New Report Shows Secure Flight Still Undefined and Ineffective, ACLU Says Passenger Screening Program Not Ready for Launch

September 7, 2005 12:00 am

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WASHINGTON – The American Civil Liberties Union today noted that a report issued by the Justice Department’s Office of the Inspector General highlights continued problems with the controversial Secure Flight passenger-screening program. The report examines the inability of the Terrorist Screening Center, which consolidates and checks multiple-agency watchlists, to coordinate its efforts with the Transportation Security Administration: by the government’s own accounts, without this coordination the program cannot be effective.

Additionally, the non-partisan Government Accountability Office has consistently given the program poor reviews, effectively barring its launch until TSA can address privacy and efficacy concerns.

The following can be attributed to Timothy Sparapani, an ACLU Legislative Counsel:

“This report is the latest example that Secure Flight is a fundamentally flawed program that would jeopardize our privacy and security if launched. As the report stated, the Terrorist Screening Center is, ‘trying to plan for a program that has several major undefined parameters.’ That, in a nutshell, is why Secure Flight can’t move forward.

“Congress rightly blocked the launch of Secure Flight until TSA can demonstrate that the program is both effective and protective of our privacy. This report concludes that, on both those counts, TSA continues to fail. TSA should not rush to launch Secure Flight when even its partner organization, the FBI’s Terrorist Screening Center, believes TSA has not adequately designed the program. Such a stunning lack of interagency coordination must be resolved before TSA moves forward.

“The underlying premise of Secure Flight is that a potential terrorist will be on government watchlists – but if terrorists obtain ‘clean’ identities they will not be listed. And, even if terrorists are listed, this report shows that Secure Flight won’t be effective in stopping them.”

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