A U.S. terror watch list has reportedly passed 1 million records which correspond with about 400,000 people. The American Civil Liberties Union issued a press release — which can be found between the lines below — saying that number was far too high to be effective, and offering suggestions for fixing it.
The terror watch list is overseen by the FBI through a Terrorist Screening Center. President Bush ordered the current list in September 2003. The watch list includes suspected terrorists or people suspected of having links to terrorists. Numerous government agencies use the list for security screenings. There are about 50,000 individuals included on the Transportation Security Administration “no-fly” or “selectee” lists that are subject to travel bans, arrest or additional screening.
Former Assistant Attorney General Jim Robinson — the Justice Department’s former top criminal prosecutor — erroneously appeared on the terror watch list. Other embarrassments to the list include Senator Edward Kennedy, Rep. John Lewis, a 1960’s civil rights leader, Yusuf Islam (formerly known as Cat Stevens), small children, former presidential candidates, Americans with common names, a State Department Diplomat, Pentagon employees, Naval officers and other military personnel and on and on. The watch list is still not being managed well.
Of the almost 400,000 individuals included on the watch list, according to the Terror Screening Center, approximately 95 percent are not U.S. citizens or residents. Aliases, fake passports and fake birth dates all have seperate entries on the watch list, bringing the total number of records to more than 1 million.