Meet 8-year old Michael Winston Hicks whose name happens to be on the TSA’s “Selectee” list (not “No-fly” list) which requires higher level of screening. Interestingly, the Christmas bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab wa neither on “Selectee” list nor on the “No-fly list”.
Michael Winston Hicks’s mother initially sensed trouble when he was a baby and she could not get a seat for him on their flight to Florida at an airport kiosk; airline officials explained that his name “was on the list,” she recalled.
The first time he was patted down, at Newark Liberty International Airport, Mikey was 2. He cried.
After years of long delays and waits for supervisors at every airport ticket counter, this year’s vacation to the Bahamas badly shook up the family. Mikey was frisked on the way there, then more aggressively on the way home.
“Up your arms, down your arms, up your crotch — someone is patting your 8-year-old down like he’s a criminal,” Mrs. Hicks recounted. “A terrorist can blow his underwear up and they don’t catch him. But my 8-year-old can’t walk through security without being frisked.”
TSA denies it in its myth-buster section saying that the airline should strike the name out for 8-year old.
No 8-year-old is on a TSA watch list. Airlines can and should automatically de-select any 8-year-olds out there that appear to be on a watch list. Whether you’re eight or 80, the most common occurrence is name confusion and individuals are told they are on the no fly list when in fact, they are not. If you get a boarding pass, you’re not on the no fly list.
The no fly list is reserved for individuals that pose a known threat to aviation. The list is an important tool in our multi-layered approach to aviation security and is used daily to keep individuals that pose a threat to aviation off airplanes.
The country should have an intelligent way of screening people, rather than a random or names based security.
I propose the following –
- All people originating from an airport which is not “qualified” by our standards should get a selectee status.
- TSA should be trained to find suspicious looking passengers and screen/interview them further. I don’t suspose that a would be bomber would have a smile on his/her face.
- At least full body X-ray screening should be used for suspicious people.
- Kids and elderly should be excluded from the “selectee” name match list.
Please add your suggestions and feel free to disagree.