Gary Smith, 51, the police chief in Northfield, Mn, has been in law enforcement for 24 years, says the St. Paul Pioneer Press. His credentials and fingerprints show up in a host of state and federal government databases. He recently trained at the prestigious FBI Academy in Virginia. He has access to classified homeland security alerts and bulletins. But Smith might as well change his name to Osama bin Laden, says columnist Ruben Rosario. Both appear on the government’s secret “no-fly” watch list.
Smith has been unable to remove himself from the list. “What really concerns me is that if this is happening to me, what does that say about the average person who is on this list?,” he asks. “It makes me question about overall security.” Smith had no problems flying nationally or abroad until late September, when he was told he was on the no-fly list when he attempted to travel to the International Association of Chiefs of Police convention in Miami. He faced the same red tape when he flew to Washington, D.C., to attend a seminar sponsored by the U.S. Justice Department. He’s flying again next week to another law-enforcement conference and is bracing for the same treatment.