Jewish World Review Sept. 2, 2003 / 5 Elul 5763

Clarence Page

Clarence Page
JWR's Pundits
World Editorial
Cartoon Showcase

Mallard Fillmore

Michael Barone
Mona Charen
Linda Chavez
Ann Coulter
Greg Crosby
Larry Elder
Don Feder
Suzanne Fields
Paul Greenberg
Bob Greene
Betsy Hart
Nat Hentoff
David Horowitz
Marianne Jennings
Michael Kelly
Mort Kondracke
Ch. Krauthammer
Lawrence Kudlow
Dr. Laura
John Leo
David Limbaugh
Michelle Malkin
Chris Matthews
Michael Medved
MUGGER
Kathleen Parker
Wes Pruden
Sam Schulman
Amity Shlaes
Roger Simon
Tony Snow
Thomas Sowell
Cal Thomas
Jonathan S. Tobin
Ben Wattenberg
George Will
Bruce Williams
Walter Williams
Mort Zuckerman

Consumer Reports

Put term limits on airport security rules


http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | If you fly a lot and your name is not David Nelson, you should be thankful.

In airports across the country, people named David Nelson have been stopped mysteriously, yanked out of line and delayed for questioning.

Even the famous David Nelson of the popular '50s TV sticom "The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet" was stopped briefly at John Wayne Airport in Santa Ana, Calif., according to the Los Angeles Daily News.

Apparently, there really is a terrorist suspect named David Nelson, the Portland Oregonian reported in May. So his name appears on the no-fly lists maintained by the Transportation Security Administration, a federal agency created in response to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorists attacks.

Unfortunately, TSA won't confirm or deny this or any other name on its no-fly list. Nor does the agency have to reveal to those whose names are on the list the reasons why their names are listed.

If you have a reason to think you're a "false positive," as they say in the security screening trade, you can call the TSA's ombudsman and hope for the best.

But with stories like these popping up in the news, Congress should raise its own alert level in coming weeks regarding a proposal that sounds even more tricky than the no-fly lists.

The new plan, called Computer Assisted Passenger Pre-screening System or CAPPS II, would give a terrorist threat rating to every airline passenger after the passenger supplies his or her name, address, date of birth and phone number. After the checking of various databases, passengers rated "red" would be detained by airport security. "Yellow" travelers would face extra bag searches and pat-downs. If you're rated "green?" You're good to go. Have a pleasant flight.

But privacy advocates wonder about "mission creep." Once government investigators have access to all that information about your personal business, who's to stop them from using it for purposes other than fighting terrorism?

Donate to JWR

So says Laura W. Murphy, director of the American Civil Liberties Union's Washington legislative office, and she is not alone in her concerns.

David Keene, chairman of the American Conservative Union, notes that 8 percent of air travelers could be classified as "yellow" under the new screening system, according to one transportation agency estimate. "You're talking about yellow flags on 73 million people per year," he said. Both of these folks appeared last week in Washington's National Press Club in an unusual joint news conference of leading liberals and conservatives brought together by shared concerns about growing Big-Brother government in the post-Sept. 11 era.

Hosted by the ACLU, the panel also included Hilary Shelton of the Washington Bureau of the NAACP, former Rep. Bob Barr, the Georgia Republican and House impeachment manager in 1998 and Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform.

Politics make strange bedfellows, the saying goes. So does the threat of excessive government nosiness.

Defenders of CAPPS II and other intrusive Bush administration counterterrorism measures like the USA Patriot Act say that the critics of CAPPS II are falling victim to pre-Sept. 11 "head-in-the-sand" thnking. That's always a possibility. But it is also downright certain that some government officials will take advantage of post-Sept. 11 fear and anger to expand government powers and sacrifice personal privacy rights beyond what is necessary to fight terrorism.

And once government people are granted powers, they don't like to give them up once the crisis has passed.

So what makes sense? For starters, Norquist suggests, any changes in the law or agency rules during a time of war or national crisis should be "term-limited" to the end of the crisis or to no more than two or three years, whichever comes first.

That was what Congress wisely did before it passed the sweeping and very controversial Patriot Act in the wake of Sept. 11, too soon for the members who voted on its more-than-300 pages to actually read it. Its sunset provisions will phase out the powers it grants to the government in 2005. Even so, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has suggested lifting those sunset provisions to make the hastily-passed law permanent.

That would be a bad idea. Without such sunset provisions, there is no real accountability. On a matter as constitutionally sensitive as the Patriot Act, the attorney general should be required to report on how well his department is using its new powers before Congress lets them continue.

