Monday, March 17, 2008

How's That Terrorwatch List Working Out?

Not so well.

McClatchy has the bottom line:

The government's terror watchlist includes inaccurate and outdated information, increasing the risk that innocent people will be misidentified as terrorists while terrorists are overlooked, a government audit reported Monday.
Whodda thunk that giving control over this important task to a new unproven FBI department (created by Bush in 2003), The Terrorist Screening Center, would be prove so troublesome? Yes, the FBI's struggles to join the modern computer age have been legion (the $170 million-ish plus six years wasted on SAIC's* VCF software program, its well-documented inability to quickly share & disseminate info before & after 9/11, etc.) Surely they can run Filemaker Pro, right?

I'm being facetious. It's far more complicated. But if there's a special department dedicated to maintaining this list, why are we still having problems five years on? McClatchy offers this clue:
The Terrorist Screening Center oversees the watchlist, while the National Counterterrorism Center and the FBI recommend or "nominate" names for it.
Oh boy. We have "nominations" supplied by another new unproven department (also created by Bush in 2003), the NCTC, along with the FBI whose problems managing data I already touched on. To make matters worse, the NCTC falls under the purview of DNI Mike McConnell. Four other separate departments do too including The Office of the National Counterintelligence Executive, the National Intelligence Council, the DNI Special Security Center and the ungodly named Center for Security Evaluation (CSE)/National Intelligence Emergency Management Activity (NIEMA). The ODNI's organizational chart is so unwieldy that they tout themselves as an Information Sharing Environment -- a positively Orwellian moniker if there ever was one.

Chalk it up as another concept urgently needed to protect the American people completely cocked up by President Bush. Another fiasco to remember the next time Republicans claim theirs is the "security party."


++Tuesday update: The LA Times sez
"the FBI provided the government-wide terrorism watch list with incomplete, inaccurate and outdated information about suspects for almost three years.

As a result, many innocent people stayed on the terrorism watch list long after they were cleared of any wrongdoing, and real threats to national security were sometimes left off the list or not added in a timely manner..."
It boggles the mind.

*SAIC was allowed to walk away with $170 million even tho' they never provided anything close to a working product. Unsurprisingly, SAIC founder John Robert Beyster is a big time Republican contributor. His company employs an army of lobbyists.