Watchlist Cleaning Law

Former South African President Nelson Mandela is to be removed from U.S. terrorism watch lists under a bill President Bush signed Tuesday…
The bill gives the State Department and the Homeland Security Department the authority to waive restrictions against ANC members.

This demonstrates that greater scrutiny must be placed on the decisions about who gets placed on terrorist watch lists and other government blacklists. It took a long time for Nelson Mandela to get off the list, and I wonder whether anybody who isn’t of Mandela’s stature stands a chance getting off the list. The story also raises questions about just who is designated a terrorist. There must be greater accountability in creating these lists.

(Dan Solove, “U.S. Government Finally Recognizes that Nelson Mandela Isn’t a Terrorist.”)
I fully agree with what Dan says, and would extend it to creating, maintaining and using such lists. But I wanted to comment on something which struck me. The story says (accurately) that the law “gives the State Department and the Homeland Security Department the authority to waive restrictions,” and also states the sense of Congress. Why doesn’t the bill simply order the removal of all such people, and give them actionable rights if they aren’t removed?

The bill is HR 5690.

One Reply to “Watchlist Cleaning Law”

  1. Well, now we know exactly how hard it is to get off the list; it literally takes an act of Congress. 😛

Navigation