CAPPS II needs sunset provisions too. Its current form calls for permanent rules changes that would stay in effect long after the current "war on terrorism" ends, whether it ever officially ends or not.

Instead, those who would enforce CAPPS II should be required to go to Capitol Hill and report how well they are using their new powers before they would be allowed to keep them.

Then they might have an opportunity to face their critics. Some of them are named David Nelson.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in Washington and in the media consider "must reading." Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.



Comment on Clarence Page's column by clicking here.

Up

08/14/03: Schoolchildren of all races at risk without parental guidance
08/08/03: Colin Powell is the 'odd man out' again
08/05/03: Black parents must teach their kids to succeed
07/22/03: Presidential politics: A time to pander, a time to push away
07/15/03: Deeper realities of Baker's dust-up
07/10/03: Formerly aloof, Bush now embraces Africa
07/08/03: Wrestling with the ‘Q-word’ in Iraq
07/01/03: If you are reading this column, you aren't being filtered!
06/10/03: The 'Industry of Hillary' raises bucks for both sides
06/03/03: rent-a-negro.com
05/30/03: Dems grope for glimmer of hope
05/28/03: Reefer sanity vs. puritans in the White House
05/22/03: Turns out race was a factor in the NYTimes scandal — a very big one
05/06/03: Closing the college graduation disparity
04/22/03: Fighting for privacy in an era of terror
04/22/03: Don't mis-underestimate the prez: Give him the 'props' he deserves
04/21/03: Sitting on scoops at CNN
04/15/03: After Saddam? Watch out, Syria
04/11/03: 'Hammer time' for Castro
04/08/03: Post-Hussein: Winning the true peace
04/03/03: Right story, wrong TV station
04/01/03: Remembering Moynihan's mind
03/27/03: A fog of war words: Shocking and awesome
03/21/03: A Moranic moment bites peace movement
03/18/03: Viewers beware when tv networks don't care
03/14/03: Powell's battle for Bush's ear
03/10/03: 'Embedded,' but not 'in bed with'
02/28/03: Bridging the black gender gap
02/19/03 Braun vs. Sharpton: A Dem dilemma
02/14/03: Bush's clean-up man
02/11/03: How feds fooled marijuana trial jurors
02/06/03: Time to re-think space shuttle's value
01/31/03: Why corporations like diversity, too
01/28/03: Shaq vs. Yao, a new world diss-order
01/23/03: Affirmative action will be remarketed under new name
01/13/03: Bond movie offers clues to Korea crisis
01/07/03: Dr. Frist to the rescue … of his party
01/02/03: Feeling a 'draft,' but not much
12/17/02: To rob a burning cross of its power
12/03/02: Closing black-white test-score gaps
11/19/02: Uncle Same wants your data
11/15/02: Marriage vs. 'player' impulse
11/11/02: How Oz can help the Dems
11/05/02: We reserve right to be complicated
10/22/02: What the pro-gun lobby and anti-gun lobby have in common
10/18/02: Take Sharpton seriously? For Prez??
10/15/02: A beauty and the bullies
10/08/02: Time to start 'fingerprinting' bullets
10/08/02: Poet laureate hater fell for Internet hoax
10/04/02: Keeping it real, despite howls from black 'leaders'
10/01/02: Revisiting the 'Jogger' horror
09/27/02: Sometimes freedom is a necessary nuisance
09/13/02: Foil Fidel with free trade
09/10/02: Measuring the myth of 'super weed'
09/06/02: A year later: A reality-check
09/03/02: Make better choices before some jury somewhere does
08/20/02: Bid farewell to the Cigarette Century
08/16/02: Rights matter, even in circus trials
08/09/02: Jousting with Rumsfeld's fog of wit
08/06/02: Covert action is cool again
08/01/02: Powell's premature obituaries
07/30/02: A common sense tip on internal snooping
07/18/02: Jacko plays race card badly
07/12/02: Last flight for a pioneer airman
07/08/02: Dems will miss Watts, too
06/28/02: 'Supreme Court reads polls, too
06/25/02: 'The Body' bites, then bows out
06/21/02: Punishment first, then the crime?
06/18/02: Reporting still risky for Haiti's press
06/14/02: Bush's security plan leaves large gaps
06/04/02: Fix FBI's culture gap first
05/28/02: Fidel's new apartheid for tourists
