Thursday, May 07, 2009

Like We Didn't Know

Now here's a real shocker: the terrorist watch list kept by the federal government is defective in that it contains the names of people who shouldn't be on it and doesn't contain the names of those who should. From the NY Times:

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has incorrectly kept nearly 24,000 people on a terrorist watch list on the basis of outdated or sometimes irrelevant information, while missing people with genuine ties to terrorism who should have been on the list, according to a Justice Department report released Wednesday.

The report said the mistakes posed a risk to national security, because of the failure to flag actual terrorism suspects, and an unnecessary nuisance for nonsuspects who may be questioned at traffic stops or kept from boarding airplanes.
[Emphasis added]

Unnecessary nuisance? Oh, please! Enough with the euphemisms. If an individual is on any kind of list kept by the federal government it is more than just a nuisance, particularly when that list has the magical word "terrorist" attached to it. Those on that list trying to fly or to enter or leave the country are sometimes faced with more than a "delay." They are sequestered, questioned, often detained/incarcerated until matters are "sorted out." If stopped for a broken tail light by the local constabulary, it might just result in handcuffs and several days (usually longer)in the local jail, after which, without knowledgeable counsel, it might (and has) resulted in a transfer to the federal holding cells until a magistrate is available to look at the matter.

And it's not like this list is any different than any other F.B.I. list, especially since the F.B.I. has merged some of its old lists in with the watch list:

One of the biggest problems identified in the report was the use of outdated information, or material unconnected to terrorism, to keep people on the bureau’s own terror watch list, which is incorporated in the consolidated list. The report, examining nearly 69,000 referrals to the F.B.I. list that were either brought or processed by the bureau, found that 35 percent of those people, both Americans and foreigners, remained on the list despite inadequate justification.

“Many of these watch-listed records were associated with outdated terrorism case classifications or case classifications unrelated to terrorism,” the report said.
[Emphasis added]

Those on that list may find that they can't get a security clearance for a new job with a contractor because they helped assemble giant puppets or hung pink ribbons on the White House fence. They may also find out that they can't get a mortgage because that kind of information is part of a file that somehow (who knows?) follows them wherever they go.

That's bad and it's unjustifiable and it's clearly unconstitutional. It's remarkable evidence of a government that chose cowardice over freedom. But here's the kicker: it didn't and still doesn't frickin' work. Names of people who really might harm the US didn't make it on the list on more than one occasion. Here's just an example.

In one case, for instance, a Special Forces soldier was investigated and ultimately convicted of stealing some 16,500 rounds of ammunition, C-4 explosives and other matériel from Afghanistan and shipping them to the United States in what investigators suspected might be the makings of a domestic terrorist plot. Yet the suspect was not placed on the watch list until nearly five months after the investigation opened.

But he was Special Forces and probably white, so I guess there was nothing to worry about.

I don't know what disgusts me more: that we have such loons running this show or that we are allowing them to do so.

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Blogger Cosa Nostradamus said...

Long as Cheney's on it.

5:16 AM  
Anonymous bo said...

"I've got a little list, I've got a little list.
And they'd none of them be missed, they'd none of them be missed...." [/Lord High Executioner, Mikado.

Got me own list, too. :)

5:51 AM  
Anonymous PeasantParty said...


Over the Rainbow...

Skies are Blue!

I wish they would replace the list keepers. Maybe someday they will find the real perps that should not be able to enter this country. Until then, all we can do is wish upon a star and click our heels together. Surely they know by now that the Oz behind the curtain is gone. Rove and Cheney no longer matter.

5:55 AM  
Anonymous JayDenver said...

Making a list
Not checking it twice
Don't care if
You're naughty or nice

is tracking
you down

They tap you when you're talking
They log all your mistakes
Don't care if you are bad or good,
If you're good you catch no breaks.

Better not cry
Better not shout
will never
let you out.

Greetings of the Season
from jolly old Saint Dick....

6:06 AM  
Blogger Woody (Tokin Librul/Rogue Scholar/ Helluvafella!) said...

If the Obamanauts had ANY of the courage they claimed would animate their 'administration,' they'd have already introduced legislation to repeal the PATRIOT Act, and break-up the HSA.

That's not gonna happen, and for just about the same reasons why the Obamanistas won't prosecute the Bushevik war-crimes.

Most Murkins have already decided they'd rather be 'safe' than 'free,' somehow misunderstanding that they can ONLY be free, never safe...

8:12 AM  

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