The Traveler's Journal  
Press Releases - The Traveler's Journal

Informative Press Releases for Travel

Press Release information you can use!


The following information is provided by the travel supplier or its public relations representative. The Traveler's Journal can accept no responsibility for the accuracy or validity of any material in this section.

U.S. Terror List Now Exceeds 900,000 Names;


ACLU “Watch List Counter” Spotlights Absurd Bloat

WASHINGTON – With the size of U.S. terrorist watch lists growing to absurd proportions – now in excess of 900,000 names – the American Civil Liberties Union today unveiled a new “ACLU Watch List Counter” intended to make vivid just how bloated and dysfunctional those lists have become. 

 “At the current rate of growth, the U.S. watch lists will contain a million records by July.  If there were a million terrorists in this country, our cities would be in ruins,” said Barry Steinhardt, director of the ACLU’s Technology and Liberty Program.  “The absurd bloating of the terrorist watch lists is yet another example of how incompetence by our security apparatus threatens our rights without offering any real security.”

The new counter features a rolling, odometer-style display with a real-time readout showing how many individuals are on the list at a given moment.  The figures are extrapolated from a September 2007 report by the Inspector General of the Department of Justice, which reported that the Terrorist Screening Center had over 700,000 names in its database as of April 2007, and that the list was growing by an average of over 20,000 records per month.  As of today, the list stands at approximately 917,000 names. 

“Homeland Security’s handling of the watch lists is typical of this administration’s blundering approach to the war on terror,” said ACLU Senior Legislative Counsel Tim Sparapani.  “Create sprawling new systems for sifting through the population, throw an indiscriminately broad range of names into the mix, fairly or not, and treat the rights of innocent people as an afterthought.”

The watch lists are used for a growing array of purposes, most notably for subjecting domestic airline passengers to additional screening (and often far more intense law enforcement scrutiny), selecting individuals for scrutiny and interrogation at the nation’s borders, and for excluding people from the country entirely. 

Along with its watch list counter, the ACLU published a sampling of some “unusual suspects” – individuals, famous and ordinary, who have found themselves trapped on U.S. watch lists.  For example, Sen. Edward Kennedy, Georgia Congressman John Lewis, Alaska Congressman Don Young, and Yusuf Islam (the pop star formerly known as Cat Stevens) have been caught up by these lists, as have ordinary Americans with common names such as Robert Johnson, Gary Smith, and John Williams. 

“If we are to use watch lists, they must be subject to tight checks and balances, including due process, a right to access and challenge data, tight criteria for adding names to the lists, and rigorous procedures for cleansing names from the lists,” said Steinhardt.

The ACLU Watch List Counter is online at

# # #

[Back to Press Releases Main]