The list includes people who are not a threat (like Evo Morales, president of Bolivia, Saddam Hussein, and 14 of the 19 dead 9/11 hijackers). It includes numerous common names that are useless for screening purposes--Gary Smith, John Williams, and Robert Johnson are on the list. Kroft spoke with 12 Robert Johnsons, and all of them said they are detained almost every time they try to fly.
Worse yet, it doesn't include the names of some of the most dangerous living terrorists:
The 11 British suspects recently charged with plotting to blow up airliners with liquid explosives were not on it, despite the fact they were under surveillance for more than a year.I'd say that particular name is well known outside of the government now, Ms. Berrick.
The name of David Belfor who now goes by Dahud Sala Hudine, is not on the list, even though he assassinated someone in Washington, D.C., for former Iranian leader Ayatollah Khomeini. This is because the accuracy of the list meant to uphold security takes a back seat to overarching security needs: it could get into the wrong hands. "The government doesn't want that information outside the government," says Cathy Berrick, director of Homeland Security investigations for the General Accounting Office.
The TSA has allegedly been trying to fix the list for three years, spending $144 million to do so, but there is "nothing tangible yet."
This is staggering incompetence. Kip Hawley is still an idiot.
UPDATE (October 5, 2006): I second Tim Lee's recommendation of Jim Harper's commentary on what's wrong with watch lists.