Air Force sergeant joins suit over 'no-fly' list
April 7, 2004
SEATTLE (AP) -- Air Force Master Sgt. Michelle Green quit flying
commercial planes with her children this year.
"I have to get there a couple of hours early," Green told a news conference at the American Civil Liberties Union office in Seattle Tuesday. "You just don't know what's going to happen.
"It might be 45 minutes or it could be two hours," she said. "I'm not allowed to take care of my kids or their needs. So I can't travel with them."
Green, based at Eielson Air Force Base in Fairbanks, Alaska, is one of the plaintiffs in a lawsuit filed by the ACLU Tuesday. Filed in U.S. District Court in Seattle, the lawsuit challenges the government's "no-fly" list of suspected terrorists who may not board commercial flights and its "selectee" list of travelers singled out for extra security because they're considered a potential threat.
A 16-year Air Force veteran, Green doesn't have any idea how she may have gotten on the list. Since early in January, she has been unable to board flights without significant delays.
"I've been humiliated and embarrassed in front of my supervisors and fellow passengers," Green said. "One of the most frustrating parts if that every time I change planes, I must undergo the same security measures.
"I'm frustrated and I'm tired. I'm looking for a way to change the process and clear my name. You just don't know what put you on that list."
Green said she went to the ACLU as a last-ditch attempt to get her name taken off the list after failing in repeated attempts with the TSA.
Other plaintiffs who appeared at the news conference here were Mohamed Ibrahim, 51, a coordinator for the American Friends Service Committee in Philadelphia who immigrated to the United States from Sudan, and Sarosh Syed, 26, a special projects coordinator at the ACLU of Washington in Seattle who immigrated to the U.S. from Pakistan. Both are U.S. citizens.
"I am an anti-terrorist person," Ibrahim said. "This is a funny thing. I don't know how it happened."
Syed said the country has changed since 9/11.
"This is definitely not the America that I immigrated to," he said.
Aaron Caplan of the ACLU's state chapter said thousands of innocent Americans were being stopped at the nation's airports because of the lists.
"Imagine how this would feel if it was happening to you," he said. "This 'no fly' list is not making us safe. We still don't know how a person gets on the list. We still don't know how a person gets off the list."
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