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Government to Argue Detention Based on Arabic Flashcards Was Justified

Kevin Underhill
Forbes [1]
Oct 6, 2012

This is an update on a story I mentioned in 2010 (“TSA Detains Possible Terrorist Armed With Flashcards [2]“), 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 [3], 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?

Seriously—a TSA supervisor asked George the following series of questions (among others):

  1. “Who did 9/11?”
  2. “Do you know what language he spoke?” and
  3. “Do you see why these cards are suspicious?”

Well, that’s an ironclad case.

Full article here [1]