Weekly Standard columnist ends up on TSA terror watch list

posted at 5:31 pm on September 27, 2014 by Jazz Shaw

I’ve had more than my fair share of exciting experiences with the TSA. I have a nearly unparalleled track record for finding TSA inspection tags in my bags every time I fly and my bags never seem to make it directly onto the input carrousel without a visit to somebody in uniform first. But whether that is through some historically bad rolling of the cosmic dice or my name popping up with an asterisk on airline check-in computer screens, I’ve apparently fared better than Stephen Hayes has.

Stephen Hayes, a senior writer at The Weekly Standard and a regular Fox News contributor, was informed Tuesday that he had been placed on the Department of Homeland Security’s Terrorist Watchlist…

“When I went online to check in with Southwest, they wouldn’t let me. I figured it was some glitch,” he explained. “Then I got to the airport and went to check in. The woman had a concerned look on her face. She brought over her supervisor and a few other people. Then they shut down the lane I was in, took me to the side, told me I was a selectee and scrawled [something] on my ticket.”

“On my way back. the same thing happened,” he continued. “I got pulled out, they closed down the lane, and did a full pat-down and looked in all parts of my luggage.”

Things got slightly awkward on that return flight, because one of the TSA employees was a frequent Fox News viewer. “He knew I wasn’t an actual terrorist,” Hayes explained, “but it didn’t matter.”

Hayes finally contacted Southwest on Tuesday, ahead of another flight, to ask why he couldn’t check in. A customer service supervisor told him he wasn’t going to be able to get a boarding pass before arriving at the airport.

“So I asked if I was on the government’s terrorist watchlist, and she said ‘Yes.’”

There may be more to the story than the average blogger might assume, though. As Doug Mataconis points out, the couple’s recent travel itinerary may have triggered some sort of automatic system red flags.

In Hayes’s case, there apparently hasn’t been any explanation for what happened either, but I suppose the fact that he and his wife had flown one-way to Turkey might be as good a reason as any, which at least suggests that it occurred because of some automatic procedure that flags everyone who engages in such travel behavior. Nonetheless, there was nothing particularly unusual about what Hayes and his wife did here; they flew to Turkey for a cruise and when cruise ended they departed via Athens, which was presumably closer to the final destination of the cruise. Hayes and his wife can hardly have been the first Americans to take this itinerary over the past thirteen years, does this mean that all of them end up on the TSA watch list? If that’s the case then it seems like a fairly apt demonstration of just how useless these lists have become.

There are a few layers to this puzzle. Clearly the lists maintained by the TSA can grow to the point of becoming useless, given the number of travelers, both foreign and domestic, who fly through our airspace. If additions are being made based on nothing more than seeing a journalist write something critical of the administration or give a critical interview on Fox News, then there is clearly a problem to be addressed. If triggers such as Hayes’ sea cruise are leading to false positives, that’s a bit more understandable. But finding a remedy could require far more resources than we’re willing to invest. Somebody had to field every complaint, make sure that the person isn’t an actual threat and then actively remove them from the list. And this has to be done without getting too happy with your housekeeping and removing people who might be actual threats. It’s a puzzle to be sure.


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Comments

Hayes has truly been terrorizing the idiots in the Obama administration, so this is no surprise. He’s awesome.

Jaibones on September 27, 2014 at 5:32 PM

I really really like Steve Hayes, I think he his my favorite panelist on Special Report.

Cindy Munford on September 27, 2014 at 5:35 PM

Going with the simplest answer – the Obama administration is a criminal organization.

faraway on September 27, 2014 at 5:36 PM

We just need for y’all to start getting used to this sort of thing before we start the next bit.

rogerb on September 27, 2014 at 5:38 PM

You can’t look at any incidents like this anymore without suspicion of malice on the Obama administrations part.

txhsmom on September 27, 2014 at 5:42 PM

Chances are very good that no democrat or liberal is on the list, regardless of where they’ve been or their past activities.

Obama runs the federal mafia.

darwin on September 27, 2014 at 5:42 PM

If this was simply a mistake, DHS would make a phone call and his name would come off the list immediately.

faraway on September 27, 2014 at 5:43 PM

Was his placement on the Watch List because of the one way ticket, or the fact they flew to Turkey? Despite Turkey’s inclusion in NATO, is it time to take a second look at this increasingly Islamist state?

vnvet on September 27, 2014 at 5:44 PM

Stephen Hayes is very definitely a dangerous man.

