Department Of Homeland Security Inspector General Report Underscores Flaws In System For Settling Watch List Disputes

October 9, 2009 12:00 am

Media Contact
125 Broad Street
18th Floor
New York, NY 10004
United States

Report Confirms That Program Lacks Necessary Due Process And Oversight, Says ACLU

CONTACT: (212) 549-2666;

WASHINGTON – The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) inspector general today issued a report stating that the agency’s process for clearing the names of travelers who have been mistakenly placed on government watch lists provides little or no relief for most travelers and is plagued by delays and inadequate and insecure information technology. The report further concludes that some aspects of the program, the Traveler Redress Inquiry Program (TRIP), lack oversight, and that in some cases the program’s redress procedures lack necessary due process protections.

The following can be attributed to Christopher Calabrese, legislative counsel for the ACLU:

“The inspector general’s report reveals that DHS is promising travelers that their watch list problems are solved, while privately admitting that airlines don’t use the so-called ‘clear’ lists that would allow innocent travelers onto their flights. According to the report, DHS officials frequently write to tell travelers their underlying data problems have been solved without being able to ensure that is true. Because of outmoded information technology systems, the method for clearing the names of people who pose no threat to national security from watch lists is plagued by delays, and DHS can’t even monitor how many cases it resolves.

“Also disturbing is that fact that, in some cases, DHS has completely turned its back on any possibility of resolving disputes over the list in a neutral fashion. Under the current system, the same agents who put someone on a watch list are the final arbitrators of whether to take them off.”

Sign up to be the first to hear about how to take action.

Learn More About the Issues in This Press Release