How Did Walter Murphy Get Off the No-Fly List?:
My apologies for posting so much on the Walter Murphy story — I think it's pretty interesting, although I realize some readers will disagree — but I wanted to flag this remarkable portion of Ryan Singel's interview with Walter Murphy on getting off the No-Fly list. (Thanks to commenter "JonC" for drawing it to my attention.)

  Recall that when Professor Murphy flew to Newark from Albuquerque, he was told that he was on the Terrorist Watch List. However, by the time of his return flight to Albuquerque, he was apparently no longer on the list; he was able to get his boarding pass without incident. So one obvious question is, if the Bush Administration is trying to attack Professor Murphy to suppress his speech, why would they take his name off the list just a day or two later? In the Singel interview, Professor Murphy speculates as to the reason:
I flew back without having trouble getting a boarding pass. But when I was in Princeton, I had breakfast with former student — a Republican congressman, and called a number of friends in my academic life, and the NSA monitors a lot of phone calls, especially cell phone calls, so I tried to use the words that might trip their computers like starting calls by saying, "I'm on the terrorist watch list" and "I've been criticizing George Bush" and if indeed these things are monitored, maybe they heard this, I don't know.
  I realize that Professor Murphy honestly and genuinely feels targeted. But am I right that we're veering off into UFO-sighting territory here? Think about this for a second. Murphy suggests that the fact that he was only questioned once rather than on every flight doesn't mean that perhaps his name wasn't actually on the No-Fly list. Rather, it means that his name initially was put on the list to punish him for his Princeton speech — but then, by the time of the outbound flight, perhaps NSA or other government surveillance of him had tipped off the government that he was on the list, and led them to take him off the list. I really don't mean to be harsh, but that strikes me as just, well, weird.

  Professor Murphy also states in the interview that he knows other people have been taken off the No-Fly list. In particular, he suggests that "bright, highly paid legal secretaries" might be able to use connections to get lawyers taken off the list:
One friend who called me said, "I got put on, too." He used to be [a] fairly high-powered mover and shaker. "How did you get off?," I asked. "I'm partner in large law firm and I told my secretary to get me off," he said. "And I've been able to fly since."
  Again, this just sounds really unlikely. (Okay, okay, get your mind out of the gutter, people.) I know law firm partners often receive excellent secretarial assistance, but why would a private law firm secretary know how to get a name removed from the government's No-Fly list?

  Finally, the Singel interview sheds a little more light on the matter of Murphy's lost luggage. In the original post at Balkinization, Professor Murphy said the following about his lost luggage:
On my return flight, I had no problem with obtaining a boarding pass, but my luggage was "lost." Airlines do lose a lot of luggage and this "loss" could have been a mere coincidence. In light of previous events, however, I'm a tad skeptical.
  From this passage, it sounds like Murphy's luggage completely disappeared. In the Singel interview, however, Murphy explains that the "lost" luggage actually just showed up a few hours late:
When I got back to Albuquerque, the airline said my luggage was lost. It was delivered later that night, sometime after midnight. I don't know when. I left a note on the door telling them just leave it. It arrived some time overnight and I found nothing missing.
  Again, I realize that Professor Murphy honestly and genuinely feels targeted. And it's true that Professor Murphy is an academic giant; he's he author of many major and important works, including one of my favorite books, Wiretapping on Trial. At the same time, I'm increasingly finding this story rather embarrassing. At this point it sounds to me like much ado about nothing, perhaps just a story of miscommunication or what happens when bored American Airline clerks in Albuquerque decide to have fun with a distinguished gentleman flying to Newark.

  In any event, it seems to me extremely unlikely that Professor Murphy was actually targeted by the government for his Princeton speech.