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Posted: 8/21/2004 4:57:16 AM EDT

How not to fight against terrorism
Column by Ann McFeatters

WASHINGTON -- Ted Kennedy was trying to get on a plane in Washington to go home to Boston. He was denied a seat by an airline agent who refused to say why the senator, who had been flying to and from Boston nearly every week for 42 years, could not board.
Kennedy, one of the nation's most recognizable politicians and a Massachusetts senator since 1962, went to the agent's supervisor, who eventually, reluctantly, let him fly. At the airport in Boston, Kennedy ran into the same situation when trying to return to Washington. Over several weeks, he ran into the same difficulty three more times.

Finally, Tom Ridge, the allegedly powerful head of the massive new Department of Homeland Security, called the 72-year-old lawmaker to apologize and vowed it wouldn't happen again.

It happened again.

It turned out that Kennedy was on the Transportation Security Administration's "watch list" of suspicious people who might be linked to terrorism.

Kennedy, relating the story to his colleagues and members of the bipartisan 9/11 Commission this past week, asked, "How in the world are average Americans going to be treated if they get on that list?"

There were some jokes about "Irish terrorist" and Republican vengeance against a liberal icon, but nobody had an acceptable answer.

It's been a tough week for the federal government, trying to fend off charges that it is too focused on the peripheral and not doing a good enough job on the core of what really matters in the war on terrorism.

The New York Times, for example, reported on Abdullah al Kidd, an American citizen who played basketball at the University of Idaho and was a doctoral student in Islamic studies. He was handcuffed and arrested in March 2003 at Dulles International Airport near Washington on suspicion of knowing a suspected terrorist. He said he sat naked in isolation for hours, imprisoned and eventually forced to live in a small apartment with his in-laws instead of returning to school. The legal justification for holding him was the federal material-witness law. A few weeks ago, having never been charged with a crime or called as a witness in any case, he was released.

Meanwhile, he's lost his scholarship and his wife and his daughter and his reputation.

This should make the blood of every American boil. It is as frightening as the arrest of any innocent citizen in any of the world's worst dictatorships. But it happened a few miles from the U.S. Capitol, the White House, the Pentagon and the Justice Department, which condoned it. About 60 other Americans have been held under the material-witness law since 9/11.

The Senate, probing the 9/11 commissioners on their recommendations on setting up a new post of intelligence czar, got a first-rate answer on what to do about terrorism from Lee Hamilton, the commission's vice chairman, a few days ago.

He said the Patriot Act, which may be used to restrict civil liberties, needs a thorough national discussion. But more important than new organizational charts and more bureaucracy, he said, this country needs to convince Muslims around the world that the United States is on their side and is not their enemy.

"Stretching from North Africa to Indonesia, you have millions and billions of people who, if polls are correct, don't think very highly of us," Hamilton said. They may be sympathetic to Osama bin Laden without endorsing his forms of violence, he said. But there is nothing in the lives of millions of young Muslims to give them any hope.

"What does Osama bin Laden offer these people? Death. We have a lot to offer. For example, increased scholarships. There are a lot of things we can do that are symbolic but important. We're not going to solve this problem ... in my lifetime. But we have to get started on it."

Kennedy and every other senator in the room nodded in agreement. As they left the room, Kennedy took with him his heavy, dusty book of study commissions -- esteemed commissions, he warned, whose recommendations ultimately went nowhere.

Link Posted: 8/21/2004 5:10:07 AM EDT
That assclown should be classified as a threat to national security
Link Posted: 8/21/2004 5:13:38 AM EDT

Originally Posted By huggybro:Ted Kennedy on TSA watch list as terrorist.

It turned out that Kennedy was on the Transportation Security Administration's "watch list" of suspicious people who might be linked to terrorism.

Your reading comprehension skills seem to be lacking.
Link Posted: 8/21/2004 5:15:40 AM EDT
The irony is that, thanks to the political correctness espouted by the left, TSA can't stop all young-to-middle age Middle Eastern looking males for fear of being accused of racial-profiling.  What to do?  Stop old people and little kids instead.
Link Posted: 8/21/2004 5:19:02 AM EDT
If it can happen to him, it can happen to you.
How will you like it?
Link Posted: 8/21/2004 5:26:26 AM EDT

Originally Posted By hydroshok:
That assclown should be classified as a threat TRAITOR to national security

Link Posted: 8/21/2004 5:37:37 AM EDT
Teddy Kenedy has ALWAYS been on the watch list. Arlines have been watchful of him for a long time.

Stewardesses receive hazard pay for being stuck in a metal tube 30,000 feet up with a Kenedy and an alcoholic beverage cart....
Link Posted: 8/21/2004 5:38:22 AM EDT

Love it and the ass clown is getting his in a twisted way, for once he is not special just because he is a 'Kennedy".

Never does fly from Dulles or I would see him around.
Link Posted: 8/21/2004 5:43:03 AM EDT

Well, Teddy is the worst kind of terrorist, so that's appropriate.

Link Posted: 8/21/2004 6:23:01 AM EDT
it is about time he gets to see how the general public is treated
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