TSA Adds People to Selectee List By Mistake

About 30,000 people were mistakenly added to a terrorism watch list that causes them to be selected for extra screening.

    Kennedy said that travelers have had to ask the TSA to clear their identities from watch lists by submitting a “Passenger Identity Verification Form” and three notarized copies of identification documents. On average, he said, it takes officials 45 to 60 days to evaluate the request and make any necessary changes.

The government made a mistake. It’s up to affected people to file paperwork to get things straightened out. But even then the government still adds an extra hassle because there’s still someone else (not those affected) out there.

    After submitting their notarized forms and identifications, and waiting for evaluations, the vast majority of the people mistakenly matched to names on the watch list have now been added to a “clearance” list. That doesn’t mean their names are erased from the watch list. In fact, travelers who go through the paperwork are told, Kennedy said, that “it will not quote ‘remove’ you from the list because the person we’re still looking for is out there.”

    Instead, their names are put on the separate clearance list, which means they typically can’t check in for flights at an unmanned kiosk and must approach the ticket counter to explain their situation and have an airline employee match their name to the clearance list.

Update: Meanwhile, JFK screeners released a man whose sneakers tested “off the charts” for explosives, “the highest ever” and which “had tape around them and rubber-bands sticking out of them.” While mistakenly added names can’t get off a watch list, this man wasn’t even checked against the list because computers were down.

Of course, even this guy proved not to be a threat…

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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