Wednesday, February 15, 2006

325,000 Names on Terrorism List

I'm not sure what to say about this. From The Washington Post:

The National Counterterrorism Center maintains a central repository of 325,000 names of international terrorism suspects or people who allegedly aid them, a number that has more than quadrupled since the fall of 2003, according to counterterrorism officials.

The list kept by the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) -- created in 2004 to be the primary U.S. terrorism intelligence agency -- contains a far greater number of international terrorism suspects and associated names in a single government database than has previously been disclosed. Because the same person may appear under different spellings or aliases, the true number of people is estimated to be more than 200,000, according to NCTC officials.

U.S. citizens make up "only a very, very small fraction" of that number, said an administration official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of his agency's policies. "The vast majority are non-U.S. persons and do not live in the U.S.," he added. An NCTC official refused to say how many on the list -- put together from reports supplied by the CIA, the FBI, the National Security Agency (NSA) and other agencies -- are U.S. citizens.

Two small comments here. First is that 325,000 names is a lot of names on that list--and no doubt that the number is growing. The second comment is more of a question. I wonder how many names on that list are common names like "John Smith?" Since the NCTC officials think that the actual number of people on this list are 200,000, then that leaves 125,000 aliases. It can be very easy for someone who is not a terrorist to be considered a terrorist if his name is the same as on the list.

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