USA Today reports this morning that the TSA has been making a list of people who fly without ID.
Asked about the program, TSA chief Kip Hawley told USA TODAY in an interview Tuesday that the information helps track potential terrorists who may be “probing the system” by trying to get though checkpoints at various airports.
The report says that TSA changed its policy yesterday and will stop collecting these records, expunging the 16,000+ records collected to date.
The folks at TSA evidently believe fervently that watch-listing is an effective measure against terrorism. When someone behaves inconsistently with their watch-listing program, they take this to be potential terrorism. It’s a mistake.
Let’s say I fervently believed that terrorists were mounting a dengue fever attack on the Capitol Hill area of Washington, D.C., and I placed a perimeter of netting around my house to prevent mosquitoes from getting in. When the mailman or my neighbors opened the netting to come to the front door, I would logically infer (based on my erroneous belief) that they were in league with the terrorists because they were breaching my perimeter. This is the “logic” of the TSA and its suspicion of ID-less travel.
The TSA has set up a system that it wrongly believes to be a security against terrorism, and thinks that evasions or avoidance of its system indicate terrorism. In fact, it’s just people living their lives.