Friday, January 15, 2010

Eight-Year-Old on Watch List.

According to the TSA here (Retrieved Jan, 15, 2001 at 08:52 PST)
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.
Note how the TSA switches from "a TSA watch list" to the "no-fly list," implying that the watch list and the no-fly list are equivalent. This is a common rhetorical trick in Internet "debates". It serves to mislead the reader and is generally considered sleazy by honest and intelligent readers. OTOH, the above quote is from a government web site so who know what wrote it. Maybe one of the Infinite Monkeys.

Giving lie to the TSA claim, a NYT article dated January 13, 2010: Meet Mikey, 8: U.S. Has Him on Watch List reads in part:
"Meet Mikey Hicks," said Najlah Feanny Hicks, introducing her 8-year-old son, a New Jersey Cub Scout and frequent traveler who has seldom boarded a plane without a hassle because he shares the name of a suspicious person. "It’s not a myth."
As for "automatically de-select[ing] any 8-year-old" on the watch list:
A third grader at a parochial school in Clifton, N.J., Mikey recites the drill like the world-weary traveler he is. Leave early for the airport, always with his passport. Try to get a boarding pass at the counter. This will send up a flag. The ticket agent, peering down at tiny bespectacled Mikey, will apologize or roll her eyes, and call for a supervisor. The supervisor, after a phone call — or, more likely, a series of phone calls — will ultimately finagle him onto the plane. But the Hickses are typically the last to select seats and the last to board, which means they sometimes can’t sit together.
Ok. It looks like the government is lying to us about this. Gomer Pyle used to put it this way, "Surprise, surprise, surprise!"

Maybe that's who is writing the TSA mythbuster site.

H/T to David Codrea

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