Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The TSA and the Arabic Student

This hits close to home:
"The ACLU has filed a lawsuit on behalf of a college student who was arrested by the TSA and detained for five hours over a set of Arabic-language flash cards he was carrying.

"Nick George, a student at Pomona College in California, was grilled by the TSA on 'who did 9/11' and asked by FBI agents whether he was a communist after airport security officers found Arabic-English language learning cards in his luggage last summer, according to news reports and the ACLU.

"George was boarding a plane to California on Aug. 29, 2009, after visiting his native Pennsylvania when TSA agents noticed the cards. George had been studying Arabic and used the flash cards -- which have Arabic on one side and English on the other -- to help him translate the Arabic news service al-Jazeera. Among the flash cards were the words 'terrorist' and 'explosion,' the Philadelphia Daily News reported."

UPDATE: Something I should add: I did consider whether this might be akin to the "Little Red Hoax" from a few years ago. The bit about the officers asking if the student was a communist is especially strange. However, linked story highlights enough official response that I feel comfortable saying something like this did indeed occur.



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