Student Detained For Having Piece Of Paper In Pocket With Word “Bomb” In Arabic
Nick George, a Pamona College student, was detained and interrogated by the TSA, the FBI and Pennsylvania police because of the flash cards in his pocket when he was boarding a plane from Philadelphia to California carrying Arabic flash cards.
George, a physics major who’s studying Arabic, was pulled aside for secondary screening at the Philadelphia International Airport as he tried to go through security. When he emptied his pockets, the inspector saw his flash cards and he was arrested, handcuffed, locked in a cell for hours and aggressively questioned. Because of some flash cards.
Approximately ten of the 200 cards had words like “bomb,” “terrorism” or “explosive” on them.
“They asked me why I had those words. I told them honestly because I had been trying to read Arabic news media, especially Al-Jazeera, and these are words that come up when you read the news about the Middle East,” George said.
He said he was in the secondary screening area for about a half hour before a TSA supervisor arrived and began questioning him in a “hostile and aggressive manner.”
Noting that George had a book titled “Rogue Nation: American Unilateralism and the Failure of Good Intentions,” the supervisor asked him a series of questions, including “Who did 9/11?” and “Do you know what language he spoke?” The supervisor then held up the flash cards and said, “Do you see why these cards are suspicious?” George said.
He said he was then turned over to a Philadelphia police officer, who handcuffed him and placed him in an airport jail cell while officers examined his possessions…
George was then handed over to the FBI who freed him after 30 more minutes of questioning, and determining finally that we was not a threat. The ACLU is filing suit on George’s behalf, alleging violation of his Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable seisure and his First Amendment rights to free speech.
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