TSA flags 18-month-old baby as terrorist, forces family to disembark plane
(NaturalNews) There seems to be no cellar to the level of incompetence and ability to generate outrage at the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), that leviathan "protective" agency that's big in size but chronically hampered by small-minded ineptitude.
Bumbling TSA agents at the Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., airport recently pulled an 18-month old girl, named Riyanna, and her parents off of a JetBlue flight as they tried to head home to New Jersey because - get this - the toddler appeared on the terrorist suspect "no-fly" list.
You can't make this stuff up.
As the couple and their daughter eased into their seats minutes before the plane was scheduled to take off, an airline employee approached and asked them to disembark the aircraft because TSA agents wanted to speak with them.
"And I said, 'For what?'" Riyanna's mother told local ABC affiliate WPBF-TV. "And he said, 'Well, it's not you or your husband. Your daughter was flagged as no fly.' I said, 'Excuse me?"
Needless to say, little Riyanna's father was as incredulous as he was angry.
"It's absurd," he said. "It made no sense. Why would an 18-month-old child be on a no-fly list?"
Good question. But apparently, no one at the TSA knows.
Ethnicity an issue, or is it something else?
The toddler's parents, who asked not to be identified in the report, said they believe they were singled out because they are of Middle Eastern descent.
"Riyanna's mother wears a hijab, a traditional head scarf. That's why they have asked to remain anonymous. They said they're concerned about repercussions. That said, they are both Americans, born and raised in New Jersey, just like their daughter," said the report.
"We were put on display like a circus act because my wife wears a hijab," Riyanna's father said.
Racism is always possible, but maybe the real answer - based on the TSA's history of chronic bumbling and litany of civil rights and constitutional abuses - is as simple as this: An aversion to competency. You don't get this bad by accident; you have to work at it. And the agency does on a daily basis.
Never missing an opportunity to add insult to injury, once Riyanna and her parents were pulled off the plane, TSA agents then forced the couple and their daughter to stand in the terminal for 30 minutes, no doubt while someone tried to "verify" that al Qaeda and its allies have yet to recruit one-and-a-half-year-old American girls to do their bidding.
TSA - not our responsibility
Eventually the TSA bureaucracy caught up to common sense and released the family, though they told the local ABC television affiliate that no one from the agency bothered to apologize or even explain what had happened and why (and, for that matter, if their daughter was removed from the no-fly list). Embarrassed, they refused to re-board the plane and left the airport.
But they still want to know what happened, and who could blame them?
JetBlue, when contacted by the station, said the issue was a matter for the Transportation Security Administration (though at some point, wouldn't JetBlue officials, and those of other airlines, want to know just how much the TSA's bumbling is costing them a year?). However, the airline said both it and the TSA were "investigating."
Not true, said the TSA, which told WPBF-TV that, indeed, this was an airline issue, and that the TSA was not looking into the matter.
"The TSA also said that since Riyanna and her parents were issued boarding passes, that means they had been cleared by the TSA and were definitely not on the no-fly list," the report said.
The family is, and the father is planning on consulting an attorney.
"We were humiliated," he said. "We were embarrassed. We were picked on."
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