Drew Griffin, a CNN reporter, has been on the TSA watch list for quite some time now. He has been taking steps to get off the list, but they have proved fruitless. As to why he is on the list, the main reason seems to be that he was critical of the TSA. As to why he cannot get off the list, it might be the nature of all bureaucracies: wrongs are inflicted immediately, righting wrongs takes time. Or perhaps the people in charge are acting out of spite and leaving him on the list as some sort of punishment.
The list has, according to the ACLU, grown to over one million names. There is some dispute over how many people are on the list, however. This is because some individuals are listed under many names. The current estimate is that there are a bit under half a million people on the list (under various names).
According to CNN there are many people on the list who have been trying to get their names removed for quite some time. Many of these people are unsure as to why they ended up on the list and numerous people, such as Griffin, certainly do not seem to belong on it. The ACLU provides numerous examples of people who are on the list. They range from decorated soldiers to members of Congress. Clearly just the sort of people who are a danger to America.
Given that the list is supposed to be a vital instrument in the war on terror, the TSA should do a better job making sure that it is accurate. After all, if there are people on the list who do not belong, time and resources will be wasted dealing with the innocent and this makes it easier for the real terrorists. Further, it creates needless problems for the people who should not be on the list.
The TSA has taken some action. However, this action seems to mainly to claim that the airlines should be doing a better job with the list. However, the last time I checked, Delta was not a federal law enforcement or security agency. As such, passing the buck to the airlines is unreasonable and it is the job of the TSA to provide proper lists. Apparently the TSA plans to do something about the problems-next year.
Of course, the list is just one example of the serious failures of the Bush administration. I acknowledge the importance of effective security (there are, obviously enough, people who want to kill us) and the value of effective lists. However, the Bush administration has failed to deliver that security and that list. Instead, it has squandered billions of dollars, created vast bureaucracies and caused innocent people needless problems. The broken state of American security is outlined in a recent study, lest anyone think I am simply saying that the sky is falling.
Some will no doubt suspect that I am just taking cheap shots at Bush. However, my real motivation is not to attack him and his minions. My motivation is that I want my country to be safe and Bush has failed us horribly in this regard. The next President will inherit one heck of a security mess and will need to sort out this situation in order to protect America. I hope that he is up to the job but I worry that the mess will simply continue until something horrible happens.