Last night, 60 Minutes did a story about the No Fly List. They obtained a copy of the March list which has 44,000 names on it, including Osama bin Laden with strange spellings, 14 of the 9/11 hijackers, Saddam Husein and other dead people, and doesn’t even include another list of 75,000 people who should be pulled aside for additional questioning. There are also several international dignitaries like Nabih Berri, the head of the Lebanese
parliament who recently met with Condoleezza Rice and Evo Morales, the president of Bolivia.
Jack Cloonan, a former FBI agent, says in the headlong rush to get a list, they forgot
quality control. "And, we forgot what this was about. This is to
prevent an Islamic terrorist who is associated with al Qaeda from
getting on a plane. It lacks efficiency and, it makes us, look
ineffective and ill equipped"
60 Minutes went on to discuss the aggravations suffered by people with the same names as people on the list, for instance, men named Robert Johnson. CBS found twelve of them for the show. All had been subjected to long delays, humiliation and, in one case, a strip search. Having on a couple of occasions been subjected to little-old-lady-as-terrorist scrutiny I certainly sympathize.
The most outrageous part of the whole thing is:
some of the some of most dangerous terrorists never even end up on the
No Fly List, because the intelligence agencies that supply the names
don’t want them circulated to airport employees in foreign countries
for fear that they could end up in the hands of the terrorists.
"They’re not given all of the names for security reasons because
the government doesn’t want to have that information outside of the
So we have a list of thousands of people we can harass, but the people most likely to be terrorists are not on the list because, what? The government doesn’t want them to know they are terrorists? The government doesn’t want them to know the government knows they are terrorists? The government wants another incident? Does anyone remember Catch 22?
Much of the time when I have things to say about healthcare, Social Security, politics, etc., I realize that real change depends on changing our electoral system to get corporate lobbyists out of power. But I can’t imagine that anyone other than terrorists could profit from this mess. You can watch the show here.