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State Secrets and the Terrorist Watch List

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State Secrets and the Terrorist Watch List

Akif Rahman and Harvey Grossman (Photo by Jay Monteverde)

President Bush established the Terrorist Screening Database, more commonly known as the “Terrorist Watch List,” in 2003 through a Homeland Security Presidential Directive.

The Terrorist Watch List consolidated existing government watch lists and to create an accessible master database for police officers and screeners. 

While the current number and names of individuals on the Terrorist Watch List have not been made public, a Government Accountability Office report found that the list contained 755,000 records as of May 2007.

The secrecy surrounding the contents of the list has meant that there is little check on the accuracy of the list. But an audit of the list by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of the Inspector General last September found that 38 percent of the records contained errors or inconsistencies  

Akif Rahman is an American businessman who has filed a lawsuit against Homeland Security to find out whether his name is on the Terrorist Watch List.

Since 2004, he has been detained and questioned about his ties to terrorism six times upon re-entering the United States .  Harvey Grossman is an attorney for the ACLU and represents Akif in the civil rights lawsuit. Akif Rahman told Jerome a little about himself.

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