When the government announced the Terrorist Screening Database (TSD), which is the source for the various terrorist watch lists, most people probably assume that it would only contain a handful of names. After all, if the government had evidence that somebody is a terrorist they would arrest them, right? Wrong. As it turns out there are 680,000 names in the TSD and almost half of them aren’t believed to be affiliated with any known terrorist organization:
Nearly half of the people on the U.S. government’s widely shared database of terrorist suspects are not connected to any known terrorist group, according to classified government documents obtained by The Intercept.
Of the 680,000 people caught up in the government’s Terrorist Screening Database—a watchlist of “known or suspected terrorists” that is shared with local law enforcement agencies, private contractors, and foreign governments—more than 40 percent are described by the government as having “no recognized terrorist group affiliation.” That category—280,000 people—dwarfs the number of watchlisted people suspected of ties to al Qaeda, Hamas, and Hezbollah combined.
Now we know for a fact that the database has nothing to do with people affiliated with known terrorist organizations. That means everybody is a potential terrorist. What’s even funnier (in a sick sort of way) is that the man who promised to save us from George W. Bush’s police state is responsible for most of the names appearing in the database:
The documents, obtained from a source in the intelligence community, also reveal that the Obama Administration has presided over an unprecedented expansion of the terrorist screening system. Since taking office, Obama has boosted the number of people on the no fly list more than ten-fold, to an all-time high of 47,000—surpassing the number of people barred from flying under George W. Bush.
This is why I laugh every time somebody tells me that we live in the freest country on Earth. Only a police state could have a list 680,000 names long of suspected enemies. I wonder if getting on the list qualifies an individual as a potential drone target.