According to a recent government audit, the terrorism watch list is fraught with inaccurate and outdated information and increases the risk of innocent people being misidentified, while real terrorists pass through security checkpoints with ease.
The audit by Justice Department Inspector General Glenn Fine helps explain why innocent travelers are found on the terror watch list.
Although federal agents believe the watch list is an invaluable way to discover terrorists, innocent people and even government officials, like Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., have repeatedly been blocked from boarding planes.
The watch list was established in September 2003 to provide law enforcement and intelligence officials a comprehensive database of terrorism suspects. The Terrorist Screening Center oversees the watch list, and the National Counterterrorism Center and the FBI recommend or “nominate” names for it.
In the report conducted by Justice Department Inspector General Glenn Fine Mr. Fine said that federal agencies created procedures to spot errors, but that it didn’t always remove outdated records from the watch list.
Complicating the problem, agents in the FBI’s 56 field offices often provided incomplete or inaccurate information when “nominating” names, he said.
Click here to see an unclassified version of the audit.