Once You're Tagged, Your Plans Are Dead
Once the government gets
your identity screwed up, you're already in trouble. Under the next
phase of 'security,' CAPPS II, you'll likely be in trouble
The TSA anticipates that about 10% of air travelers are
potential terrorists, and the new system, quiescent for
months, will point them out for additional scrutiny.
Some 8% of travelers will get branded as "yellow" travelers, and
will get special treatment by the TSA's screeners; one or two
percent, the agents told the Washington Post, will be
denied travel altogether.
They're 'red' risks.
When you buy your ticket, your data -- with whom you're
traveling, where you're going, your travel history, your credit
history, your method of payment, your departure city, and a host of
'secret TSA criteria' -- will determine whether you'll be allowed
to board, or just hassled, or if you'll have your plans nuked,
Brian Turmail, TSA's recently-upgraded head of truth and
enlightenment, told the Post, "Not only should we keep
passengers from sitting next to a terrorist, we should keep them
from sitting next to wanted axe murderers." (The TSA's now doing
the police and FBI's work, too!) Turmail didn't mention how many of
the 10% of air travelers are suspected axe murderers, or what the
population of axe murderers in the population at large is supposed
Delta (and Song),
recruited earlier this year to test the TSA's dirty spy system
on a volunteer basis, backed out of the deal, amid public outcry.
The next quisling airline won't be disclosed to the public,
for fear that Americans will go where their dossiers aren't shared
with government snoops. After the co-opted airline proofs out the
TSA system, the TSA will make CAPPS II mandatory for all Part 121
The ACLU doesn't like the intrusions, on practical (rather than
constitutional) grounds. Barry Steinhardt, director of the American
Civil Liberties Union's technology and liberty program, was quoted
in the Post as saying, "This system is going to be replete with
errors. You could be falsely arrested. You could be delayed. You
could lose your ability to travel." That's OK -- the TSA can't be
sued. Government just makes the rules.
The TSA won't say just what criteria it will use to catch the
10% of air travelers who are axe murderers, terrorist suspects, or
political enemies of the totalitarian state; that would breach
'national security.' They also won't say what you'll have to do,
once you're flagged, to restore your good name and to be allowed by
the government to travel again.
Some of the criteria that are known, though, have to do
with buying one's ticket for cash; or buying a one-way, or a
standby fare; having a poor credit rating; or being on a list of
suspected, or wanted, criminals. The current system, though, uses
last names and sometimes just first initials, though, so if you
have a common last name, you're probably going to be on the
Under CAPPS II, the government will require the airlines to do a
lot of its spy-work, with airline payrolls' paying for the added
police-state burden. Airlines will have to gather (and
presumably verify, under threat of criminal prosecution) your full
name, home address, date of birth, home telephone number, and your
travel plans, as well as your method of payment -- leaving open the
door for the TSA to access bank and account records, financial
history, your purchases, even your movie rentals.
David A. Keene, who is
the chairman of the American Conservative Union, told the
Post that this program isn't about catching axe murderers,
or even terrorists: "This system is not designed just to get
potential terrorists," he noted. "It's a law enforcement
tool. The wider the net you cast, the more people you
All the intrusion and data-mining must be working, as the TSA's
arrests of so many terrorists at airports seems to prove.
It's just a good thing that terrorists are so well-known to the
government -- and that they never use fake ID.