A new report highlights the lack of oversight and exponential growth in the number of Americans placed on domestic intelligence watchlists.
A new analysis from the American Civil Liberties Union and a clinic at the Yale Law School is calling attention to the hundreds of thousands of individuals who have been placed on a variety of domestic terror watchlists. The report, “Trapped in a Black Box: Growing Terrorist Watchlisting in Everyday Policing,” details how the ACLU and the clinic at Yale Law School view this expansion of domestic watchlists as a potential threat to privacy and liberty.
The researchers reviewed 13,000 pages of information, including pages released from the Federal Bureau of Investigations via a Freedom of Information Act request and lawsuit by the ACLU and the Civil Liberties and the Civil Liberties and National Security Clinic at the law school. The team also studied information obtained by the Electronic Privacy Information Center and the government’s Watchlisting Guidan
They found that there were less than 10,000 entries in 2003 as part of the Violent Gangs and Terrorist Organizations File, but by 2008 that number grown to 272,198 individuals under a successor category, the Known or Suspected Terrorist File. The report states that the KST list, “is part of a vast system of domestic surveillance of people whom law enforcement labels suspect based on vague and loose criteria, with serious constitutional and privacy implications for those who are included in the file.”