Link to full articleThe Transportation Security Administration, under scrutiny after last months bombing attempt, has on its Web site a mythbuster that tries to reassure the public.
Myth: The No-Fly list includes an 8-year-old boy.
Buster: No 8-year-old is on a T.S.A. watch list.
Meet Mikey Hicks, said Najlah Feanny Hicks, introducing her 8-year-old son, a New Jersey Cub Scout and frequent traveler who has seldom boarded a plane without a hassle because he shares the name of a suspicious person. Its not a myth.
Michael Winston Hickss mother initially sensed trouble when he was a baby and she could not get a seat for him on their flight to Florida at an airport kiosk; airline officials explained that his name was on the list, she recalled.
The first time he was patted down, at Newark Liberty International Airport, Mikey was 2. He cried.
After years of long delays and waits for supervisors at every airport ticket counter, this years vacation to the Bahamas badly shook up the family. Mikey was frisked on the way there, then more aggressively on the way home.
Up your arms, down your arms, up your crotch someone is patting your 8-year-old down like hes a criminal, Mrs. Hicks recounted. A terrorist can blow his underwear up and they dont catch him. But my 8-year-old cant walk through security without being frisked.
It is true that Mikey is not on the federal governments no-fly list, which includes about 2,500 people, less than 10 percent of them from the United States. But his name appears to be among some 13,500 on the larger selectee list, which sets off a high level of security screening.
At some point, someone named Michael Hicks made the Department of Homeland Security suspicious, and little Mikey is still paying the price. (His father, also named Michael Hicks, was stopped for the first time on the Bahamas trip.)
Both lists are maintained by the Terrorist Screening Center, which includes the Federal Bureau of Investigation. They are given to the Transportation Security Administration, which in turn sends them to the airlines.
Funny and sad at the same time. I so wish that people in this industry would just think about what they are doing before they put some crazy policy into place.