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On the Alert | The Nation

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Christopher Hayes

Christopher Hayes

Nation editor-at-large and host of MSNBC’s All In with Chris Hayes.

On the Alert

The ACLU has announced the U.S. "Terrorist Watch List" is veering ever closer to the 1-million mark, reaching over 900,000 names this week (up from 500,000 this past June).

Despite the FBI's effort last year to clear some 100,000 records "related to people cleared of any nexus with terrorism," the list's dubious utility continues to remain something of a running joke. A sampler of names that have made it onto the list: Rep. John Lewis (D-Georgia), Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.), Yusuf Islam (Cat Stevens) and Evo Morales (Bolivian president).

Among the thousands of Americans that inadvertently ended up blacklisted, some have called airlines to complain, while others have gone the messier, more bureaucracy-ridden route to try and be officially removed. Meanwhile, Hasan Elahi, a Bangladeshi-born American whose name accidentally wound up on the list is using another method: posting his up-to-the-hour activities and location on the Internet via GPS and cell-phone. Pictures of him noodling at Au Bon Pain, receipts from his purchases at Wal-Mart--everything goes online. That way, he figures, the Pentagon will have no excuse to throw him in Guantanamo....

(You, too, can keep an eye on the dangerous character here.)

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