The New York Times reports that the Justice Department’s Inspector General has released a new report (pdf) finding, “The Federal Bureau of Investigation has improperly kept nearly 24,000 people on a terrorist watch list based on outdated or sometimes irrelevant information, while it missed others with legitimate terror ties who should have been on the list.”
in 2003, Homeland Security Presidential Directive No. 6 consolidated administration of the no-fly, selectee and other security watch lists under the jurisdiction of the Terrorist Screening Center. When the Department of Justice Inspector General reported on (pdf) the Center in 2007, he found that the watch lists remain filled with errors. He said the data collection and dissemination structure helped cause “inaccurate and incomplete watchlist records.” The Inspector General said this indicates “a deficiency in the integrity of watchlist information.”
More from today’s New York Times story:
The report said the mistakes posed a risk to national security, because of the failure to flag actual suspected terrorists, as well as an unnecessary nuisance for non-suspects who may be questioned at a traffic stops or stopped from boarding an airplane.
By the beginning of 2009, the report said, the government’s terrorist watch lists included about 400,000 people, listed as 1.1 million names and aliases, an exponential growth from the days before the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, when it included fewer than two dozen people. […]
The new Justice Department report provided the most authoritative statistical account to date of the problems connected with the watch lists and confirmed some assertions made by critics of the process. An earlier report by the inspector general, released in March 2008, looked mainly at flaws in the system. […]
One of the biggest problems identified in the report was the use of outdated information, or material unconnected to terrorism, to keep people on the F.B.I.’s own terror watch list. The report examined nearly 69,000 watch lists referrals brought or processed by the F.B.I. and found that 35 percent of the people, both Americans and foreigners, remained on the list despite inadequate justification.