Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2005/12/20/holiday_spy_cheer/

Santa running short on surveillance gear this year

Crisis at the North Pole

By Ashlee Vance

Posted in Media, 20th December 2005 08:28 GMT

Every year at about this time, we try to bring our beloved readers a story or two to boost the holiday cheer. And this year is no different.

Our first heart-warming tale centers on an undergraduate at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. The unnamed student requested a copy of Mao's Little Red Book from the school's interlibrary loan program in the hopes of writing a cracking paper for his fascism and totalitarianism class.

Instead of receiving the book, the student found two Department of Homeland Security agents waiting at his parents' house. It seems the book along with the student's extensive travels set alarm bells ringing at Homeland Security central. The agents did bring the book to the house but didn't leave the material with the student.

You can find out more on the student here.

Our second story of holiday cheer takes place in Washington D.C. where the ever vigilant staff at Dulles Airport stopped a 9-month-old boy from boarding a flight with his mom.

Offensive diaper? Ugly baby syndrome?

No. The toddler in question couldn't board the plane because his name is on the "no-fly" list of suspected terrorists.

"We pointed down to the stroller, and he sat there and gurgled," mom Sarah Zapolsky told Reuters. "The desk agent started laughing. ... She couldn't print us out a boarding pass because he's on the no-fly list."

Of course, babies aren't the only ones to end up on the no-fly list. Democratic Senator Ted Kennedy of Mass, Republican Representative Don Young of Alaska and Democratic Representative John Lewis of Georgia are part of the not so exclusive club too.

(Perhaps there is a stinky diaper theme after all.)

And so are possibly hundreds of Peter Johnsons who share a flagged and all too common name.

The TSA has dedicated a whopping seven full-time staffers to dealing with the thousands upon thousands of mistaken "no-fly" incidents.

If you're lucky, you'll see Santa fly through the night sky as you're waiting at the airport for the guard to finish up the cavity check. Mistletoe never felt so good.

Our last story has Human Rights Watch accusing the US government of torturing prisoners in Afghanistan by playing Eminem and Dr. Dre for 20 days.

Torture?

That's like a bad ass, free festival. The fun, however, is sure to end now that the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) has caught wind of the music abuse. Read all the details here.

Well, friends, it seems clear that we all have a lot to be thankful for this holiday season. Please be sure to wish the government agents wire-tapping your phone a Merry Christmas or whatever when sending your best to loved ones. We're all in this together. Now we just have to figure out what this is. ®