March 11, 2009
WASHINGTON — The government’s terrorist watch list has hit 1 million entries, up 32% since 2007.
[efoods]Federal data show the rise comes despite the removal of 33,000 entries last year by the FBI’s Terrorist Screening Center in an effort to purge the list of outdated information and remove people cleared in investigations.
It’s unclear how many individuals those 33,000 records represent — the center often uses multiple entries, or “identities,” for a person to reflect variances in name spellings or other identifying information. The remaining million entries represent about 400,000 individuals, according to the center.
The new figures were provided by the screening center and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence in response to requests from USA TODAY.
“We’re continually trying to improve the quality of the information,” says Timothy Edgar, a civil liberties officer at the intelligence director’s office. “It’s always going to be a work in progress.”