TSA issues no-fly list clearance policy
A prominent national Islamic civil rights and advocacy group today applauded a new Transportation Security Administration (TSA) policy that grants relief to airline passengers who are prevented from flying because their names are similar to those of terror suspects on a “No-Fly List.”
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said the new policy was prompted at least in part by the case of Asif Iqbal, a New York Muslim who was kept off planes because he shares the name of a person held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Iqbal sought CAIR’s assistance in March of last year after he had repeatedly been denied boarding or interrogated by law enforcement authorities prior to boarding. In May of 2002, CAIR and other civil liberties groups first met with Department of Transportation officials to discuss Iqbal’s case and to suggest ways in which incidents of mistaken-identity could be avoided or rectified.
Under the new policy, travelers who have been delayed as a result of the No-Fly List will be able to submit a Passenger Identity Verification Form that may expedite check-in and boarding. (The policy does not apply to passengers who undergo enhanced screening at airport security checkpoints.) Along with personal information such as address, Social Security Number and date-of-birth, the passenger will also submit certified copies of three forms of identification. Once the identity form has been submitted and reviewed, the TSA will contact airlines to streamline the boarding process.
“We welcome this new policy and hope it will alleviate some of the problems encountered by innocent travelers who are wrongfully associated with terror suspects,” said CAIR Board Chairman Omar Ahmad. Ahmad said CAIR will continue to work with the TSA to disseminate information about the new policy. He added that those passengers who have been detained by authorities at the ticket counter (not at the security checkpoint) during check-in should contact the TSA Ombudsman at: (571) 227-2383 or email@example.com
CAIR is America’s largest Islamic civil liberties group, with 16 regional offices nationwide and in Canada.