Terrorist Watchlist Has Almost Doubled in 6 Years, Report Says

Terrorist Watchlist Has Almost Doubled in 6 Years, Report Says

(USNewsBreak.com) – The attacks on US soil on September 11, 2001, sparked several changes, from the creation of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to the terrorist watchlist. Officially known as the Terrorist Screening Dataset, the list began with approximately 120,000 names. Over the years, it grew exponentially. A recent CBS News report revealed just how much.

To carry out its investigation, CBS interviewed current and former intelligence officials and extensively reviewed available government documents and court records. As a result, the news agency got a deeper look into what makes the government flag someone and add them to the list. Whereas the list once sat at 120,000 names, that number skyrocketed to 1,160,000 people by 2017. Yet, the investigation revealed that this figure now sits at around two million.

This figure sounds like a lot, but not just anyone ends up on the list. Officials must follow procedures and meet criteria to add names, but even those standards are vague. For example, agents must have “reasonable suspicion,” but the public isn’t privy to what it means. According to the report, thousands of Americans are also in the database.

Russ Travers, who had a hand in creating the watchlist, said that just because someone is on the list, it doesn’t automatically classify them as a “terrorist.” Instead, it means that the person warrants a closer look. Recent national security assessments indicate that this list will probably only grow as the threats of foreign and domestic terrorism increase.

While around two million people are on the list, intelligence officials admit they should remove some names for various reasons, such as someone dying. However, staffing issues make it impossible to carry out audits regularly and remove them.

Then, there’s the issue of flagging people erroneously when traveling because their name is a close match to someone on the list. The FBI said it has updated its criteria to mandate more identifying information preventing these false flags.

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