Magazine article The American Conservative

Uncle Sam's Blacklist

Magazine article The American Conservative

Uncle Sam's Blacklist

Article excerpt

Ted Kennedy may be a threat to Americans' liberties, but he is not technically a terrorist. That might come as news to the FBI's Terrorist Screening Center, which included him--or someone with the same name--on its no-fly watch list.

Senators have ways of getting off of inconvenient lists. The rest of us are not so lucky. Even a former assistant attorney general--James K. Robinson, head of Justice's criminal division under President Clinton--has found that innocence is little defense. Robinson has top-secret security clearance, but every time he flies he's put through additional screening and delays. "I suppose if I were convinced that America is a safer place because I get hassled at the airport, I might put up with it," he says, "But I doubt it."

The American Civil Liberties Union estimates that there are as many as a million names on the watch list. The FBI takes issue with that: TSC spokesman Chad Colton tells the Associated Press that there are only 400,000 individuals on the list--though once aliases are included, the tally is indeed much higher. …

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