I found out this weekend when traveling to NY that my name appears on the one of the TSA’s “lists”, the “Selectee List”. Although this is not as bad as being on the full fledged “No Fly List”, it means that my boarding pass will be stamped with a special “S”, or Scarlet Letter upon checking in – if the airline rep gets the “OK” when they call in for approval to issue it. I will be subjected to additional security measures every time I fly.

This is ridiculous. I am obviously not a threat to this country. This is just another example of how incompetent our government is in dealing with the real terrorist threat.

After doing some research with my friend Google, I was able to determine that the “Selectee List”, currently administered by the TSA, is sent to each of the airlines individually on a scheduled basis. It is then up to the airline to import the data into their own reservations systems (i.e. Sabre) and conduct matching of the TSA data to passenger names following their own protocols. The scary part of this is that name matching is the only thing going on here. Would anyone design a database using “name” as a primary key? I don’t think so. Why? Because there can be more that one
individual with the same name, so it is not a unique identifier. Apparently this simple logic is lost on the TSA.

My best guess as to why my name appears on this list is that there is another Michael Rogan from Northern Ireland that is an accused terrorist in a car bombing case. He is in custody, however, so I’m not sure why the name would be on the TSA’s list.
How does one get off this list, you ask?

Good question. I was rudely told by the US Airways representative at RDU International that she has no information on that, that I would need to contact “the FAA or someone in the government”. Gee, thanks for the help. I will laugh at your sorry ass standing in the unemployment line with the other US Airways employees later this week!

In reality, she was actually sort of correct in her idiotic statements. There really is no established procedure to get one’s name off either the “No Fly” or “Selectee List”. I found several cases of individuals that have been trying unsuccessfully for months or sometimes longer to get their names stricken from the lists. Who has been successful? Well, Sen. Ted Kennedy, for one. But, it took him 3 or 4 phone calls to his connections at Homeland Security to finally get his name removed.

I am not going to let this matter rest until my name is removed from the “Selectee List”. It is both embarrassing and humiliating to be subjected to these unnecessary measures in the plain view of other passengers.

I have contacted the TSA to launch an inquiry into why my name appears on their list and have requested my removal. They said that I will be receiving “a letter” in the mail. In the meantime, I just learned that a law was signed into effect just before the holidays that mandates the TSA to allow appeals to names that are on either list.

See Washington Post article on this new law.

Relevant links:
Hundreds Report Watch-List Trials (Washington Post)

Duke University Professor Finds Himself on the ‘No-Fly’ List (ABC 11 – Raleigh)

Clark County Schools Chief Name on TSA No-Fly List (Channel 3 – Las Vegas)

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