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gail Dec 2nd, 2006 05:17 AM

Security list tracking travels of US citizens
Am following with great interest the latest news reports indicating that US Govt. has a data base tracking travels, especially out of US travels, of citizens - collecting such info as destination, way ticket was purchased, even meal preference.
This may futher explain why my husband continues to be on TSA or FBI (we get different explanations and despite letter from SA saying he is not a terrorist) watch list for travel.

Anyone have any other info on this - I suspect there is more of this going on than we realize. (Anyone old enough to remember old FBI lists collecting info on anti-VietNam protesters?)

HKP Dec 2nd, 2006 06:12 AM

Some of us might be on old and new lists, both!

Jed Dec 2nd, 2006 04:35 PM

Have you been able to find out specifically why he is on a 'watch list'? ((*))

mjz Dec 2nd, 2006 04:40 PM

I'm curious as to why as well. I remember your past post. Has there been explanation or resolution?

My 21 year old sister is giving me grief about turning 35 next week. She thinks I'm old. However, I don't remember the old FBI lists collecting info on anti-VietNam protesters. So, I'll have to remind her I'm not ready for a retirement home yet....

gail Dec 3rd, 2006 01:01 AM

No one will tell him why he is on "the list" and now we are not sure even what list it is. He followed instructions given here and on TSA website to get his name and identity cleared - sending certified copies of various documents - and to my surprise received a letter stating it was an error BUT that individual airlines might still require secondary screening.

It is all a mystery to both of us - he is one of the millions of frequent business travelers in the US - many trips, multiple cities, itinerary changes, etc. So I do not think that is it.

So he travels armed with a useless letter - he can not use self-serve kiosks at American Airlines, and more recently Continental. He always is quickly passed thru secondary screening, but it involves added time. No one seems interested in the letter. Last month the guy at Continental said he was on "an FBI list" but would not give him any other info.

So now my new theory is that it has something to do with this profiling data which is being collected. I read it was primarily international travels they were following - we all went to Egypt 5 years ago (but the rest of us are not on a list), and the only other countries he had been to before this started were Bermuda, Bahamas, Canada. He has since made one trip to Moscow, but problems started way before that trip.

sunshine007 Dec 3rd, 2006 05:08 AM

Reminds me of my law school roomate. She was of Mexican heritage and lived in Southern California and then moved to Eugene, Oregon for Law School. Her boyfriend was living in Vancouver. For a while she was strip searched (b/c they thought she might be a drug mule) every time she went through the US/Canadian border. I think she finally resolved it but it took a lot of humiliation and effort before it was resolved.

Unfortunately, governments don't care about the effect on the wronged person. My guess is that he shares a name with someone who is on the
list(s). Once your on one list, you're sunk.

I don't think that it has to do with your trip to Egypt -- there are many people who are from the US who live here & travel home a 2 to 4 times a year and this doesn't happen to them.

I spoke with a young pharmacist yesterday here in Cairo. She grew up in the Emirates, then moved here a year ago for a pharmacy job. She wants to further study pharmacy in the US. She can't get a green card b/c her ties with the community are not sufficient. (i.e. she moved from one Moslem country to another too recently) She's got an aunt & uncle who are long time residents of the US who tried to intercede, but to no avail. As she says "I am not a terrorist, I'm a pharmacist."

On the bright side, no matter how frustrating it is, your husband is easily passing through the secondary screeningable to get to the locations he needs to go to and .

Good luck & keep smiling.

clevelandbrown Dec 3rd, 2006 11:48 AM

I'm on the do not fly list (which I have read is actually a compilation of multiple lists). I have no knowledge of any reason I would be on their list, so apparently it is because someone with a like or similar name is on the list. I got my TSA clearance and the airline I use most (Continental) apparently tweaked their system so I can do online checkin now. It took a while, but that was when the lists were new; I would think they would process things more aptly now.

I think any clerk or agent you ask about the list doesn't really know anything other than that they have to call a certain number to clear you. If they try to respond to your asking what list you are on with anything other than "I don't know, I just know your name is there" they are trying to be accomodating at the price of accuracy.

It seems to me we all carp about the way TSA does its job, but many praise El Al for having a more personalized system for evaluating us. Yet now that it is revealed that TSA is trying to get information necessary for a more personalized evaluation, we carp about that.

Every one, particularly the media, is trying to ferret out what information they are gathering and using, with the intent of publishing it. It seems to me that the only people who really need that information are the prospective terrorists. If they find out, for example, that bald men who eat vegetarian meals will be subjected to higher scrutiny, you can bet the terrorists will grow hair and eat meat.

So if we accept that there are evil people out to do us harm, I don't understand why we won't accept the countermeasures needed (don't get me started on governmental efficiency) to identify these evil people. And it seems further that publicising those countermeasures will make them ineffective, and lead to more draconian measures.

Unfortunately, TSA is in the position where, if they accomplish their objectives, it will appear that all they are doing is harassing us. i.e., if they prevent or intercept all terrorist activities, we will start thinking that we don't need TSA.

