US 'no-fly' list defended

Supporters hit back after rights group condemns controversial "terror" register.

    Critics of the terrorism watch list say it
    is bloated and unfair [GALLO/GETTY]

    The group called for changes - including tightening criteria for adding names, giving travellers a right to challenge their inclusion, and improving procedures for taking wrongly included names off the list.

    Barry Steinhardt, ACLU's technology director, said the list illustrated the US administration's approach to security was "unfair, out-of-control [and] a waste of resources" which " treats the rights of the innocent as an afterthought".

    List defended

    In his comments to Al Jazeera, Gartenstein-Ross, whose think tank was founded shortly after the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Centre, defended the controversial list.

    "It was put in place mainly because of what we saw on 9/11," he said, refering to the World Trade Centre attacks, at which time the "no-fly" list contained just 16 names.

    "Two of the hijackers were known by the CIA to be involved in terrorist activity, but there was no co-ordination between different branches of government, and security, so they got in."

    Gartenstein-Ross, though, agreed the list needed to be reviewed.

    "People who are a threat need to be on there, not people who might have made comments critical of the US," he told Al Jazeera.

    "Often Muslim scholars or well known personalities have criticised the US in their work, and although they don’t pose a threat, they have been stopped at US airports."

    He said: "It's not an issue of getting rid of the list, the list is needed – It's an issue of making it more streamlined."

    The administration of George Bush, the US president, has called the list one of its most effective tools implemented since the World Trade Centre attacks.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    How different voting systems work around the world

    How different voting systems work around the world

    Nearly two billion voters in 52 countries around the world will head to the polls this year to elect their leaders.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    The great plunder: Nepal's stolen treasures

    The great plunder: Nepal's stolen treasures

    How the art world's hunger for ancient artefacts is destroying a centuries-old culture. A journey across the Himalayas.