Nearly seven years after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States with hijacked airliners, it may finally be getting easier for innocent travelers to get their names removed from the watchlists. Easier … but not easy, as reform is far from complete and far from transparent.
Following years of consumer complaints, Freedom of Information Act requests and lawsuits, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) a branch of the Department of Homeland Security launched a program in February 2007 called Traveler Redress Inquiry Program (TRIP).
TRIP provides a means of appeal for people who feel they have been wrongly included on the TSA’s “selectee” list, which subjects travelers to additional airport security screening and delays boarding, or the more-serious “no-fly” list, which bars flying altogether. Recent media reports have put the total number of names on these two lists as high as 900,000.
As of January 2008, some 24,000 people had used TRIP to appeal their inclusion on the lists. The TSA hasn’t revealed how many applicants have been officially cleared or whether clearance has actually resulted in no-hassle flying.