RedPepper on September 27, 2014 at 5:45 PM

I’d really like to know how many terrorist plots have been foiled by the TSA and their lists and their searches since 9/11.

Three? A zillion? None?

A few years back I was flying a lot of miles for job interviews; one week I was stopped and given full grope pat-downs at every airport- five of them, I think in that one trip.

I am a blue eyed, plump blonde grandma with an English surname. Do you think the government got some hot terrorist chatter about granny-bombers that week?

Dolce Far Niente on September 27, 2014 at 5:46 PM

Somebody had to field every complaint, make sure that the person isn’t an actual threat and then actively remove them from the list. And this has to be done without getting too happy with your housekeeping and removing people who might be actual threats. It’s a puzzle to be sure.

Oh nonsense. They obviously have a very unsophisticated program to decide these things, and it wouldn’t take that much time to have a couple of guys curating the watch list. With the amount of time they waste at the airport doing the extra screening, they’d be saving time.

Fenris on September 27, 2014 at 5:50 PM

“In a time of universal deceit, to speak the truth is a revolutionary act.” ~~ George Orwell

RedPepper on September 27, 2014 at 5:55 PM

I inadvertently got through security in Philly with a 4″ folding knife in my jacket pocket.

A friend of mine got through security in Philly with a 6″ hunting knife in his back pack, then through Puerto Rico, then out of Panama or some such country and back again, and didn’t realize he even had it with him until he got home.

Akzed on September 27, 2014 at 5:56 PM

Another example of the government making the world safe for Islamists.

BigAlSouth on September 27, 2014 at 6:00 PM

I am a blue eyed, plump blonde grandma with an English surname. Do you think the government got some hot terrorist chatter about granny-bombers that week?

Dolce Far Niente on September 27, 2014 at 5:46 PM

Let’s be serious. Considering this administration you’re pretty damned threatening.

Wish I could add a tag saying, “I’m just kidding”, but one cannot.

Cody1991 on September 27, 2014 at 6:03 PM

He should have started screaming Allah Akbar…they would have immediately removed him.

trs on September 27, 2014 at 6:10 PM

So TSA lets in Boston bombers when there is an actual terrorism warning from Russia,
TSA lets in terrorists whose VISA HAS EXPIRED,
TSA lets illegals with NO ID fly ,
but they couldn’t google this guy’s name to find out who he is ?

burrata on September 27, 2014 at 6:12 PM

I think Steve Hayes has been digging into things that this administration does like…you know like Benghazi. I wonder if his sources got the treatment as well?

d1carter on September 27, 2014 at 6:13 PM

If this was simply a mistake, DHS would make a phone call and his name would come off the list immediately.

faraway on September 27, 2014 at 5:43 PM

Right. But that won’t happen because Hayes is a critic.

This administration thinks that no one notices anything. They are provincials who think that their game plays on a national level.

It doesn’t.

People notice. We’re living with this disaster every day, and we’re seeing the oppression.

Chicago thinks big, but they’re small potatoes…. thugs… anti-intellectual….garbage collectors.

The heart of America is bigger, smarter and so much better than this.

C’mon folks. However we have to vote let’s get rid of these criminals.

Cody1991 on September 27, 2014 at 6:13 PM

d1carter on September 27, 2014 at 6:13 PM

Should be…”does not like”. Sheesh

d1carter on September 27, 2014 at 6:14 PM

The next time Steve appears on FoxNews, he should dress in full-blown Omar Sharif/Sherif Ali mufti, but less the dagger lest someone at Fox has vapors.

Another Drew on September 27, 2014 at 6:16 PM

He should have started screaming Allah Akbar…they would have immediately removed him.

[trs on September 27, 2014 at 6:10 PM]

Speaking of yelling Allah Akbar, did you folks see this yet?

Dusty on September 27, 2014 at 6:17 PM

By letting the IRS get away with political targeting, Congressional “overseers” have given the green light to every government bureaucracy for doing the same …

ShainS on September 27, 2014 at 6:17 PM

If additions are being made based on nothing more than seeing a journalist write something critical of the administration or give a critical interview on Fox News, then there is clearly a problem to be addressed.

Ya think?

davidk on September 27, 2014 at 6:31 PM

Another example of the government making the world safe for Islamists.

