Take Adams off airport watch list, say congress members22/03/2006 - 07:21:07
Five members of America’s House of Representatives are urging the government’s Transportation Security Administration to remove Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams from its airport security watch list.
Hours after meeting President George Bush at the White House on Friday, St Patrick’s Day, Adams was delayed at Washington’s Dulles International Airport on his way to Buffalo because of security concerns.
The delay forced the politician to miss a giving a speech at the Buffalo Irish Centre in upstate New York.
The politicians, who included the organiser of the Buffalo event, Rep Brian Higgins, wrote to TSA Director Kip Hawley to protest at Adams’ treatment. They also demanded answers to why Adams was detained.
Sinn Féin has accused the Bush administration of harassing Adams and other officials of the IRA-linked party at US airports.
“Placing Mr Adams and Sinn Féin representatives on a watch list that serves as a de facto restriction on movement in the US is wrong, unjustified and harmful to the peace process,” the politicians wrote.
Adams provided his itinerary to US government officials well in advance of his travels in America, said Massachusetts congressman Rep Richard Neal.
“We don’t understand how Mr Adams was cleared into the White House for a meeting with President Bush in the morning, and then delayed by airport security later that evening. We’re simply looking for answers,” Neal said in a statement.
Because he was convicted for an IRA-related crime in the early 1970s, Adams requires a travel waiver when he goes to the US.
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