Lawsuit Update on Arabic flash card case @ PHL

Discussion in 'Aviation Passenger Security in the USA' started by Mike, Oct 4, 2012.

  1. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    Just presenting their case, gov't lost a motion to dismiss & is appealing (ACLU blurb here) ...

    Business Insider: This College Student Says He Was Detained At Airport For Having English-Arabic Flashcards

    The ACLU is going to court Friday on behalf of a college student who was allegedly interrogated, handcuffed and detained for five hours because he had a set of English-Arabic language flashcards and a book critical of the U.S.

    In 2009 Nick George, who studies physics at Pomona College in California, was returning to school after completing a study abroad program in Jordan when TSA agents at the Philadelphia International Airport asked him to empty his pockets.

    According to ACLU, George presented a set of English-Arabic language flashcards. His carry-on luggage was searched and the agents found "Rogue Nation: American Unilateralism and the Failure of Good Intentions” by Clyde Prestowitz—a book that former Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs Joseph Nye described as a "conservative 's sober warning of the dangers of unilateralism and the temptations of empire."

    George says he was then detained and questioned for a half-hour about whether he knew “who did 9/11.” He was subsequently handcuffed by a Philadelphia police officer and locked in a cell for four hours—the first two hours in handcuffs—and then interrogated for a half-hour by two FBI agents, the ACLU says.
  2. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    ACLU: In Court Today: The Constitution Also Lives in Airports

    The ACLU is appearing today before the Third Circuit Court of Appeals to argue on behalf of our client, Nick George.

    In August 2009, Nick went to the Philadelphia International Airport to catch a flight to California and begin his senior year at Pomona College. At the airport, he was detained, abusively interrogated, handcuffed, and jailed for several hours in a holding cell – solely because he was carrying a set of Arabic-English flashcards for his language studies, and a book critical of U.S. foreign policy.

    That’s right: no liquids, no matches, no weapons, no explosives. Just First Amendment-protected materials.

    Nick, who was double majoring in physics and Middle Eastern studies and had been learning Arabic since his freshman year, arrived at the security checkpoint with a single piece of carry-on luggage, in which he had stereo speakers. As he approached the X-ray machine, a TSA officer asked him what he had in his bag, and Nick truthfully replied. The officer asked him to step aside for secondary screening, and Nick complied. His speakers were X-rayed separately, and his cell phone swabbed twice to test for explosives – all with negative results. At this point, he should have been free to board his plane. He wasn’t.

  3. Affection

    Affection Original Member

    Ahhhhhh that case has an awesome opinion by a U.S. District Judge that would support my case relating to being detained by the TSA. Must see if I can get that in somehow.

  4. FetePerfection

    FetePerfection Founding Member Coach

    I expect this idiocy from TSA. I marginally expect it from the police these days...I do not expect it from the FBI for god sakes. I hope Nick wins this big time.
  5. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    Ask Shoshana Hebshi what to expect from the FBI.
  6. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    Forbes: Government to Argue Detention Based on Arabic Flashcards Was Justified

    This is an update on a story I mentioned in 2010 (“TSA Detains Possible Terrorist Armed With Flashcards“), and today’s update shows that the government’s contempt for the Fourth Amendment rages on unabated.

    Nicholas George was detained in Philadelphia and interrogated for four hours after sharp-eyed but pinheaded TSA employees decided he was a threat because: (1) his passport shows he’s been to the Middle East sometime in his life and (2) he was carrying flashcards with Arabic words on them (including “bomb”). There are two possible explanations for these facts, of course: (1) he is a student who is studying the Middle East and the language most people speak there, or (2) he is a English-speaking terrorist who is for some reason planning to say “bomb” in Arabic on a plane in the United States.

    I mean, I know you people recruit “agents” by advertising on pizza boxes, but is just a basic intelligence test at some point too much to ask? Can you not fit that line item into your enormous budget?


    By the way, according to this report, while our heroes were scrutinizing the deadly flashcards, the suspected terrorist’s checked bag was being loaded onto the plane and it proceeded on to California. Luckily without exploding.

    From the above linked First Amendment Center: Student detained at Philadelphia airport sues FBI, TSA, police

    George, a senior at Pomona College in Claremont, Calif., missed his Aug. 29 flight back to school — although he said his checked luggage made it onboard. “If I had been a terrorist, I would have been the luckiest terrorist around, because my bag would have blown up and I would have been sitting in a jail cell,” George told the Associated Press in a telephone interview from school yesterday.
  7. N965VJ

    N965VJ Original Member

    I remember a PHL Police spokesman saying that since Geroge's hair was shorter than his passport photo, this was indicative of his being "radicalized". This from the same agency where officers have difficulty unloading a flight attendant's .38 Special without negligently discharging a round into the terminal wall. [​IMG]
Tags: Nick George, PHL

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