BigAlSouth on September 27, 2014 at 6:00 PM

If a known jihady in a burka and equipped with means to blow up a plane boards a flight , he won’t be stopped if he has a round trip ticket .

burrata on September 27, 2014 at 6:32 PM

It was be so much simpler, and so much less incompetent, if DHS/TSA would just get a brain and a clue and put maybe a little weight on whether or not someone is … … Muslim!

VorDaj on September 27, 2014 at 6:33 PM

Al Qaeda-linked militants in Yemen say fire rocket toward U.S. embassy

http://news.yahoo.com/rocket-fired-yemeni-special-police-guarding-u-embassy-160028450.html

Just a reminder, US Embassies are sovereign US soil.

davidk on September 27, 2014 at 6:35 PM

Nolen however, escaped the NSA and all the goons who monitor you, but let the terrorists slide.

Fire most of them and ask for your money back.

Schadenfreude on September 27, 2014 at 6:37 PM

ISO and Iran are the only success stories, for them, under obama/Hillary/Kerry. Period.

Schadenfreude on September 27, 2014 at 6:38 PM

http://ulstermanbooks.com/d-c-whispers-mr-president-choice-youre-exposed/
davidk on September 27, 2014 at 6:32 PM

Not surprising. Part I is even more irritating.

Akzed on September 27, 2014 at 6:42 PM

Later y’all.

There’s only so much I can take of this political crap, and the beasty basset hound needs attention. Time for dinner and a snuggle with the two rescue boys. They want to watch a movie. I’m thinking, “All Creatures Great and Small”. No matter how many times I’ve watched it I never tire of it.

If only our pols had as much sense as my counter-surfing hound. At least I can smack him, tell him to get his snout out of the trough and make him leave.

Cody1991 on September 27, 2014 at 6:45 PM

http://www.breitbart.com/Breitbart-Texas/2014/09/27/Moore-Police-Department-Beheading-Was-a-Terror-Event

davidk on September 27, 2014 at 6:41 PM

That’s racist. No doubt the FBI will investigate those who say it’s a terror event.

Akzed on September 27, 2014 at 6:45 PM

Continual events defy coincidence. To hope that a man who is occasionally critical of the Obama administration unintentionally ended up on the no fly list is delusional.

We sit there and watch events unfold with the IRS, Justice Department, and The NSA, yet are still in belief that new events are just unintentional oopsies.

Rode Werk on September 27, 2014 at 6:50 PM

You mean to tell me that if the IRS can target conservative non-profits and the DOJ can walk guns to Mexico the TSA might put “certain Americans” on their no fly list?

Man. You have to be kidding me.

Ruckus_Tom on September 27, 2014 at 6:50 PM

Chances are very good that no democrat or liberal is on the list…

darwin on September 27, 2014 at 5:42 PM

.
Actually, I was delighted to learn that Ted Kennedy, Lion of the Senate, practitioner of “the waitress sandwich,” unindicted murderer, and all-around Kennedy shitfaced windsurfer, was on the terror watchlist and complained bitterly about it, blaming the Bush administration and yelling at anyone who would listen “Do you know who I am?”
.
I even smile now about that turn of events.

ExpressoBold on September 27, 2014 at 6:52 PM

First they came for the…. Oh nevermind.

KMC1 on September 27, 2014 at 6:55 PM

http://www.breitbart.com/Breitbart-Texas/2014/09/27/Moore-Police-Department-Beheading-Was-a-Terror-Event

davidk on September 27, 2014 at 6:41 PM

Not according to Creepy Crawley’s transcript !

burrata on September 27, 2014 at 6:57 PM

TSA hard drives to start crashing soon…
Somebody there probably will get a hold of IRS handbook, Chapter 24, “The Lerner Maneuver”.

albill on September 27, 2014 at 7:04 PM

How is Steve dangerous lol??

sorrowen on September 27, 2014 at 7:05 PM

davidk on September 27, 2014 at 6:41 PM

Just curious as to why there’s a comma between “the president”, and “Jarret.
/

S. D. on September 27, 2014 at 7:07 PM

Just curious as to why there’s a comma between “the president”, and “Jarret.
/

S. D. on September 27, 2014 at 7:07 PM

Heh.

davidk on September 27, 2014 at 7:15 PM

ROGUE TSA AGENTS! That’s it!

