According to The Intercept, of the 680,000 people listed in the U.S. Government's watch-list of "known or suspected terrorist," 280,000 have "no recognized terrorist group affiliation." As cited below, while loosening of the criteria required to make the list is the culprit, the real reason behind it appears to be monetary.
The number is also a testament to the Obama administration’s intensified collection of personal information on individuals with suspected links to terrorism. In 2006, CBS News obtained a copy of the no fly list and reported that it included 44,000 names, including Bolivian President Evo Morales and the head of Lebanon’s parliament. Faced with a widespread public backlash, the government cut the list down to just 4,000 names by late 2009.
The next year, after the so-called “underwear bomber” tried to bring down a commercial airliner bound for Detroit, Obama loosened the criteria for adding people to the no fly list. The impact was immediate. Since 2010, the classified documents note, the National Counterterrorism Center has “created more than 430,000 terrorism-related person records” while deleting only 50,000 people “whose nexus to terrorism was refuted or did not meet current watchlisting criteria.” The documents reveal that more than 240 TIDE “nominations” are now processed each day.
“You might as well have a blue wand and just pretend there’s magic in it, because that’s what we’re doing with this—pretending that it works,” says former FBI agent Michael German, now a fellow at New York University’s Brennan Center for Justice. “These agencies see terrorism as a winning card for them. They get more resources. They know that they can wave that card around and the American public will be very afraid and Congress and the courts will allow them to get away with whatever they’re doing under the national security umbrella.”
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