An American citizen flew to Mecca. No problem. “Bon voyage!”
Then he tried to fly home. “Terrorist!”
He is stuck in Bahrain. He has not been told why his name is on the no-fly list. It just is.
The FBI is saying nothing. This is SNAFU-central. The law of bureaucracy takes over. “Say nothing. Admit nothing. Reverse course only if there is really bad publicity.” There is really bad publicity. Example:
The Associated Press later called Ahmed in Bahrain.
Ahmed said he was told by the U.S. Embassy in Bahrain that he has been cleared to go home, but when he went to the airport Monday, he was blocked from boarding again. Ahmed said he stayed at a hotel at first. He now has been staying with a man contacted by family friends and is running low on money.
The San Diego man said he does not know why he would be on the federal list that includes thousands of known or suspected terrorists.
He came to the United States at the age of 7 with his family, who moved from Kenya after fleeing Somalia’s civil war. This was his first trip out of the United States since then.
The no-fly list should mean no-fly out. When it is invoked when you are outside the country, it places you at the mercy of the Homeland Security laws.
The boneheads who run the no-fly list are ignoring the obvious: 9-11 was an attack from inside the country, not outside. If there is a terrorist scheduled to get on board a plane, stop him then, not when he is flying back from outside the country. This logic is too much for the bureaucrats to figure out.
The FBI’s stonewalling is right out of Kafka.
FBI officials said they do not discuss such cases. They said the process for including someone on the no-fly list is a multi-agency, multi-tiered process and anyone on it must meet specific criteria in accordance with existing legislation and the submitting agency’s policies to protect privacy rights and civil liberties. The FBI said the U.S. Privacy Act bars its officials from disclosing the names on the list, nor will the U.S. government confirm or deny whether an individual is on the watch list.
The FBI said in a statement that “disclosure of such information could be harmful to our nation’s security.”
This is the rule of bureaucracy. Get used to it.