Classified documents leaked from the National Counterterrorism Center and published Wednesday reveal almost half of the nearly 700,000 terrorist suspects included on the government’s terrorist watchlist have no connection to known terrorists.
According to the documents obtained by The Intercept, out of the 680,000 people included on the list, 280,000 have “no recognized terrorist group affiliation,” making it the largest category of any other on the list of “known or suspected terrorists.” The next-largest specific terrorist organization on the list is al-Qaida in Iraq, with only 73,189 people. (RELATED: Newly Released Document Reveals How The US Government Defines A Terrorist)
The documents also highlight the dramatic expansion of the government’s terrorist watch-listing under the Obama administration, which includes increasing the the no-fly list to 47,000 — ten times higher than the Bush administration.
According to The Intercept, the documents “offer the most complete numerical picture of the watchlisting system to date,” including revelations about the government’s daily addition of 900 records per day, a CIA system designed to infiltrate and steal data about targets from other countries and that “the second-highest concentration of people designated as ‘known or suspected terrorists’ by the government is in Dearborn, Mich.”
The documents were marked with a designation forbidding them from being shared with foreign governments.
“If everything is terrorism, then nothing is terrorism,” former senior FBI special agent David Gomez said in the report.
Gomez said the watchlisting system is “revving out of control.”