Here's something else to add to the Transportation Safety Administration training manual. It's a simple six-point terrorist screening test I have just devised:
- If you notice that a traveler is carrying Arabic-English flashcards,
- and that person already speaks fluent English,
- he probably is not an Arab terrorist, because
- HE DOES NOT SPEAK ARABIC YET.
- THAT IS WHAT THE FLASHCARDS ARE FOR.
- I MEAN, COME ON, GUYS.
Nicholas George, who is from Philadelphia, is a student at Pomona College in California and is studying Arabic there. This is a good thing. We need people to study and learn Arabic so they can translate things and see if anybody else who speaks Arabic is trying to kill us. To learn a foreign language, sometimes one uses flashcards. Sometimes, especially if one wants to become fluent, one actually travels to the countries where the language is spoken, and that will mean your passport will show that you have been to the Middle East.
The suspiciously stamped passport, and the über-suspicious flashcards, neither of which an actual terrorist would have been carrying, caused TSA agents in Philadelphia to detain George, handcuff him, and interrogate him for four hours. He missed his flight and had to travel the next day. ACLU contacted. Lawsuit filed. Lesson almost certainly not learned.
Link: Los Angeles Times