05/21/02: Now McKinney's lunacy sounds like the Democratic Party line
05/19/02: A paradox of historical proportions
05/14/02: 'Murphy Brown' revisited in age of Ozzy
05/10/02: America looks like a model of tolerance and inclusion
05/07/02: Forget it, Bill, you're no Oprah
04/26/02: Mapping out ethnic and racial change
04/23/02: A game of another color
04/19/02: It's high time to open up pot-law debate
04/11/02: 'Osbourne' family values rock, aging Ozzy quakes
03/22/02: Zimbabwe election leaves world sleepless
03/19/02: A slur? Where is thy sting?
03/15/02: A Pearl of wisdom for reporter's unborn son
03/12/02: Army race and gender policies on trial
03/08/02: A short list of losers to be left behind
03/05/02: Revenge of the 'mediasaurus'
02/26/02: Jihads aren't just for Muslims
02/26/02: It's hard to be 'objective' during wartime
02/19/02: Hollywood's new villain: Your HMO
02/12/02: Father of 'Manchild' leaves lasting message
02/08/02: $nookering the reparations crowd
01/31/02: Prisoners of a War of Words
01/29/02: One more Enron woe: Al Sharpton & company
01/25/02: Searching for slaves in bin Laden's attic
01/22/02: Andrew Young's newest 'friend'
01/08/02: Hard-earned lessons from 9-11
12/18/01: Whatever happened to questions about the birds and the bees?
12/14/01: The "White Negro" Taliban?
12/07/01: Jackson's turn to gloat
11/27/01: Friendly warning from a lover of liberty
11/21/01: The face of hunger is changing
11/15/01: Our troubled sense of trust
11/08/01: Lessons about terror from the 'hood
11/06/01: Getting used to the 'new normal'
11/02/01: Wicked ways to make them talk
10/30/01: It's not just about bin Laden
10/26/01: More than mail fell between the cracks
10/23/01: Terrorists threaten urban recovery, too
10/18/01: Sometimes, assassination warranted
10/15/01: Self-censorship rises again
10/12/01: Contradictions illustrate the complicated nature of the new terrorism
10/05/01: Look who's 'profiling' now
10/01/01: Don't trash liberty to save it
09/28/01: Life, love and cell phones during wartime
09/24/01: How to catch an elusive terrorist
09/21/01: The war I was waiting for
09/17/01: When rage turns to hate
09/13/01: Terror attack tests US, let's give right response
09/06/01: U.S. should have stayed and argued
09/04/01: Columbine killer's parents get upclose and personal
08/31/01: Virtual kids? Log me out
08/28/01: Two Africans, one black, one white, same fight
08/23/01: Sharpton for president
08/20/01: Shaking up the rules on keeping secrets
08/16/01: Bush's u-turn on racial goals
08/09/01: Outsider Bubba comes 'in' again
08/06/01: Not ready for 'color-blindness' yet
08/02/01: Immigration timing couldn't be better
07/26/01: Summer of Chandra: An international traveler's perspective
07/17/01: Overthrowing a régime is only the beginning
07/10/01: Big Brother is watching you, fining you
07/05/01: Can blacks be patriotic? Should they be?
06/19/01: Get 'real' about marriage
06/12/01: Amos, Andy and Tony Soprano
06/07/01: Getting tough with the Bush Twins
06/05/01: Bringing marriage back into fashion
05/31/01: "Ken" and "Johnnie": The odd-couple legal team
05/24/01: Sharpton's challenge to Jackson
05/22/01: Test scores equal (a) MERIT? (b) MENACE? (c) ALL OF ABOVE?
05/17/01: Anti-pot politics squeeze the ill
05/15/01: Was Babe Ruth black?
05/10/01: U.N.'s torture caucus slaps Uncle Sam
05/08/01: 'The Sopranos' a reflection of our times
05/03/01: 'Free-fire' zones, then and now
05/01/01: War on drugs misfires against students
04/26/01: Another athlete gets foot-in-mouth disease
04/23/01: 'Slave' boat mystery reveals real tragedy
04/19/01: McVeigh's execution show
04/12/01: Not this time, Jesse
04/05/01: Dubya is DEFINITELY his own man, you fools!
04/02/01: Milking MLK
03/29/01: The candidate who censored himself?
03/22/01: "Will Hispanics elbow blacks out of the way as the nation's most prominent minority group?"
03/19/01: Blacks and the SATs
03/15/01: The census: How much race still matters in the everyday life of America
03/12/01: Jesse is a victim!
03/08/01: Saving kids from becoming killers
03/01/01: Parents owe "Puffy" and Eminem our thanks

© 2001 TMS