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    Washington Post: Number of names on terrorist watch list at 400,000

    The Washington Post reports that there are 400,000 names on the terrorist watchlists and 1,600 additions are suggested daily, according to the FBI. (In 2003, Homeland Security Presidential Directive No. 6 consolidated administration of the no-fly, selectee and other security watchlists under the jurisdiction of the Terrorist Screening Center.)

    Newly released FBI data offer evidence of the broad scope and complexity of the nation’s terrorist watch list, documenting a daily flood of names nominated for inclusion to the controversial list.

    During a 12-month period ended in March this year, for example, the U.S. intelligence community suggested on a daily basis that 1,600 people qualified for the list because they presented a “reasonable suspicion,” according to data provided to the Senate Judiciary Committee by the FBI in September and made public last week.

    FBI officials cautioned that each nomination “does not necessarily represent a new individual, but may instead involve an alias or name variant for a previously watchlisted person.”

    The ever-churning list is said to contain more than 400,000 unique names and over 1 million entries. The committee was told that over that same period, officials asked each day that 600 names be removed and 4,800 records be modified. Fewer than 5 percent of the people on the list are U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents. Nine percent of those on the terrorism list, the FBI said, are also on the government’s “no fly” list.

    You should read the Post‘s full story. Steven Aftergood’s Secrecy News first reported the testimony (pdf) from FBI Director Robert Mueller.

    Earlier this year, the Justice Department’s Inspector General released a report (pdf) reported substantial problems with the terrorist watchlists. “The Federal Bureau of Investigation has improperly kept nearly 24,000 people on a terrorist watch list based on outdated or sometimes irrelevant information, while it missed others with legitimate terror ties who should have been on the list,” said the New York Times.

    Here are a few stories in the archives about problems with watchlists.

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