U.S. terrorist list hits 1 mln names

2008-07-15 07:08:21 GMT       2008-07-15 15:08:21 (Beijing Time)       Xinhua English

WASHINGTON, July 14 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. terrorist watch list now has 1 million names on it, partly due to the loose criteria for adding names to the list, a rights group said Monday.

"America's new million record watch list is a perfect symbol for what's wrong with this administration's approach to security," Barry Steinhardt, a spokesman for American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), said in a statement.

"It's unfair, out-of-control, a waste of resources, treats the rights of the innocent as an afterthought, and is a very real impediment in the lives of million of travelers in this country," he added.

The Inspector General of the Justice Department reported last year that the Terrorist Screening Center had over 700,000 names as of April 2007 and that the list was growing by an average of 20,000 names per month.

The watch list has become long and "bloated" naming several individuals who are probably not terrorists, Steinhardt said.

Nelson Mandela, the former president of South Africa, was on the watch list and only recently removed, and Democratic Senator Edward Kennedy was also on the list causing him trouble and delays when flying, he said.

Former Assistant Attorney General Jim Robinson also has his name on the list.

He believes his name matches that of someone who was put on the list in early 2005, and is routinely delayed while flying, despite having his own government top-secret security clearances renewed last year.

The ACLU also called for the Bush Administration or the next one to issue an executive order requiring the watch list to be reviewed and limited to only those for whom there is credible evidence of terrorist ties or activities.

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