Terrorist Watchlist Hits One Million Names
The nation’s terrorist watch list has hit one million names, according to a tally maintained by the American Civil Liberties Union based upon the government’s own reported numbers for the size of the list.
Members of Congress, nuns, war heroes and other `suspicious characters,’ with names like Robert Johnson and Gary Smith, have become trapped in the Kafkaesque clutches of this list, with little hope of escape,” said Caroline Fredrickson, director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office. “Congress needs to fix it, the Terrorist Screening Center needs to fix it, or the next president needs to fix it, but it has to be done soon.”
Fredrickson and Barry Steinhardt, director of the ACLU’s Technology and Liberty Program, spoke today along with two victims of the watch list: Jim Robinson, former assistant attorney general for the Civil Division who flies frequently and is often delayed for hours despite possessing a governmental security clearance and Akif Rahman, an American citizen who has been detained and interrogated extensively at the U.S.-Canada border when traveling for business. [ACLU]
I wrote about the massively dysfunctional TSA watch list two years ago. The authorities have been promising to work out the same "kinks" for years, with no appreciable improvement. The fundamental structural problem is that several low-quality lists were thrown together after 9/11 to create one big list full of misspellings, duplications, and other defects.
No one's going to make a silk purse out of that sow's ear.