The terrorist watch list has been beset with problems ever since it came into existence. Ted Kennedy showed up on the No Fly List, a cousin to the terrorist watch list, back in 2004. 8 year-olds can’t get themselves off it. Clearly, the smaller and more focused a watch list, the better for national security as well as civil liberties.
So of course, in reaction to the failure to track Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab last year, the federal government has gone in the opposite direction. Instead of double-checking the watch list and making sure resources were focused on legitimate threats, they made it comically easy to get placed on the watch list.