The U.S. government now has more than a million people on its terrorism watch list, according to an ACLU tally, said Mike Nizza in The New York Times’ The Lede blog, and even the Justice Department thinks the list is “outdated and inaccurate.” That might explain why one former top Justice official, Clinton-era assistant attorney general Jim Robinson, is among those now hassled at airport security.
Robinson's high security clearance, said Bridget Magnus in The Moderate Voice blog, gave him “access to nuclear secrets,” but not passenger aircraft? The list is clearly too large to be efficient, but it’s also a little suspicious that it seems to incorrectly flag “prominent Democrats” and U.S. critics so often.
“I’m on it,” too, said Robert Spencer in the Jihad Watch blog, but I’m “willing to put up with a bit of inconvenience in support of anti-terror efforts.” And if we really want to make the terrorist hunt more efficient, we should stop preventing security agents from giving “special scrutiny to members of groups that are more likely than others to pose an actual terror threat.”
I guess we should all be happy that seven years after 9/11, said Radley Balko in Reason’s Hit & Run blog, the government says it “is ‘in the process’ of finally developing a way for innocent people to appeal their inclusion on the list.”
For the record, the FBI’s Terrorist Screening Center says there are a million records but only 400,000 names on the list, said Michael Grabell in Pro Publica. Still, at 400,000 names, “that’s one terrorist for every 16,775 people in the world.” And it may be small comfort to “Nelson Mandela, Sen. Ted Kennedy, federal air marshals, and lots of people named Robert Johnson” who have been needlessly detained.