Anyone trying to learn a new language while heading through the airport beware – the TSA is apparently paying special attention to people with flashcards.
When airline passenger Nick George tried to pass through the checkpoint at Phillidephia airport, the TSA found the harmless flashcards in his bag, handcuffed him and detained him for five hours.
Given the reaction from the TSA, you’d expect that the flashcards were teaching him words like “hijack” or “bomb”, but they were all completely harmless words like “graduate” or “funny”.
The TSA obviously now assumes that anything in Arabic is a matter of national security, because during their interrogation of Mr. George, they demanded answers to stupid questions like “who was behind 9/11” and “what language does Osama Bin Laden speak”. Worst of all, Mr. George doesn’t even look like your everyday terrorist – he’s just a young American guy from California. So, thanks to their utter stupidity, the TSA is now on the receiving end of a lawsuit by the ACLU.
UPDATE: According to a different report, some of the flash cards did indeed contain words like “bomb” and “terrorist”, but Mr. George made it clear that he was learning those words so he could understand news stories from the Middle East.