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Posted by on Jul 14, 2008 in At TMV | 3 comments

Terror Watch List Fails… Again

This time, the terror watch list has picked up Clinton-era assistant attorney general, Jim Robinson. He is on this list despite having a recently renewed set of security clearances. It’s ok for him to have access to nuclear secrets, but not to get on an airplane without some serious extra hassle. He’s been quoted several places:

I suppose if I were convinced that America is a safer place because I get hassled at the airport, I might put up with it. But I doubt it. I expect my story is similar to hundreds of thousands of people who are on this list who find themselves inconvenienced.

While Chad Kolton, a spokesman for the Terrorist Screening Center, says there are only about 400,000 people on that list — and most of them are foreigners — other sources disagree. Back in April, there were estimated to be 700,000 names on that list, last October it was estimated at over 860,000, and today the ACLU thinks the list probably tops 1,000,000. That’s one million. One out of every 304 Americans — minimum, since the list only includes names rather than unique identifiers. Even if the list does serve its intended purpose, there are too many names on it to be truly efficient.

So why is it that we only hear about prominent critics of the way the Global War on Terror is waged, and prominent Democrats mistakenly ending up on this list? Why is it we never hear about Republicans like, say, Larry Craig ending up on the list? He at least is accused of doing something questionable in an airport.

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  • bellisaurius

    Republicans making the list must not be news, as Ted Stevens and Don Young (both alaskans… hmmmm…) have said thay’ve popped up. (see wiki:

    It sounds like the false positives get a worse grilling than they need to (The Ted Kennedy one explained that terrorists will sometimes use names as a cover. Kind of silly, I know). All one should have to do is give something like a passport number, or have some other identity differentiating measure and be let on their way. I know it will still be longer for theose unfortunate folks who have names that won;t be removed (like osama bin laden or somesuch), but I don;t think would be too much if the added security is what I mentioned above.

  • DLS

    Actually, when I heard about this earlier today I thought what would be amusing would be for someone someday to be put on the watch list with the name George Bush.

  • RememberNovember

    Ted Stevens can take the bridge to nowhere instead.

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