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No-Fly To Be Cleaned; Secure Flight Delayed [View All]

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Ian David Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-21-07 12:15 PM
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No-Fly To Be Cleaned; Secure Flight Delayed
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The airport security watchlists that a few short years ago were so secret the government wouldn't acknowledge they even existed now being cleaned of erroneous listings, a top Homeland Security official told Congress Wednesday.

Additionally, the long-delayed, beleaguered upgrade to the current watchlist checking by airlines -- first known as CAPPS II then Secure Flight -- won't be deployed until sometime in 2008, Transportation Security Administration chief Kip Hawley said. TSA is mandated by Congress to fix the current system. The TSA has labored to find a way to have government agents, rather than airline computer systems, compare travelers to the lists. But the logistics of connecting airline databases to the government's system combined with successive privacy scandals over the project's secret use of airline data and dreams of using private data sources to verify and rate travelers' risk has stymied the program since first announced in 2002.

The watchlists -- which include a list of persons not allowed to board a plane (No-Fly list) and a list of people who must get extra screening before being allowed on a domestic flight (selectee) have notoriously snared innocent civilians with common names like Robert Johnson and not included the names of terrorists known by intelligence agencies, which don't want airline employees to have the names for fear they will be leaked.

As of last March, the lists totaled some 119,000 names, according to 60 Minutes, which obtained a copy of the list. At that time, the head of the Terrorist Screening Center -- the entity responsible for maintaining the government's centralized watchlist from which the TSA's lists are derived said they were constantly cleaning the lists. It's really unclear then what exactly Hawley was talking about? Is TSA looking over the list, then going back to the Screening Center which then has to coordinate with originating intelligence agencies? Or is the TSA just making its own whitelist and cleaning out the junk data fed to it from the government's central watchlist?

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