NEW GAO report on Terrorist Watch Lists

Daniel Cornwall writes “In light of the recent controversy over “no fly lists”, this report may be of interest to library staff and patrons:

Information Technology: Terrorist Watch Lists Should Be Consolidated to Promote Better Integration and Sharing. GAO-03-322, April 15.

I, for one, was surprised to learn that there are nine agencies maintaining 12 separate lists. While the report recommends that these lists should be consolidated and shared more widely, it does not address the problem of how to get mistakenly targeted individuals off the watch lists. Hopefully that will be addressed before a fully consolidated list goes nationwide to all law enforcement agencies.

For the record, as long as rational criteria are used and individuals have an appeals process to be removed from a watch list, I have no problem with terrorist watch lists. Had a consolidated list been in place before 9/11, a majority of the hijackers would have be caught and deported. I do object to repeated Kafkaesque screenings of people who must prove themselves harmless every time they fly.