By KrisAnne Hall
According to a memo received by the New York Times, in February of this year the TSA developed a brand new “secret watch list.” This list is for special people who don’t necessarily qualify for the big “No Fly” list, but for people individual agents of the TSA feel have been “offensive” or have created “challenges to the safe and effective completion of screening.”
So if you don’t like where the agent’s hands are roaming, or you question a TSA agent’s authority, motives, or honesty, you get to be on this new list.
According to the memo and anonymous TSA agents interviewed by the New York Times, being on this list allows other TSA agents to identify you as a “problem.” The TSA claims the list cannot impel “extra screening” at checkpoints, but those of us who fly often know how ridiculous it can become when you are “randomly chosen” to for extra screening.
The feds already have multiple “watch lists” and being on this new list won’t put you on the “no fly” list, so why does the TSA need a new, super-secret one?
Kelly Wheaton, TSA deputy chief counsel, says the TSA needs a list for passengers who have been demonstrably unruly at, or near, checkpoints. Matthew F. Leas, a TSA spokesman, said in an email to the Times, that the agency “wants to ensure there are safeguards in place to protect Transportation Security Officers (TSOs) and others from any individual who has exhibited disruptive or assaultive behavior at a screening checkpoint and is scheduled to fly.”
According to the Times, Federal security directors, top TSA security officials at airports and top Air Marshals’ supervisors can nominate individuals to be put on the watch list. Only the TSA administrator, his deputy and the top two officials at the agency’s Office of Intelligence and Analysis may add or remove people from the database.
This is clearly unconstitutional. There is no notice given that you are being put on a list, and no apparent way for you request to be removed from this list. If the government can secretly put an American on a list that could lead agents to identify that American and impose regulations or even lead to some kind of discriminatory activity, this is a violation of every American’s Right to Due Process; Rights that are expressly enumerated in the 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th Amendments.
Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, Democrat of New Jersey, said during a House homeland security subcommittee hearing: “What I don’t want — what I think no American would want — is an excuse for unfair, secret profiling that doesn’t even offer a chance for people to contest their name appearing on such a list…I am concerned about the civil-liberty implications of such a list.” Hugh Handeyside, an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union, told the Washington Post, the policy gives the agency wide latitude to “blacklist people arbitrarily and essentially punish them for asserting their rights.”
Those who fought for the foundations of America lived through a nearly identical exercise of federal power. For those living under British Rule in 1761, they called these laws, “the worst instrument of arbitrary power, the most destructive of English liberty and the fundamental principles of law, that ever was found in an English law-book.” (For a history refresher to see the alarming parallels with today’s TSA, read this article on the history of our 4th Amendment.)
We all should be concerned about the implications of a single agent, within a federal agency, possessing unlimited and unchecked power over Americans!
KrisAnne Hall is a former biochemist, Russian linguist for the U.S. Army, and former prosecutor for the State of Florida. KrisAnne also practiced First Amendment Law for a prominent Florida non-profit Law firm. KrisAnne now travels the country teaching the foundational principles of Liberty and our Constitutional Republic. She is the author of 6 books on the Constitution and Bill of Rights, and has an internationally popular radio and television show. Her books and classes have been featured on C-SPAN TV. KrisAnne can be found at www.KrisAnneHall.com. Get the book “Sovereign Duty” to learn what the designers of our Constitution wanted Americans to do when their federal government became bloated and out of control. Find this book on Amazon, Barns & Noble, Wal-Mart, and many other merchants.