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Nothing To Fear But Your Intrusive Government Scaring You

By Jesse Taylor
Thursday, July 17, 2008 0:35 EDT
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imageMore competent totalitarian creeping, please.

The post-9/11 airline watch list that is supposed to keep terrorists off of airplanes has swelled to more than 1 million names, including at least one investigative reporter who had been critical of the Transportation Security Agency, which maintains the watch list.

CNN’s Drew Griffin reported on the bloating of the watch list, which an ACLU count pegged at 1,001,308 names Wednesday afternoon. Griffin’s is one of those names, he says.

“Coincidentally, this all began in May, shortly after I began a series of investigative reports critical of the TSA. Eleven flights now since May 19. On different airlines, my name pops up forcing me to go to the counter, show my identification, sometimes the agent has to make a call before I get my ticket,” Griffin reported. “What does the TSA say? Nothing, at least nothing on camera. Over the phone a public affairs worker told me again I’m not on the watch list, and don’t even think that someone in the TSA or anyone else is trying to get even.”

Now, to put the ACLU report in context, the number of people we’re watching as potential terrorists and/or aiders and abettors of that dark practice (that we know of) is equal to about 69% of our armed forces. The terrorist watchlist is the sixth largest active military force on the face of the planet – and that’s not even including all the terrorists who aren’t on the watchlist.

This would almost be more acceptable if it were simply a New Deal-like make-work program – anyone who needs a job can just run his or her fellow citizens through metal detectors for $9.75 an hour and benefits (after a year on the job, of course). As it is, it’s largely functioning as a costly irritant, ensuring that we get periodic news stories on its ridiculousness and serving to make me rethink the wisdom of elastic waist pants so that I don’t have to crabwalk through the metal detector trying to hold my pants up.

Of course, watch this guy be a terrorist sleeper anyway. The pretty ones always are.

Jesse Taylor
Jesse Taylor
Jesse Taylor is an attorney and blogger from the great state of Ohio. He founded Pandagon in July, 2002, and has also served on the campaign and in the administration of former Ohio Governor Ted Strickland. He focuses on politics, race, law and pop culture, as well as the odd personal digression when the mood strikes.
 
 
 
 
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