GarandFan on September 27, 2014 at 7:16 PM

How is Steve dangerous lol??

sorrowen on September 27, 2014 at 7:05 PM

He tells the truth.

davidk on September 27, 2014 at 7:16 PM

This will piss off Greta, he is a frequent panelist on her show. She hopefully won’t back down from this evil regime. This has Obamas hands all over this. I also think obam intentionally wants that Marine to stay in that Mexican jail forever. Oh how I detest this administration.

garydt on September 27, 2014 at 7:31 PM

Meanwhile, back on facebook where people are having their accounts shut down right and left for spewing “hate,” we have the OK headchopper going hog wild with sharia. Wonder if he was on the radar of any government agency since his former imam graduated to the Boston mosque where the Tsarnaevs were tending their crockpots.

GreenEnergy on September 27, 2014 at 7:52 PM

If this was simply a mistake, DHS would make a phone call and his name would come off the list immediately.

faraway on September 27, 2014 at 5:43 PM

No, they wouldn’t. A guy I used to work with when I did Maritime Security somehow got his name on the watch-list. This was even before he started flying overseas a lot. This is a former SEAL. His name was the same as someone else, so he is on it. Still.

He has tried to get his name off of it, but no luck. Not sure how you can get you name off of it.

Patriot Vet on September 27, 2014 at 7:57 PM

Leftists are fascists.

How many incidents do we need to confirm this basic fact of reality?

Star Bird on September 27, 2014 at 8:11 PM

Memo to Mr Hayes: Change your name to either something Hispanic or jihadi. This administration bend over backwards. If nothing else claim that you are one of those supposed lost Honduras kids. Tell them you look old for your age.

crosshugger on September 27, 2014 at 8:11 PM

It even happened to Teddy! But that’s what he gets for flying commercial. How often did that happen?

Cindy Munford on September 27, 2014 at 8:17 PM

Steve Hayes + James Rosen… do the math.

dpduq on September 27, 2014 at 8:33 PM

This makes sense if one assumes the following.. The American socialists running the federal government consider Hayes a potentially dangerous counter-revolutionary. We already know this is how they view the Tea Party.

farsighted on September 27, 2014 at 8:50 PM

If additions are being made based on nothing more than seeing a journalist write something critical of the administration or give a critical interview on Fox News, then there is clearly a problem to be addressed.

I would guess that anyone who works for FOX is being assessed and watched by the WH. Don’t forget this from Greta:

“Since day one of Benghazi FOX News has been aggressively investigating. It hasn’t been easy. It’s been more like pulling teeth to get answers from the Obama administration. The Obama administration’s behavior post Benghazi has been weird. Like they’re trying to hide something. First that silly story about that video. Remember Susan Rice on all the Sunday talk shows? Even President Obama kept talking about the video for weeks. So FOX continued to press for information… A few weeks later when FOX news reporter Jennifer Griffin said she was told there was a stand-down order at Benghazi, I got a weird call from the Obama administration trying to pressure me to get Jennifer to back down on her report. I thought the call from the Obama administration was dirty. Incidentally, I don’t control my colleagues and they don’t control me.”

INC on September 27, 2014 at 9:09 PM

http://ulstermanbooks.com/d-c-whispers-mr-president-choice-youre-exposed/

davidk on September 27, 2014 at 6:32 PM

Thanks for the update. There’s no schedule for “whispers” and I don’t often think to look there.

slickwillie2001 on September 27, 2014 at 10:45 PM

I wonder how many Muslims they actually have on the watch list… if any at all.

JellyToast on September 27, 2014 at 11:06 PM

I wonder how many Muslims they actually have on the watch list… if any at all.

JellyToast on September 27, 2014 at 11:06 PM

I expect that they let people like Hayes onto the list for two reasons, -simply to punish them as enemies of the administration, and to pad the list so if at any time they are called racist they can point out that only 10% or so of the list are muzz.

The fact that this dilutes the effectiveness of the TSA is something they really don’t care about.

slickwillie2001 on September 27, 2014 at 11:17 PM

It’s a puzzle to be sure.

I’m certain that a little call to our friends in the Kremlin and our guys could download their infallible system for identifying all the “bad” guys.

Don L on September 28, 2014 at 5:39 AM

If additions are being made based on nothing more than seeing a journalist write something critical of the administration or give a critical interview on Fox News, then there is clearly a problem to be addressed.

I think you nailed it there, Jazz! Hayes has been highly critical of Obama & team for quite some time. He had better make sure he has all seven years of past tax filings & receipts too! Of course, he could always claim hard drive failure, but that excuse only seems to work for the IRS.

