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How We Got Our Son Off The Terrorist Watch List

Charlie was on the terrorist list

Charlie was on the terrorist list

The silly problems with the FBI’s terrorist list is perhaps best exemplified with this story by Mary Jacoby, founder of the new website Main Justice.  Here’s her amusing — and not so amusing– story about her son Charlie.

By Mary Jacoby
Main Justice

WASHINGTON — The release last week of a Department of Justice Inspector General report documenting enormous problems with the FBI’s Terrorist Watch List was of personal interest to our family.

Our now 8-year-old son was apparently on the list – or some variant of it – for several years. From kindergarten through the 2nd grade, he was repeatedly pulled aside at Customs entry points for hours of secondary screening. It took repeated inquiries, FOIA requests and personal phone calls to get him removed from the list.

Our first inkling of trouble came in December 2005, as we passed through customs at Atlanta’s Hartsfield International Airport. We were returning to the U.S. for a Christmas visit from Brussels, where my husband and I were correspondents for the Wall Street Journal.

The Customs official in the passport line looked into his computer, peered over the counter at Charlie, and rolled his eyes. We were sent to secondary screening.

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