Saturday, 19 July 2008

Terrorist Watch List Hits One Million Names

Terrorist Watch List Hits One Million Names

The nation's terrorist watch list has hit one million names, according to a tally maintained by the ACLU based upon the government's own reported numbers for the size of the list.

"America's new million record watch list is a perfect symbol for what's wrong with this administration's approach to security: it's unfair, out-of-control, a waste of resources, treats the rights of the innocent as an afterthought, and is a very real impediment in the lives of millions of travelers in this country," said Barry Steinhardt, director of the ACLU Technology and Liberty Program. "It must be fixed without delay."

Controls on the watch lists called for by the ACLU included:
Due process.
A right to access and challenge data upon which listing is based.
Tight criteria for adding names to the lists.
Rigorous procedures for updating and cleansing names from the lists.
The ACLU called on the House Homeland Security Committee, during Thursday’s testimony of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Michael Chertoff, to exercise vigorous oversight of the many DHS programs, including the terrorist watch list, that endanger U.S. citizens’ privacy and civil liberties without increasing security. Tell Congress: Small, focused watch lists are better for civil liberties and for security.

The ACLU is also calling for the president -- if not this one then the next -- to issue an executive order requiring the lists to be reviewed and limited to only those for whom there is credible evidence of terrorist ties or activities. The review should be concluded within 3 months.

We have created an online form where victims of the watch list can tell us their stories, which will be collected and used -- with permission -- in various ways to advance our advocacy.

>> Tell your own stories

>> Learn more about the watch list.

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