Monday, September 26, 2005

Nun Terrorized by Terror Watch

Ryan Singel writes in Wired News:

Sister Glenn Anne McPhee is a busy woman.

As the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' secretary for education, Sister McPhee oversees Catholic education in the United States, from nursery school through post-graduate. Her job includes working with the Department of Education, speaking frequently at conferences and scrutinizing religious textbooks to clear them with the teachings of the church.

For nine months in 2003 and 2004, Sister McPhee also took on the task of clearing her name from the government's no-fly list, an endeavor that proved fruitless until she called on a higher power, the White House.

McPhee is not the first high-profile individual to be caught by the government's watch lists. Sen. Edward Kennedy and former presidential candidate John Anderson both found that their names matched names on the list, but like McPhee, were able to resolve the problem by contacting powerful officials.

But, thanks to documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, her ordeal offers one of the most illuminating illustrations of the failures of the airport screening system that has come to light since 9/11. The Electronic Privacy Information Center plans to release the results of the FOIA request this week, Wired News has learned, handing the latest black eye to a government initiative aimed at preventing terrorists from boarding commercial flights that originate in the United States.


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