Carrybean Dec 3rd, 2006 11:56 AM

Exceptionally well said, clevelandbrown. =D>

alanRow Dec 3rd, 2006 12:57 PM

<<< No one will tell him why he is on "the list" and now we are not sure even what list it is >>>

Ted Kennedy was on the no-fly list because a terrorist suspect used the name T. Kennedy

Back to the tracking system - read this article from The Times,00.html

samting Dec 3rd, 2006 01:23 PM

My DH and I have had, in the past, top secret clearances, and have travelled extensively all thru our life, both for business and pleasure. But we always get (him mostly) the 'third degree' when we go thru security leaving the US, never when entering. I wonder if the possessors of these lists ever talk to each other.

JBHapgood Dec 3rd, 2006 06:29 PM

<i>Every one, particularly the media, is trying to ferret out what information they are gathering and using, with the intent of publishing it. It seems to me that the only people who really need that information are the prospective terrorists.</i>

The problem is that the system is a &quot;doomsday book&quot; with no appeals, no oversight, and no quality control. The bureaucracy seems to operate under the assumption that <i>quantity</i> of names on the list determines its effectiveness. So as the lists grow larger, we have an increasing number of entirely innocent people who are irrevocably condemned to a lifetime of entirely unnecessary hassles each time they try to board an airplane. The officials won't explain why someone is on the list or provide any way for someone erroneously on it be removed. The only recourse they allow involves sending a sheaf of personal information to some anonymous office, and God only knows what they do with that information. If that personal information manages to convince the faceless bureaucrats that you're not the &quot;terrorist&quot; they're looking for, you'll get a letter that may or may not (at the whim of the airport official) speed your way through the extra screenings to which you will remain subject for the rest of your life. Apparently they're only set up to continually <i>add</i> people to the list but never remove any, since that would be admitting that they make mistakes which would be unacceptable.

I'd say that under those circumstances, the media would be doing all of us a favor by attempting to pierce the smothering secrecy and expose the system for what it is. I suspect that much of the &quot;necessary secrecy&quot; that shrouds the system exists mainly to protect the officials from exposure of their utter incompetence. A report on <i>60 Minutes</i> on October said that the &quot;no fly&quot; list had 44,000 names on it. Are there really that many terrorists?

The new travel profiling scheme is even more frightening in its implications. I can't imagine that the data it uses is any more reliable than the burgeoning &quot;no fly&quot; lists. Not only is a person's rating and associated criteria secret, but it's quite conceivable that a bad score based on suspect data could result in &quot;extraordinary rendition&quot; to a secret torture camp.

Given the severe consequences of ending up on a list, and the apparent lack of interest of officials in ensuring that the list accurately identifies terrorists rather than many thousands of innocent people, I'd say that we should <i>demand</i> appropriate accountability and oversight to make sure that the system is actually protecting us rather than unnecessarily interfering with the rights of law-abiding people. Maybe if they hassle enough people they might eventually stumble on a terrorist by dumb luck. But I don't think that's sufficient reason to run a &quot;doomsday book.&quot;

AAFrequentFlyer Dec 3rd, 2006 11:43 PM


Thank You!!!

I'm so glad to see that there are some people that see the possible problems with this &quot;security&quot; BS.

gail Dec 4th, 2006 04:22 AM

Does anyone know of any case where a real security risk (not just a terrorist - any security threat) was caught using new enhanced screening methods?

FainaAgain Dec 4th, 2006 11:44 AM

One more list...

I wonder how many lists are there with my name on it!

Library - list of books I (pretend to) read. Food store - do they think I'm expecting if I buy pickles? Clothing store - do they applaud if my dress size goes down? DMV record. Oh, and my medical record with pints and pints of blood on it :)

Which other lists are there?

toedtoes Dec 4th, 2006 12:26 PM

I agree with JBHapgood and AAFF.

Faina - they don't applaud you for losing a dress size, but they do point and laugh if you gain a size! :-d

FainaAgain Dec 4th, 2006 01:05 PM

Why, thanks a lot, ToedToes :))

Also there is a phone list of my long-distance calls... a post office list of my packages sent to a behind-the-iron-curtain country...

I was not here at the time of the Vietnam war, but wouldn't think those lists were ever deleted.

lynnejoel1015 Dec 4th, 2006 01:48 PM

Faina, they (meaning companies, govt, etc) track EVERYTHING! Every time you swipe your credit card, they're collecting data on you and your profile.

To be honest, in this country, I'm more afraid of the power and knowledge that corporations wield, even more so than our government. With the power that big companies have through political contributions (i.e., big oil, big tobacco, big auto, big pharma, the NRA, etc.) I think that corporations have scarier, more robust agency in our daily lives than we think. With more and more frequency, it's the oligarchy of corporations determining our domestic and foreign policies.

Sorry, maybe that doesn't have much to do with airline security screening on the surface, but perhaps below the surface it does.

FainaAgain Dec 4th, 2006 02:30 PM

For me it all started with a mountain of paperwork and fingerprints :)

Now I only check all statements to make sure nobody's using my credit cards. Isn't it scary, seriously, how much info can be so easily obtained?

On another hand, I like to charge everything to get points!

toedtoes Dec 4th, 2006 05:36 PM

I saw Arlo Guthrie perform recently and he said that he's rather grateful nowadays because he's finally NOT on the no fly list!

samting Dec 4th, 2006 08:12 PM

We're all probably on the list by now, just for entering in this forum. Big Brother is watching, you know.

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