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Sun Jul 3, 2016, 07:46 PM

 

Former Marine — I was on the no-fly list for 4 years — and I still don't know why

After recent mass shootings in San Bernardino, California, and Orlando, Florida, members of both parties in Congress have called for "no fly, no buy" — a bill that would allow the federal government to bar people on the Transportation Security Administration's no-fly list from purchasing guns. To supporters, the proposal seems straightforward: If you’re a "known or suspected terrorist" who’s too dangerous to board a plane, you’re too dangerous to buy a gun. To critics, it’s a reminder of the problems with the no-fly list itself. be Mashal, a 36-year-old veteran and dog trainer, knows those problems all too well.

You’re on the no-fly list," the woman at the kiosk told me. It was a Wednesday, six years ago, at Midway Airport in Chicago. I was traveling to Spokane, Washington, for my job as a dog trainer. I had absolutely no idea how I could have ended up on the no-fly list. I waited for Ashton Kutcher to come out and tell me I was being Punk’d. No luck. At least 30 federal agents swarmed me. They didn’t handcuff or manhandle me, but the sheer number of them was intimidating. I was in a state of shock, looking at them confusedly. Their expressions turned puzzled, too, when they noticed my Marine Corps shirt.

But being a veteran didn’t save me: The mob of agents led me into a private room for questioning. I was certain there was a mix-up, and I wanted answers. How did this happen? When could I fly again? How did I end up on the list? "Even if I knew the answers, I wouldn’t be able to tell you them," said one FBI agent. The questioning at the airport was brief, and they eventually let me go. But it was just the beginning of a hellacious four years of anxiety and uncertainty.

I drove home to tell my wife the awful news that I’d been added to the no-fly list for some reason unknown to me. A mere 15 minutes later, I got a phone call. It was two federal agents asking if they could stop by my house to talk. I couldn't really refuse. That’s when the real interrogation began. Who is your mother? Who is your father? What's your religion? My mom is Italian, and my father is Palestinian. You can guess which parent they were more concerned with. I’m Muslim, which opened up a whole other line of invasive questions, including whether I used social media, whether I communicated with people outside of the United States frequently, and the number of bank accounts I had. What only lasted for an hour and a half felt like an eternity.

For a few months, there was radio silence from law enforcement. Then, out of the blue, I got a random phone call again from the same two agents. They invited me to Chicago for lunch and to answer any questions I had. The only question I had was if I was off the list. The conversation seemed hopeful, so I agreed to meet them. They met me in their hotel lobby and invited me upstairs. There was no lunch. "We can get you off the list today," they said. One caveat — they could get me off the list if I agreed to become an informant at mosques.

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Reply Former Marine — I was on the no-fly list for 4 years — and I still don't know why (Original post)
Just reading posts Jul 2016 OP
Heidi Jul 2016 #1
KG Jul 2016 #2
Just reading posts Jul 2016 #5
ileus Jul 2016 #7
Just reading posts Jul 2016 #8
gratuitous Jul 2016 #3
backscatter712 Jul 2016 #6
dembotoz Jul 2016 #4
Just reading posts Jul 2016 #9

Response to Just reading posts (Original post)

Mon Jul 4, 2016, 08:28 AM

1. Kick, kick, kick!

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Response to Just reading posts (Original post)

Mon Jul 4, 2016, 08:39 AM

2. 'but, but, but we don't live a police state!'

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Response to KG (Reply #2)

Mon Jul 4, 2016, 10:35 AM

5. Many people are willing to trade freedom for safety. Including a significant portion right here.

 

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Response to Just reading posts (Reply #5)

Mon Jul 4, 2016, 11:01 AM

7. and not even real safety...

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Response to ileus (Reply #7)

Mon Jul 4, 2016, 11:04 AM

8. Fair point.

 

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Response to Just reading posts (Original post)

Mon Jul 4, 2016, 10:21 AM

3. You have been tried and convicted

"No, we can't tell you the charge or who the witnesses -if any - may have been. But your freedom of movement is restricted. No, we can't tell you if there's any avenue of appeal. However . . . well, wait a second. Hmmm. Yes. Perhaps. Just perhaps. You know, it seems to us that if you would agree to giving us a little information about your friends and associates, then you might be able to avoid further punishment."

Oh, that's all it takes? I'm a dangerous terrorist who might blast a plane full of people out of the sky, but you'll let me fly again if I agree to inform you about the goings-on at any mosques I might go to? Let me put this as succinctly as I can, Agents (and I realize this will preclude me from ever boarding a plane again): Go to hell, you treasonous unamerican asshole sons of bitches who wouldn't know the Constitution if it kicked right square in your taint.

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Response to gratuitous (Reply #3)

Mon Jul 4, 2016, 10:46 AM

6. That's probably how this guy got on the no-fly-list.

One of his friends or acquaintances got on the no-fly-list, and was given the choice of becoming an informant in exchange for being taken off the list.

"OK, I'll let you know if I see any terrorists".

Later: "Why haven't you given us any names?"

"I don't know anyone in ISIS or Al Qaeda."

"Just give us a name."

"I don't know anyone."

"If you know what's good for you, you'll give us a name."

Finally, he rats someone out he knows hasn't done anything, just out of desperation to get those fucking feds off his back.

And that's how this person is on the no-fly-list.

Goes to show that the FBI's methods these days are completely useless. They're trying to coerce people into becoming snitches, even though they don't know anyone.

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Response to Just reading posts (Original post)

Mon Jul 4, 2016, 10:28 AM

4. perhaps adding guns to the no fly list prohibitions would institute the needed appeal process

which would be good in the end.

terror bad guys do not have such easy access to firearms,
those on the list by mistake have a process to be removed from the list

a win win

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Response to dembotoz (Reply #4)

Mon Jul 4, 2016, 11:05 AM

9. Perhaps we should respect due process.

 

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