Newly Signed Government-wide Watchlisting Redress MOU
TSC Leads Federal Inter-Agency Cooperation Enhancing Existing Roles and Responsibilities to Address Redress Cases
|Washington, D.C. October 24, 2007|
The U.S. Terrorist Screening Center (TSC), the U.S. government’s consolidation point for known or appropriately suspected terrorist watchlist information, both foreign and domestic, announced today the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding on Terrorist Watchlist Redress Procedures (MOU) by senior-level federal inter-agency partners.
The redress MOU, a formal document that standardizes the pre-existing inter-agency watchlist redress process, serves to enhance inter-agency roles and responsibilities to ensure a fair, timely, and independent review of an individual’s complaint. The redress process also ensures that information on the watchlist and related U.S. government information systems will be reviewed for accuracy and that, where warranted, errors are corrected. Since 2005, TSC’s independent Redress Unit has successfully resolved over 90 percent of the complaints referred by federal inter-agency partners.
Under the MOU, each agency agrees to appoint a senior official to ensure full agency participation in the redress process and overall compliance. Federal inter-agency partners agree to secure an individual’s personal information, update and correct their own record systems, and share information to ensure redress complaints are resolved appropriately. Each agency commits to providing staff and other resources to ensure the redress process functions in a timely and efficient manner.
“The signing of the MOU illustrates the measurable progress and commitment by the U.S. government to ensure individual’s rights to receive redress consideration in a timely and fair manner,” said U.S. Terrorist Screening Center Director Leonard C. Boyle. “We will continue to collaborate with our federal inter-agency partners to make certain the watchlist redress process is regularly refined ensuring the most thorough, current, and accurate watchlist information available.”
Although TSC does not directly accept redress complaints from the public, individuals are encouraged to file a complaint with the agency that conducted the screening allowing the agency to then determine whether the experience may be related to the terrorist watchlist. Once a screening agency forwards a related complaint, TSC’s independent Redress Unit provides the necessary research and review allowing the screening agency to respond to the complaint directly. Up to 96 percent of the redress referrals received by TSC come from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), home to a number of screening agencies. The DHS recently launched DHS TRIP or DHS Traveler Redress Inquiry Program as the central gateway for redress complaints for all DHS Agencies. DHS TRIP is a web based program that can be found through the DHS website by visiting http://www.dhs.gov/dhs-trip.
With support from the White House Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board the signatories of the agreement include the most senior level government officials from the Departments of Justice, State, Defense, Treasury, and Homeland Security as well as the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Central Intelligence Agency, Director of National Intelligence, and the National Counterterrorism Center.
The U.S. Terrorist Screening Center (TSC), established December 2003 by Homeland Security Presidential Directive-6, serves as the U.S. government’s consolidation point for known and suspected terrorist watchlist information, both foreign and domestic. The consolidated watchlist contains thousands of records that are updated daily and shared with our federal, state, local, territorial, tribal law enforcement, and intelligence community members as well as international partners to ensure that individuals with links to terrorism are appropriately screened. The TSC, administered by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and supported by federal departments and agencies that include the departments of Justice, Homeland Security, and State, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, and the National Counterterrorism Center, ensures that information provided to and consolidated by TSC is thorough, current, and accurate.