ACLU calls for lists to be scrapped and for DHS to approach airline security in reasonable and effective manor
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WASHINGTON, DC – In response to today’s Wall Street Journal article on the flaws found in the terrorist watch lists by a preliminary congressional investigation, the American Civil Liberties Union calls on all presidential candidates, as well as current President Bush, to pledge to put a moratorium on the use of the lists unless major overhauls are made. The investigation found the current database system beleaguered with flaws and technological hurdles. Not only that, but the program being designed to replace the current database is facing similar systemic difficulties, while the contractors hired for its creation are struggling to move toward completion.
“The time for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to scrap their current approach to airline security is well overdue, now that the Terrorist Screening Center’s terrorist watch lists have passed one million entries,” said Barry Steinhardt, director of the ACLU Technology and Liberty Program. “The American people would be comforted if our presidential candidates denounced these burdensome practices. Senators McCain and Obama should declare a moratorium on the use of the lists unless drastic measures are taken to improve their accuracy, and protect innocent Americans hoping to travel without burden.”
The ACLU calls for the following measures to be taken:
i) a dramatic downsizing of the terrorist watch lists to contain names limited to only those for whom there is credible evidence of terrorist ties or activities;
ii) implementation of a true redress process with full due process rights is created so that innocent people who find themselves mistakenly on the lists can be taken off - and stay off;
iii) a complete overhaul of the computer databases used to house the watch lists.