Wrong Name, or Wrong System?

Document Date: June 6, 2003

Asif Iqbal is a naturalized American citizen — a 29-year-old University of Texas graduate — who has no connection to terrorism. Unfortunately his name, a common Pakistani name, appears on a “no fly” list and therefore everytime he tries to fly he has to undergo a lengthy ordeal at the airport security.

“Which leaves me wondering when, if ever, a new system will be activated to give me relief and allow me to travel as freely as other Americans?” – Asif Iqbal

Asif — as a Senior Consultant at BearingPoint Inc.– flies at least twice a week. Every time he boards a plane, he is subjected to a tedious run of questioning by local officers. In some instances, FBI agents would come to the airport to further interrogate him before giving him clearances. The only reason for him to suffer from these emotionally draining experiences is that his surname is on the “”No Fly”” list.

Since February of 2002, Iqbal has been trying to get relief from the government, and Congresswoman Louise Slaughter had assisted him to file an inquiry with the FBI and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). However, the responses Iqbal has received are disappointing. The FBI said that they were unfortunately unable to recommend changes to the “”no fly”” list to accommodate his situation. Also, although the TSA is working on improving the current system, it has given no definite timeline to implement a new procedure.

Until the government bureaucracy manages to correct this error and remove his name, Asif’s only option — like others who are erroneously on the “no fly” list — is to arrive early for flights and be patient as security agents take hours to once again clear his name.

Return to the “No Fly” List stories


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