Friday, August 22, 2008

Shocker: Flaws Found in U.S. Terrorist Watch List

Siobhan Gorman writes in The Wall Street Journal:

The government's main terrorist-watch-list system is hobbled by technology challenges, and the $500 million program designed to upgrade it is on the verge of collapse, according to a preliminary congressional investigation.

The database, which includes an estimated 400,000 people and as many as 1 million names, has been criticized for flagging ordinary Americans. Now, the congressional report finds that the system has problems identifying true potential terrorists, as well.

Among the flaws in the database, which was quickly built by Lockheed Martin Corp. in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, is its inability to do key-word searches. Instead, an analyst needs to rely on an indexing system to query the database, according to congressional investigators who learned of the issues from a whistleblower. Lockheed spokesman Tom Jurkowsky said he could not comment on a report he had not read.

Meanwhile, tens of thousands of "potentially vital" messages from the Central Intelligence Agency have not been included in the database, known as the Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment, or TIDE, congressional investigators found.

More here.


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