Boats48 on September 28, 2014 at 5:53 AM

The Obammy banana regime is just corrupt. That’s all.

“Puzzle” solved.

Sherman1864 on September 28, 2014 at 6:09 AM

It’s a “puzzle?”

It’s not s puzzle, Jazz! It’s a JOKE. An absurd, nightmarish horrific, grotesque joke!

Think about it: The Tsarnaev brothers, who bombed the Boston Marathon, were, at the time of their terrorism, well-known to the FBI, the State Department, and the Intelligence community. They’d been investigated for terrorist sympathies, had a brazen YouTube account advocating terrorism; Russia had notified the US about them, AND the one brother had traveled to regions that would flag with the TSA!

Despite all of they, the older Tsarnaev freely traveled with no trouble, back and forth, and was NEVER ON THE TSA WATCHLIST,

This list now has MILLIONS — yeah, you read that right — of people’s names on it, most of them just like Hayes, innocent Americans who made the mistake of buying a ONE-WAY TICKET. The names on that list include BABIES, COLONELS IN THE US MILITARY AND ELECTED OFFICIALS IN THE US GOVERNMENT.

But no TSARNAEV brother!!!

It’s grotesque, and it’s got to stop.

mountainaires on September 28, 2014 at 6:36 AM

Hayes is a Lutheran, isn’t he? You all KNOW the Trouble Lutherans have been causing lately, what with the bombings & beheadings & kidnappings, so I fully support this Administration’s efforts to keep us safe?

Why do you all LOVE terrorists, so much?

JFKY on September 28, 2014 at 8:16 AM

First they came for James Rosen at FOX, then Sheryl Adkisson lost her job at CBS. Hayes might find out he’s on more than just the watch list. Wait til he files his return next April.

Kissmygrits on September 28, 2014 at 8:51 AM

Maybe Stephen Hayes can give this six year old some tips about how to get off the watch list after he does:

http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/printedition/news/20071107/1a_lede07_dom.art.htm

I was on it. I was born at Walter Reed Army Hospital, grew up on Air Force bases for 18 years, did six years in the USAF myself, and have an Irish surname. WTF?

If you put a pound of bacon under every airline seat, these jobs are expendable.

NoPain on September 28, 2014 at 9:28 AM

NoPain,it’s no wonder you were on the [email protected] list, 6 years in the USAF, who knows what rightwing extremist ideology you picked up, along with an extensive background in violence, not to mention your PTSD issues…

You just a Ticking TEA Party Time Bomb waiting to explode, probably literally! I pray that the Government can save you & those around you before you do something drastic & irreversible.

At a minimum a comprehensive Psych eval & forced observation period…..

JFKY on September 28, 2014 at 10:14 AM

I bet you are a LUTHERAN, too, aren’t you? You LOOK “Lutheran” is all I’m say’n.

JFKY on September 28, 2014 at 10:15 AM

Could this be the same thing that is happening with the IRS? This thug in the WH seems to use ALL agencies of the government for his own political army.

inspectorudy on September 28, 2014 at 10:46 AM

It’s long past time to completely shut down the ill-conceived, poorly-implemented, ineffective, dysfunctional, and anti-American TSA.

landlines on September 28, 2014 at 11:19 AM

Well of course. He’s a white conservative who criticizes Obama and the Dems. Now if he was a Muslim and attended a mosque known to be divisive, well, the FBI is FORBIDDEN to use the term “Islamic terrorism” so he’d been just fine. Guess the airline that is considered the safest regarding terrorism? El Al. Israel’s airline. And why? Because they profile. As should ALL airlines.

Wileygrl3 on September 28, 2014 at 12:02 PM

My brother-in-law has a very common, Anglo-American name, but he has to use his middle name whenever he flies because he shares a name with someone on that list. Otherwise, he gets the TSA Treatment.

RebeccaH on September 28, 2014 at 12:11 PM

Going with the simplest answer – the Obama administration is a criminal organization.

faraway on September 27, 2014 at 5:36 PM

This.

jnelchef on September 28, 2014 at 1:15 PM

Sorry JFKY, I’m Episcopalian. You know, Catholics who flunked Latin and get divorced. And drink a lot because of people like you.

If it makes you feel better though, you can consider me Lutheran. I honestly don’t care what you think.

NoPain on September 29, 2014 at 3:34 PM