Congratulations to our Millionth Terrorist!
The U.S terrorist watch list has hit one million names. I sure hope we’re giving our millionth terrorist a prize of some sort.
Who knew that a million people are terrorists. Why, there are only twice as many burglars in the U.S. And fifteen times more terrorists than arsonists.
Is this idiotic, or what?
Some people are saying fix it, but there seems to be no motivation to do so. I’m sure the career incentives aren’t aligned that way. You probably get promoted by putting people on the list. But taking someone off the list…if you’re wrong, no matter how remote that possibility is, you can probably lose your career. This is why in civilized societies we have a judicial system, to be an impartial arbiter between law enforcement and the accused. But that system doesn’t apply here.
Kafka would be proud.
EDITED TO ADD (7/16): More information:
There are only 400,000 on it, and 95 percent are not U.S. “persons.” (Persons = citizens plus others with a legal right to be in the U.S.)
The “million” number refers to records. The difference is a result of listing several different aliases or spellings for a suspected terrorist.
“That is not the same as 1 million names or 1 million individuals,” Mr. Kolton said. “It’s a little bit frustrating because I feel like they are getting away with muddying up the terms.”
Not that 400,000 terrorists is any less absurd.
Screening and law enforcement agencies encountered the actual people on the watch list (not false matches) more than 53,000 times from December 2003 to May 2007, according to a Government Accountability Office report last fall.
Okay, so I have a question. How many of those 53,000 were arrested? Of those who were not, why not? How many have we taken off the list after we’ve investigated them?
EDITED TO ADD (7/17): Bob Blakely runs the numbers.
EDITED TO ADD (8/13): The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart on the subject.
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