CNN reporter criticizes TSA, finds self on terror watch list
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."
The TSA, which is a part of the Department of Homeland Security, said Griffin's name wasn't even on the watch list, and the agency blamed the airlines for the delays the reporter experienced. The airlines, on the other hand, said they were simply following a list provided by TSA.
While it wouldn't be much of a stretch for plenty of people to believe the TSA would exercise its revenge via watch-list meddling, an agency spokesman insists that just isn't the case.
"So if there's any thought or shadow of a thought that TSA somehow put you on a watch list because of your reporting," spokesman Christopher White said, "it is absolutely fabricated."
This video is from CNN's American Morning, broadcast July 16, 2008.