Articles

The Bungled thicket of Names and Bueracratic Incompetance that is the FBI Terror Watch List

In stupidity, war on terror on May 8, 2009 by Editor Z

The subject of the FBI Terror Watch list that is supposed to serve as a way to thwart the boarding of suspected terrorists on board has been controversial in the past years. Now a new assesment by the U.S Justice Department says that the terror watch list is not only keeping people on it who pose no threat, but don’t have the names of those who do present a threat to national security. This is no surprising revelation. This compiling of names being done in this fashion not only endangers civil liberties and gives only a facade of safety, but creates thickets of bureaucratic red tape that costs us both liberty and security.

New York Times:

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The Federal Bureau of Investigation has incorrectly kept nearly 24,000 people on a terrorist watch list on the basis of outdated or sometimes irrelevant information, while missing people with genuine ties to terrorism who should have been on the list, according to a Justice Department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

Here are some other basic findings of the report:

By the beginning of 2009, the report said, this consolidated government watch list comprised about 400,000 people, recorded as 1.1 million names and aliases, an exponential growth from the days before the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

One of the biggest problems identified in the report was the use of outdated information, or material unconnected to terrorism, to keep people on the bureau’s own terror watch list, which is incorporated in the consolidated list.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.

Potentially even more problematic were the cases of people who were not listed despite evidence of terrorist ties.

The inspector general looked at a sampling of 216 F.B.I. terrorism investigations and found that in 15 percent of them, a total of 35 subjects were not referred to the list even though they should have been.

In response to the report, the FBI states they have taken steps to rectify the situation by implementing several measures recommended to deal with this. But after the way the FBI and the farcical Department of Homeland Security have conducted themselves, I’ll believe it when an investigation or audit brings forth facts that state it.

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