Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Big Brother is Watching

A San Francisco Bay Area retired couple (one a teacher and the other a librarian) are on the government's watch list and they don't know why. Neither of them has a criminal record, but they are both guilty of marching in peace rallies.

They got a letter explaining the TSA "prepares watch lists of persons who are known to pose, or are suspected of posing, a threat to civil aviation or national security."

Travelers on the watch list cannot take advantage of conveniences like curbside check-in, getting a boarding pass from the kiosk dispensers, or printing them at home.

Tom Wright: "But I can live with that. If that's what it takes to fight terrorism to make flying safer, certainly I can go along with that. But it's just the idea that you can be put on this list, and not told why, and as I understand it, perhaps never taken off."

Cora Wright, Concord: "It gives you an uncertain feeling. What have we done? Yes, we were in the peace marches, but that's the right that we have as citizens. So if that's the reason the government is going to give for this kind of activity, treating its citizens this way, that's... I think that's a tragedy."

The Wrights have joined a class action lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union challenging the watch list. TSA won't comment on pending litigation.