A Kentucky man who challenged the federal mask mandate was immediately placed on the Terrorist Watch List.
One of the people challenging the legality of the federal mask mandate is Michael Faris, and he’s filed a motion with the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals seeking to be removed from a government terrorism watchlist he was placed on after seeking to litigate the mask requirement.
- He filed his suite against the mask rule on October 19. He claims that he should be considered medically exempt from the mask requirement, which the federal regulation allows for, but that he hasn’t been able to obtain such an exemption from any airline.
- On October 21 he couldn’t check in for his flight home from Southern California to Kentucky on United Airlines. He was eventually issued an ‘SSSS’ boarding pass. “Agents told Faris this meant he had likely be placed on a terrorist watchlist.”
“TSA’s action placing Mr. Faris … on its terrorist watchlist for filing this lawsuit challenging the FTMM represents the absolute worst form of vengeance against citizens exercising our First Amendment right to petition the government for a redress of grievances,” according to the court filing. “Suing TSA does not constitute a threat of terrorism nor any other risk to transportation security that warrants placement on the watchlist.”
Michael Faris, a helicopter maintenance supervisor, is trying to fly home today to Elizabethtown, Kentucky, from a work assignment near Ontario, California. When he tried to check in on the United Airlines mobile app, he received a message that his “reservation requires special handling. Please check in at an airport kiosk.”When he used a United kiosk at Ontario airport, it displayed a message to “Please collect the printed document and see a United representative for further assistance.”
It took United agents a long time on the phone to check Faris in, during which a TSA officer responded to the counter. He was then escorted to the security checkpoint, where she showed his mask-exemption letter from his physician. TSA officer Steven Pointer and supervisor Ramona Baker reluctantly allowed Faris into the screening area without a face covering.
TSA then put him through a lengthy process known as “Secondary Security Screening Selectee,” noted on his boarding pass by the code “SSSS.” During the extended search, he was patted down for more than five minutes and every item was removed from his carry-on bag. TSA officers even swabbed inside his wallet.