Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Making the A-List

Thousands of innocent Americans have been unable to get on airliners because Uncle Sam misidentified them as terrorists.

Deborah Sherman of television station KUSA in Denver interviewed 20 people in Colorado who all share the name "John Thompson."

All of them report trouble getting on airplanes.

There is an actual John Thompson on the terror watch list -- a member of the Ulster Defense Reiment in northern Ireland.

The rest fall victim to the government's No Fly List.

The Justice Department's inspector general says a good 38% of the list is inaccurate or out of date.

There doesn't seem to be any real order or planning with the list. Just a bunch of names. And if an airline finds a passenger who matches a name on the list -- he's not supposed to be on the plane.

KUSA found that while people snagged by false matches are forced to arrive hours early at airports to be cleared, terrorists on the list are still getting on airplanes. A new program to fix those problems, called Secure Flight, has cost taxpayers $200 million so far and may leave participating passengers vulnerable to identity theft.

The list is nearing a million names. Eventually, Washington may be able to keep us all safe from terrorists on planes -- simply by not letting any of us fly. (KUSA/HT: IRE)

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