21,000 names now on DHS terrorist watch list
February 2, 2012
The secret government “no fly list” of suspected “terrorists” who are banned from flying to or within the United States more than doubled in 2011, according to figures obtained by the Associated Press.
The figures show that the list now contains around 21,000 names, close to 11,000 more than it did just one year ago.
The government contends that there are less than 500 American citizens named on the list.
The exponential growth in names added to the list is said to have been sparked by the failed underpants bombing incident on Christmas Eve 2009.
An anonymous U.S. counterterrorism official told the AP that after the 2009 incident, a new standard was set meaning someone no longer has to be considered a threat only to aviation to be placed on the no-fly list. People who are considered a broader threat to domestic or international security can also be added, the official stated.
The government has refused to reveal details of who is on the list and the reason they have been flagged.
“The news that the list is growing tells us that more people’s rights are being violated,” said Nusrat Choudhury, a staff attorney working for the ACLU’s national security project. “It’s a secret list, and the government puts people on it without any explanation. Citizens have been stranded abroad.”
In lawsuit against the government, the ACLU is representing American citizens who believe they have been put on the no fly list without explanation. Currently, those who submit a letter to Homeland Security asking to be removed from the list have no way of knowing if their request has been reviewed without attempting to board another flight, according to the ACLU.
The ACLU also contends that huge numbers of Americans are opposed to the measures employed by the DHS and the TSA in the nations airports and train stations, but that many have not registered official complaints for fear of being placed on the watch list.
The no-fly list and the CAPS II system used by airlines pales in comparison to the separate government master “terrorist watch list” that reportedly now has over one million names on it.
Reports have confirmed that the watch list contains the names of thousands of innocent Americans, including children, lawyers and even a retired Air National Guard brigadier, now a commercial pilot for a major airline.
In some cases credit reports have been used in calculating the risk score, while the list has also been used to target political activists opposing the death penalty and the Iraq war. Some, including former White House Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel have suggested restricting the constitutional rights of those placed on the list.
We have previously highlighted the fact that a miniscule amount, less than 0.01% of Homeland Security cases are terrorism related.
Once again we are reminded that the terrorist threat to America is vastly over hyped and is being used by a criminally controlled government as an excuse to police the world and foment a domestic police state to crush any dissent amongst the American people.
The watch list represents a subversion of the first and fourth amendments, is inherently flawed and, it can be argued, is harmful to the security of the nation.
The chairman of a House technology oversight subcommittee warned in 2008 that the database used to produce the government’s terror watch lists is “crippled by technical flaws,” and the system that eventually replaced it may be even worse.
In a letter to the inspector general at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, Rep. Brad Miller (D-NC) warned that the upgrade “if actually deployed will leave our country more vulnerable than the existing yet flawed system in operation today.”
Despite this and the fact that it is already far too expansive to be in any way effective, there have been calls to apply the watch list to Amtrak trains as well as checkpoints at subways, malls and sports stadiums.
As we have consistently highlighted, restricting the movement of more innocent Americans and implementing more draconian police state measures will do nothing to increase security and serves only to foster a constant state of fear and unease.
Steve Watson is the London based writer and editor for Alex Jones’ Infowars.net, and Prisonplanet.com. He has a Masters Degree in International Relations from the School of Politics at The University of Nottingham in England.