dangerous people. I'm not talking one that is 49,000 long, but maybe 100-200 long.
Not really. Think it through. Assume for a moment (for the sake of dsicussion) that this list has any effect whatsoever. If the list was then optimimzed for effectiveness, it would have but one name on it, let's say for the sake of argument, Osama hisself. Every TSA officer at all dragnets, large and small, would be on full alert for OBL. Clearly, if OBL wanted to travel in the US he:
1) would not travel under his real name
2) Would have bulletproof ID under a false name. (Think passport from somewhere in the Muslim world, perhaps backed up by a DL from a European state.)
3) would have changed his appearance completely.
and 4) would have his new image on said bulletproof ID's.

Unless OBL's new image was a tube of toothpaste, or a 3.5 oz. bottle of liquid, I would contend there's not a screener out there that could or would catch this. I contend that if you or I knew with certainty that he was in a group of a dozen people and the above 4 steps had been completed by professionals, our odds of correctly ID'ing the new, revised OBL would be ~1 in 12. (Refer to the Ramsi Yousef case, yaddah, yaddah, yaddah.)
IMO the agitah about ID is a sham perpetrated by that most dangerous of all things, a group of shallow thinking bureaucrats with far too much power.
When challenged effectively, the group can always retort "the 9-11 report makes us do this."
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Old Nov 7, 07, 9:36 pm
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My father's name was on the no-fly list and it took 20-30 minutes every time he checked in for a flight to compare his date of birth and other information with some "central database" (a supervisor had to call someone to access this) to make sure it didn't match. Even after he was cleared he would always get SSSS and it was never possible for him to check-in online. They would also always open up his bag when he arrived from overseas. He put up with this for a year until we contacted our congressman who contacted the TSA to get him off of there.

Last edited by chewy3; Nov 7, 07 at 9:44 pm
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Old Nov 8, 07, 7:43 am
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Originally Posted by NY-FLA View Post
Not really. Think it through. Assume for a moment (for the sake of dsicussion) that this list has any effect whatsoever. If the list was then optimimzed for effectiveness, it would have but one name on it, let's say for the sake of argument, Osama hisself. Every TSA officer at all dragnets, large and small, would be on full alert for OBL. Clearly, if OBL wanted to travel in the US he:
1) would not travel under his real name
2) Would have bulletproof ID under a false name. (Think passport from somewhere in the Muslim world, perhaps backed up by a DL from a European state.)
3) would have changed his appearance completely.
and 4) would have his new image on said bulletproof ID's.
What about the argument that while OBL is smart, lots of these terrorists are quite stupid. That by having a list we'll be able to stop the not-so-bright ones that don't have the resources to get bulletproof ID under a false name?
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Old Nov 8, 07, 7:55 am
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Originally Posted by magiciansampras View Post
What about the argument that while OBL is smart, lots of these terrorists are quite stupid. That by having a list we'll be able to stop the not-so-bright ones that don't have the resources to get bulletproof ID under a false name?
Google the 60 Minutes interview with the TSA and the no-fly list. You'll feel even safer.

And not Morley Safer.
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Old Nov 8, 07, 7:56 am
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Originally Posted by Wally Bird View Post
Actual dangerous people will either
a) never travel on a commercial flight, or
b) not travel under their actual dangerous name.

Or am I perhaps missing the point of the "list" ?
Think of the terrorist Yusaf Islam and his denial of entry back in 2004. Maybe if he used his alias Cat Stevens he would have made it into the US.
Well at least the Peace Train didn't blow up and I don't think any of us are being followed by a Moonshadow.
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Old Nov 8, 07, 1:52 pm
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Originally Posted by magiciansampras View Post
What about the argument that while OBL is smart, lots of these terrorists are quite stupid. That by having a list we'll be able to stop the not-so-bright ones that don't have the resources to get bulletproof ID under a false name?
Stop them from what ? Getting on a plane after having been thoroughly screened by the TSA professionals ? BFD.

Perhaps you'd like to have them arrested and charged with terrorism ? Hasn't happened yet AFAIK.

A list that is not only grotesquely inaccurate but also apparently toothless.
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