The Washington Times - July 22, 2008, 05:31PM


By Jeffrey Denning

Cable News Network (CNN) Investigative Correspondent Drew Griffin gets stopped, searched and harassed by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) every time he flies…which, unfortunately for him, is quite a lot. It’s not the normal hassle we all face at our nation’s airports - no, Drew Griffin gets extra attention akin to being on the terrorism watch list.

Drew Griffin is hardly a terrorist. I would know.

In a behind-the-scenes interview, I recently asked him about his air travel experience and the fact that he gets stopped for extra security screening every time he flies now. I also could see that he wasn’t wearing a suicide bomb vest.

Seriously, though, why is he being stopped for extra screening if he’s just a normal, red-blooded American guy?

Well, according to the exchange between CNN’s Anderson Cooper and Drew Griffin on my aforementioned interview, shortly after Griffin spearheaded a series of critical reports about the Federal Air Marshal Service (FAMS) and the TSA, he began getting unusual treatment at the airport - and it wasn’t the nice kind.

So here’s the $64 million question: Did someone in the TSA take offense at the critical reports and offer some pay-back?

Na, that couldn’t happen…could it?

The day after the aforementioned report aired, according to this report and this video, U.S. House Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee asked Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff about “a curious and interesting and troubling phenomenon” that CNN Investigative Correspondent Drew Griffin was added to the terrorism watch list.

I guess we’re not the only ones who found this coincidence totally disturbing.

And what was TSA’s response? Or for that matter, what was Secretary Chertoff’s response (which was basically the same)?

…There must be another Drew Griffin.

Call me crazy, but I just can’t see how the TSA could phonetically mistake Abu Shahid for Drew Griffin.

Soon after that TSA response, we received an e-mail, and found the irony and sarcasm simply too hilarious to pass up. The email had the subject, “TSA Targets CNN Reporter,” and it read:

“Hi, Drew Griffin here. No, not that Drew Griffin. It’s me, Drew Griffin the Al Qaeda commander. Anyway, I just wanted to say that I’m really sorry about all this confusion with that Drew Griffin CNN guy. It must s’ck right now to be him…I mean me…I mean…Anyway, I felt so bad about it, I actually flew to Washington and went straight over to TSA headquarters and told them this was all a mistake, that I was Drew Griffin the terrorist and they had me confused with a CNN reporter.

I even showed them family photos. You know, me in the crib with a stuffed toy grenade…kidnapping tourists in Yemen…terrorist school in Afghanistan…parking my car bomb…beheading infidels…’Death to Americapalooza’ concert…They just wouldn’t listen. They kept saying, “No, sir, we added the Drew Griffin we wanted on our list.” When I told them they were wrong, that they’d put a guy on the list who only reported some bad things the TSA was doing, they just smiled very strangely and said, “any connection between that reporting and us putting him on our No-Fly list is completely fabricated.”

Well, at least they were honest. Sorry I couldn’t be of more help. Anyway, I gotta catch a flight back to Waziristan in a couple hours so I need to finish packing; I’m teaching third-grade suicide bomber class and if I’m late they start making safari animals with the C-4.

Best wishes and Death to America,

Drew Griffin (the terrorist)

It’s healthy to get a good laugh every so often, but I assure you the real Drew Griffin - the reporter, not Drew Griffin, the terrorist - never laughs at the airport. Neither do the other mistakenly identified or arbitrarily added air travelers who are on the government watch list, which have also included TSA’s very own Federal Air Marshals. Oops!