Jul 07 2008

ACLU Marks Addition of One Millionth Name to Terrorist Watchlists

The massive U.S. terror watchlists will soon add their one millionth name and the ACLU will mark the day with an event on July 14th at the National Press Club involving innocent individuals who have been wrongly matched to the terrorist watchlists. The ACLU gets the one millionth number from a Department of Justice Inspector general report that said the watchlists included 700,000 names in April 2007 and the lists were growing by 20,000 names per month.

The Transportation Security Administration recently stated on its blog, “While the exact number of ‘no-flys’ is secret, there are many, many less than 500, 000.” The agency did not point to any documentation, merely asking the public to believe its numbers. The agency also did not estimate the number of individuals on the “selectee” list.

The Terrorist Screening Center maintains two terrorist watchlists, the “no fly” and “selectee” lists. Individuals on the “no fly” lists are deemed too dangerous to fly by the U.S. government. Individuals on the “selectee” lists must endure more invasive security screening before they are allowed to fly by the U.S. government. How individual names are added to the list is unknown. The government claims there is a redress process for individuals who are “mistakenly matched” to the watchlists, but it is cumbersome and opaque.

A number of innocent individuals including a nun, Senator Ted Kennedy, and former presidential candidate John Anderson have all been wrongly deemed suspects. Have you been caught in the watchlist web? Tell us your story. E-mail jph AT papersplease DOT org