According to an article on the Propublica site, the ACLU is reportiong that the watch list has now reached one million names. (via Patrick) This is the same watch list that Naomi Wolf so eloquently spoke about in the video I posted the other day.
The American Civil Liberties Union held a news conference this morning to commemorate what it says is the addition of the millionth name to the nation’s terrorist watch list. The number is a calculation based on a 2007 Justice Department inspector general report, which said the database had 700,000 records and was growing by an average of 20,000 a month.
Of course the FBI denies this. Chad Kolton, spokesman for the FBI’s Terrorist Screening Center, says the figure of one million is far in excess of the actual 400,000 he admits are listed. I wonder if he was able to say that with a straight face; to me it sounds like a sick joke. Mr. Kolton defends the program claiming that it has enabled law enforcement personell to exercise front-line preventative measures in the war on terror.
That large net ensnares many innocent travelers, leading to an erosion of civil liberties, the ACLU argues. People flagged by the watch list have reported having to go through extra screening or having to answer numerous questions to prove they are who they say they are. Others have been prevented from getting on planes.
Personally, I'm more concerned with the government's over-reaching policies than I am about another terrorist attack. Of course we need reasonable policies in place to protect people, but it seems to me that since 9/11, the federal government has gone too far.
What do you think?