Homeland Security Chief: Terror List Isn't So Long

Feds to take over airline passenger screening from next year
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 23, 2008 3:56 AM CDT
The terrorist watch list is far shorter than the ACLU claims, according to the Secretary for Homeland Security.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – The terrorist watch list isn't the million-name behemoth it’s been reported as, the Homeland Security chief says. Only 2,500 people are on the no-fly list, according to Michael Chertoff, and just 10% of them are US citizens. Less than 16,000 people are on another, lower-level threat list, which permits flying. A new program is aimed at cutting down name mix-ups, CNN reports.

Under the Secure Flight program, starting next year, the government will take over watch list screening from the airlines. Travelers will be required to provide their full name, date of birth, and gender when making reservations and Homeland Security will check the names against their database. The ACLU welcomed the new privacy protections but said the "bloated" list would still cause needless hassle for countless Americans.