Terrorist Screening Center Statement Regarding October 8, 2006 60 Minutes Segment
|Washington, D.C. October 08, 2006|
Washington, DC - An October 8, 2006 60 Minutes’ segment, ”Unlikely Terrorists on No-Fly List,” did not fully represent the efforts of the Terrorist Screening Center (TSC) and its partner government agencies.
The 2003 creation of the TSC and the government’s consolidated terrorist watch list marked another significant step forward in protecting Americans worldwide. In order to be included on the watch list, an individual must be a known or appropriately suspected terrorist. Per mandates of Homeland Security Presidential Directive 6, the TSC maintains thorough, accurate, and current information about individuals known or appropriately suspected to be or to have been engaged in conduct constituting, in preparation for, in aid of, or related to terrorism.
The watch list remains an effective tool in the government’s counterterrorism efforts because its contents are not disclosed publicly by the government. Since the watch list’s information is derived from classified and sensitive law enforcement and intelligence, the TSC cannot confirm or deny whether an individual is on the consolidated terrorist watch list and therefore, cannot speak to any names and/or identities provided by 60 Minutes. Nondisclosure of watch list names protects the operational counterterrorism and intelligence collection objectives of the government, as well as the privacy of individuals who may be on the list for the limited time and then cleared by investigation.
From the outset, it was clear that there would be many cases where someone shared the same name with a person carried on the watch list and a de-confliction process was built in to the system. In addition, the TSC and its government partners established redress procedures to help examine and resolve watch list issues and complaints. The TSC works diligently with partner agencies on a 24/7 basis to resolve inquiries from individuals who are experiencing repeated delays or difficulties during a screening process that may be related to the watch list.
Since individuals may experience problems during screening for any number of reasons, and not just because of the terrorist watch list, they should contact the agency that is conducting the screening process in question. The screening agency is in the best position to resolve issues. Contact information for appropriate screening agencies can be found at www.fbi.gov/terrorinfo/counterrorism/redress.htm.
A recent independent study by the Government Accountability Office contains a broader look at the challenges involved the process of maintaining an effective terrorist watch list and the work that the TSC has done to rise to those challenges. The report can be found at www.gao.gov.