Kahn comments that -
Terrorist watchlists used to restrict travel into and out of the United States owe their conceptual origins to Mrs Ruth B. Shipley, the Chief of the State Department's Passport Division from 1928 to 1955. Mrs Shipley was one of the most powerful people in the federal government for almost thirty years, but she is virtually unknown today. She had the unreviewable discretion to determine who could leave the United States, for how long, and under what conditions.He notes that her -
This article examines how Mrs Shipley exercised her power through a detailed study of original documents obtained from the National Archives. It then compares her work to the current watchlisting procedures employed by the Terrorist Screening Center and Department of Homeland Security. The article concludes that today's so-called “No Fly List” used to deny boarding passes to suspect travelers resonates with Mrs. Shipley’s passport power, which was rightly scaled back by the courts and Congress as incompatible with our constitutional values.
office was delegated the discretion to grant, deny, restrict, and revoke passports. Although equipped at its peak with a staff of 225 people, Mrs. Shipley personally reviewed each application. Her word was law since, prior to the Supreme Court's 1958 decision in Kent v. Dulles, the decisions of the Passport Division were not subject to judicial review. That is why Secretary of State Dean Acheson later referred to the Passport Division as Mrs. Shipley's "Queendom of Passports" and noted her service as chief of an office with "almost absolute power to decide who might leave and enter the country". In this capacity, she excelled. As she neared retirement, John Foster Dulles recommended Mrs. Shipley for the Presidential Medal for Merit, the highest civilian honor awarded by the United States Government at that time. The citation prepared to accompany the award commended Mrs. Shipley, who "being alert to the dangers inherent in the travel abroad of communists and other subversives, initiated and steadfastly adhered to the policy of refusing passports to applicants whose prior actions indicated that the proposed travel would be inimical to the best interests of the United States".