Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Comes The Dawning

Excuse me for a minute while I chuckle.

Thanks. I needed that.

Just when I think that the universe has no concept of justice, that justice is just a figment of my imagination, something restores my idealism. That something today was actually two somethings, but both have to do with TSA terrorist watch list, which, like Topsy, is growing exponentially.

The first story I stumbled upon while taking a break from some paper work at the office I found at MSNBC's website:

The name of the Justice Department's former top criminal prosecutor turned up on the government's terror watch list.

This terrorism-era roster, which likely has caused thousands of innocent Americans to be questioned or searched, popped up with the name of former Assistant Attorney General Jim Robinson.

Robinson joined another mistaken-identity American and the American Civil Liberties Union Monday in calling for elimination of the list, which is designed to identify suspected terrorists.

Imagine that, a former top-dog at Justice suddenly appeared on that list, which makes flying difficult, if not impossible. Surely it's a mistake, right? Well, probably, but I'm sure Mr. Robinson quickly learned how difficult it was to get his name removed from that list. In fact, I'm sure he's also learned that it was damned near impossible, which would explain the the alliance with the ACLU.

But wait, there's more.

Mr. Robinson was not the only Very Important Person with that problem. A CNN reporter also has discovered that flying without a pat-down is no longer an option, according to this story at Raw Story. [Note: when I first saw the MSNBC story, this info was part of it, but it has since been excised, so it may or may not be accurate.]

The post-9/11 airline watch list that is supposed to keep terrorists off of airplanes has swelled to more than 1 million names, including at least one investigative reporter who had been critical of the Transportation Security Agency, which maintains the watch list.

CNN's Drew Griffin reported on the bloating of the watch list, which an ACLU count pegged at 1,001,308 names Wednesday afternoon. Griffin's is one of those names, he says.

"Coincidentally, this all began in May, shortly after I began a series of investigative reports critical of the TSA. Eleven flights now since May 19. On different airlines, my name pops up forcing me to go to the counter, show my identification, sometimes the agent has to make a call before I get my ticket," Griffin reported. "What does the TSA say? Nothing, at least nothing on camera. Over the phone a public affairs worker told me again I'm not on the watch list, and don't even think that someone in the TSA or anyone else is trying to get even."
[Emphasis added]

Well, now, suddenly that list and its impact on the civil liberties of the public is a topic worth discussing by those who thought they had some clout. Gentlemen, welcome to our world.

I'm not idealist enough to think that now there's going to be any change in the way the TSA or the Department of Homeland Security ("Uber Alles!") operates, or any change in the way the mainstream media is going to handle the way our civil liberties have been ripped from us through the manipulation by fear of the current government. I am, however, bitch enough to be grateful that at least some of those who have had more access to power than most of the rest of us have had to face the consequences of, if not their support, at least their craven acquiescence.

Perhaps it is necessary for one-at-a-time battles. If so, this is at least the start.


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Anonymous Anonymous said...

it took ted kennedy a while to get off the "terror watch list." i can't imagine being an airport security person and hassling not only a us senator, but one of the most recognizable. and they did it multiple times.

i don't see this changing any time soon though -- the gov't people can eventually get off it, and media people are screwed anyway since the TSA can take your laptop, copy your hard drive, just because they feel like it and no explanation needed.

great country we live in.

12:41 AM  

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