Last year the ACLU estimated that number of names on the U.S. government's watch list (people requiring special scrutiny when traveling) had reached one million. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) said something like "oh no, not nearly so many..." They did say though they had a "terrorist watch list." Now they've apparently 'fessed up to the current number. USA Today reports
At least under the new regime they answer some questions. There is still nothing to suggest that a list so large, based on so many suspect sources of information, assembled by a huge, inefficient, self-referential bureaucracy, serves any purpose except to remind air travelers to be very afraid of the terra-ists.
The stories of ordinary harmless people who find their travel impeded still surface too frequently. Here's a recent one.
Scherfen is a veteran of 17 years in the U.S. military as a helicopter pilot. His wife, a naturalized citizen originally from Pakistan, sells books on Islam from their home. Guess someone thought that was a threat.
It would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to upgrade airports and hire personnel to implement a regulation that makes no sense. What's a small plane going to attack out there: a glacier? Alaskan pilots are furious and are pushing back through their legislature.
UPDATE: The link above went dead since this post went up, but the Fairbanks News Miner reports the same issues.
That would be too sensible for the massive collection of spooks and paranoid cranks now clustered in the security theater employment growth sector.