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"Legislation takes off to clear airline passengers misidentified as terrorists"

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Legislation takes off to clear airline passengers misidentified as
By Deborah Sherman

The U.S. House of Representatives Wednesday voted unanimously for a bill
that would help innocent airline travelers get off the government's No-Fly

Twenty-six passengers named John Thompson who live in Colorado told 9Wants
to Know last year they are delayed and hassled every time they try to board
an airplane because they share the same name as a terrorist. 

"For some, like the John Thompsons of the country, flying is a painful and
difficult experience. Not because of the items they bring through security
or the way they act, but simply because of their name," said Rep. Ed
Perlmutter (D-Colorado) on the House floor Wednesday. 

Perlmutter is co-sponsor of House Bill 4179. 

"There are tens of thousands of Americans whose names are similar to
individuals listed on the No-Fly list, and when traveling, the airlines and
the TSA (Transportation Security Administration) do not distinguish these
ordinary Americans from the terrorist on the list with the same name," said

The Fair, Accurate, Secure and Timely Redress Act or FAST Redress Act, would
create an office where misidentified travelers can complain and get on a
list that clears their names. The cleared list would also be used by other
government screening agencies. 

"This bill will greatly streamline the process for the countless people who,
just because of their names, are regularly misidentified as a terrorist,
creating a single, highly visible office within the government for everyone
who wants to clear their names," said Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-New York), the
main sponsor of the legislation. 

Airline travelers tripped up by the government's No-Fly list today can
complain to the DHS Traveler Redress Inquiry Program (TRIP) Department. But
passengers say they cannot get hold of anyone in the office, their
complaints are ignored and even after long investigations, they still remain
on the no-fly list and are hassled at airports. 

The House also passed a bill Wednesday that would prevent the TSA from
giving checkpoint screeners advance notice that undercover testers are on
the way. In the past, the TSA has e-mailed airports to tell them that covert
testers would be testing the airports. 

"This bill prohibits the advance notice of covert testing to airport
security screeners and ensures testing integrity," said Rep. Bennie Thompson
(D-Mississippi), who is on the House Homeland Security Committee. 

The bills now advance to the Senate, where they will be debated and voted

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