One Million Strong

The ACLU says the Transportation Security Administration's terrorist watch list hit one million names sometime over the weekend.  It's hard to see how a list that large could possibly be useful.

According to a recent public chat on the TSA website, nearly seven years after the September 11, 2001 attacks, the government is "in the process" of finally developing a way for innocent people to appeal their inclusion on the list.

CORRECTION:  The watch list is maintained by the Terrorist Screening Center, not by TSA.

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  • ||

    I can tell you exactly how the list got so large. The moment there is another terrorist attack on an airplane, God help the poor bastard who is responsible for the lists if the terrorists are not on the list. The natural response then if for the people at TSA to put everyone on the list and cover their asses.

  • ||

    teeheeheeheeheeheehee

    *snicker*

    hahahahahahaha

  • ||

    The natural response then if for the people at TSA to put everyone on the list and cover their asses.

    The only problem is that when the next highjacking does occur and, as you correctly point out, the perpetrator is on the list, the public outcry will amount to "but he was on the list, why didn't you stop him?"

  • ||

    The first thing that came into my head, as I was reading that sentence, was "And how many names have ever been removed from the list?"

  • ||

    Hugh,
    Aha. So the ideal would be to make the list big enough to look as if the TSAr is busting its ass, but not so big as to include actual terrorists.

  • ||

    The only problem is that when the next highjacking does occur and, as you correctly point out, the perpetrator is on the list, the public outcry will amount to "but he was on the list, why didn't you stop him?"

    Not my problem ...

  • ||

    It's hard to see how a list that large could possibly be useful.

    Do you mean for terrorism, or for other purposes?

  • Neu Mejican||

    A discussion on using large data-bases wisely.

    http://cscs.umich.edu/~crshalizi/weblog/581.html

    The short message is knowledge rich searching always beats knowledge poor searching.

    Data mining is just like any other kind of mining...you need to narrow down the field of your search to prevent dry holes.

  • ||

    Of what possible use is this list. How did it get to a million? Did they just add everyone named Osama?
    Just when I think that the TSA can't get any more stupid, they surprise me. They had Cat Stevens on this list. I wouldn't be surprised that if John Lennon was still alive, he'd be on the list.

  • ||

    So if 1 in 300 (about 300 million americans) are terrorists, is it safe to go to a baseball game with 40,000 people (and 132 or 133 terrorists)?

    Or one terrorist per every other flight?

  • ||

    "I wouldn't be surprised that if John Lennon was still alive, he'd be on the list."
    You believe that John Lennon is not on the list?? Interesting...

  • Junter Klops||

    I'd be all for this list if Kip Hawley and the rest of the terrorists at the TSA were put on it. It's ridiculous that those thieving TSA screeners aren't already in jail as it is.

  • Tym||

    Did they just add everyone named Osama?

    Basically yes. A terrorist uses an alias that is a common name, then everyone with that name is on the list. Everyone named James Smith and everyone named Gary Nelson is on the list. You cannot ever get off once on.

  • ||

    "Muhammad ALI? I'm not gonna fly on a plane with some guy named Muhammad Ali; are you nuts?"

  • Ben1||

    I find the list (and the associated screening hysteria) useful. It encourages me to drive, to get out and see the country, and to let the airlines, airports and other related industries manage as best they can without further financial support from me.

    In the meantime, I bought myself a high performance automobile, and have been having a blast zipping out to the east and west coasts as business requires.

    Commercial aircraft always seemed to me to have been designed for perfect human comfort. By engineers weighing under 100 lbs and possessed of only one arm and one leg. I can't say I actually miss flying. And, should I experience the urge to be stripped naked and anally probed, I have a beautiful SO of my own of whom I can make the request. No need for Brunhilda of the TSA to help out at all.

  • bill||

    I wonder how many are names like Joe Bloe and Jack Mehoff?

  • DJ Voton||

    I've been on the list for years because I have one of those common, not-at-all-Muslim sounding names, which, bizarrely, is considered suspicious. I was told I could get off the list by sending the government copies of 5 forms of identification. Who even has 5 forms of government-issued ID? Passport, drivers license, birth certificate, and...what else? I can still fly, but I can't check in on-line, and when I fly overseas, they give me an extra big hairy eyeball when I get back. Let 'em have their sad, pathetic little fun.

  • ||

    I'm really shocked that my grandparents, John and Jane White, can still fly. I'd think those names would be so common as to have shown up at some point...

  • ||

    You believe Imagine that John Lennon is not on the list?? Interesting...

    FTFY

  • LarryA||

    So if 1 in 300 (about 300 million Americans) are terrorists,

    Your number is off. The list is one million names, not one million people. Each name on the list restricts every person who shares that name.

    If (wild guess) the average name represents ten people, then the odds are 1 in 30, not 1 in 300.

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