A Man with a Flashlight

Is the Bush administration putting critics on no-fly?
April 9, 2007, 11:06 am
Filed under: The Imperial President, The War on Terror

That’s what American Airlines clerks told Princeton University professor emeritus Walter F. Murphy. Murphy, who criticized the administration in a televised speech in 2006, found he was on the no-fly list last week when he checked in for a flight to a conference at Princeton. Airline staff told him this was the likely reason he was on the terrorist watch list and expressed no surprise, suggesting they had seen it before. They said anti-war demonstrators were commonly placed on the list. (Nod to Andrew Sullivan)

We need to know more about this – why was Murphy then allowed to fly, to begin with. Normally I would dismiss his story as just too improbable.

But this administration outed Valerie Plame. They abducted and tortured a man because his name was spelled similarly to a suspected terrorist’s. Under them the FBI infiltrated peaceful protest organizations and videotaped interrogations of protestors in American cities about their political and religious beliefs. And they have made no bones about their belief in nearly limitless presidential power.

So would they put a political critic on the no-fly list? I can’t responsibly put it past them.

I mean, the beauty of it is no-one would ever know. We can’t. They don’t have to explain why anyone is on the list. There are congressmen who can’t get off it.

So it’s like when a cop makes a drug bust, and they’re standing in a motel room with hundreds of thousands of dollars lying on the bed, uncounted. Who’s going to know if they pocket some?

Do we want our president to have this power? Do we want anyone in our country to have this power?

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