Stuck on the No-Fly List with No Way Out

In the past, I’ve posted about a Congressman who was put on a no-fly list. Eventually, he found out why and, much later, was taken off the list. Before that happened, he was able to fly hassle-free by using his middle name. Good thing the terrorists will never try that.

Unfortunately, most people put on the list are not powerful or well-connected enough to do anything about it.

The Knoxville New Sentinel reports, “Right name, wrong man: Knoxville veterinarian can’t get off no-fly list.”

Try explaining that in the airport security line.

Hackett, a lifelong resident of the Knoxville-Oak Ridge area, was named Outstanding Practitioner of the Year in 1992 by the Tennessee Veterinary Medical Association. He serves as president of the Humane Society of the Tennessee Valley.

He’s on the no-fly list.

Hackett has never been arrested and never traveled to the Middle East or other centers of terrorist activity, but he found out more than a decade ago he’s on the federal watch list because he shares the same name as notorious Irish Republican Army terrorist Patrick Joseph Hackett, who was jailed in the 1970s for planting bombs in Britain.

I’m sure a veteran terrorist would never be able to acquire fake identification if he intended to board a plane for a nefarious purpose. Or use only his middle and last name.

But it is even more absurd.

The difference should be easy to spot. The terrorist is missing an arm and a leg — blown off when a bomb exploded prematurely — while the Knoxville veterinarian has all his limbs intact.

How can anyone pretend that this is national security. Is the double amputee, aged terrorist even a current risk?

It took Hacket a year and a half just to get a certificate that will allow him to fly, though with extra scrutiny, sometimes including invasive searches.

“I don’t know how I got on the list, and I don’t know how to get off the list,” Hackett said.

Since learning he was on the list, Hackett has been denied boarding on planes and even spent time in a foreign jail. He says that’s why he worries about the recent proposal by President Barack Obama to prevent those on the Transportation Security Administration’s no-fly list from purchasing guns.

The no-fly list needs to be removed, not expanded to violate the Second Amendment.