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Thursday, July 07, 2005

UMBRA clearances don't exst anymore. In fact, the very term UMBRA clearance was a secret. According to the book The Puzzle Palace, it was dropped when a high administration official (not this administration) was photographed in the press with some document stamped "UMBRA" crooked in his elbow. All you could read was the word. It was that secret.
This is from:

AlterNet

Who's Watching the Watch List?

By John Graham, AlterNet
Posted on July 7, 2005, Printed on July 7, 2005
http://www.alternet.org/story/23362/

... Directed to the ticket counter, I gave the agent my driver's license and watched her punch keys at her computer.

Frowning, she told me that my name was on the national terrorist No Fly Watch List and that I had to be specially cleared to board a plane. Any plane...

...20 minutes on the phone to the TSA uncovered no live human being at all, let alone one who would tell me what I'd presumably done to get on The List. Searching my mind for possible reasons, I've been more and more puzzled. I used to work on national security issues for the State Department and I know how dangerous our country's opponents can be. To the dismay of many of my more progressive friends, I've given the feds the benefit of the doubt on homeland security. I tend to dismiss conspiracy theories as nonsense and I take my shoes off for the airport screeners with a smile.

...According to a recent MSNBC piece, thousands of Americans are having similar experiences. And this is not Chile under Pinochet. It's America. My country and yours.

With no real information to go on, I'm left to guess why this is happening to me. The easiest and most comforting guess is that it's all a mistake (a possibility the TSA form, to its credit, allows). But how? I'm a 63-year-old guy with an Anglo-Saxon name. I once held a Top Secret Umbra clearance (don't ask what it is but it meant the FBI vetted me up the whazoo for months). And since I left the government in 1980, my life has been an open book. It shouldn't be hard for the government to figure out that I'm not a menace to my country.

... I [was] honored as "Points of Light" by the first President Bush ....

I'm also engaged in international peacemaking...

As I said, I'm not into conspiracy theories. But I can't ignore this administration's efforts to purge and punish dissenters and opponents....Whether it's a mistake or somebody with the power to hassle me really thinks I am a threat, the stark absence of due process is unsettling. The worst of it is that being put on a list of America's enemies seems to be permanent....

View this story online at: http://www.alternet.org/story/23362/