Senate Claims Terrorist Watch List is a Security Risk

( – According to a recent Senate report, the ever-expanding terrorist watchlist, as well as many screening and security protocols implemented following the 9/11 attacks in 2001 to stop potential national security threats, is uncoordinated, disorganized, and too broad to be effective.

In a 43-page report published on Tuesday, Dec. 19, by House Democrats from the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, the lawmakers claim that the terrorist watchlist and various government screening processes broadly “spread limited national security resources” rather than targeting “changing threats” effectively. The House Democrats say that the procedures implemented after the 9/11 terrorist attacks lack sufficient oversight and leave Americans with “insufficient” options if they happen to be wrongfully screened.

The lawmakers state that an improperly maintained watchlist “coupled with” screening practices which are “unnecessarily duplicative” and “not frequently accessed” for “effectiveness” poses “a risk to [US] national security.” The report claims that the current policies “may not reflect the latest threats” facing the country and “could overextend” already-limited security resources into areas that aren’t “focused on the best ways to protect Americans.” The report also claims the current system “breaks the trust” with Americans who are innocent yet “get caught” in the government’s “net with no way out.”

They added that as the terrorist “watchlist and screen enterprise grows,” it also increases “the chance of misidentification,” a “need” for more resources, and “the risk” that current resources are “spent on low risks” while missing “real threats.”

Over the last year, the watchlist expanded to around 1.8 million names. Back in 2004, just a few years after the 9/11 attacks, the list only consisted of 150,000 names. According to a CBS investigation, the number is now around 2 million. The investigation also found that in only a period of six years, the watchlist almost doubled in length.

Although the House Democrats admit that it’s “paramount” to protect Americans from terrorist threats, the “potential abuse” and lack of “redress for wrongful screening” put the civil liberties of US citizens at risk. They’re calling for a review of the government’s watchlist enterprise and for a plan to be formulated by the Department of Homeland Security and provided to Congress.

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