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7yr Old Boy Still on Terrorist Watch List. "I don't understand why I am a terrorist," he says.
The airlines thought John, who goes by Jack, was on a terror watch list.
Agents were dumbfounded when they looked over the counter to see the suspected terrorist -- a 2-year-old St. Paul toddler dozing in his stroller with a pacifier hanging from his mouth.
Two years later, the family was stopped by airport security again, owing to Jack's common name. The Andersons have since given up flying, waiting for federal authorities to fix a database that has ensnared more than 30,000 Americans.
Prompted by cases such as Jack's, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., is announcing legislation today to minimize airport delays and correct other problems caused by the watch list.
After the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the FBI created a consolidated watch list to help identify potential terrorists. The list contains more than 1 million records on 400,000 individuals and is often used at airports and borders.
A Government Accountability Office report said the watch list "enhanced U.S. counter terrorism efforts."
October's report said the list created "the opportunity to collect and share information on known or appropriately suspected terrorists with law enforcement agencies and the intelligence community."
Klobuchar acknowledged that it's important to have a watch list to help gather information. "I am not opposed to it, but we need to use the technology available to reduce the number of misidentifications."
The list has received criticisms from groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union as innocent people go through increased scrutiny because their name resembles another on the list.
Not every John Anderson, Jim Smith or Susan Jones has problems. Passengers are stopped because of some combination of factors. . .
. . . Two years later, during another flight check-in at the Twin Cities airport, the Andersons hit another snag. They were once again allowed to fly, but the security checks frightened Jack as airport officials stared at him in disbelief.
"After that trip, he expressed the fact that he didn't want to fly anymore," Christine Anderson said. "He just kept asking me, 'Why am I on the terrorist watch list? I don't understand why I am a terrorist.'"
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