- Associated Press - Thursday, August 7, 2014

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) - In a story July 18 about the U.S. government’s no-fly list, The Associated Press reported erroneously that the government added more than 1.5 million names to the list in the last five years. The National Counterterrorism Center says the list has grown from about 550,000 people in March 2010 to 1.1 million people at the end of 2013. There have been 1.5 million nominations to the list, which can include both new names and updates or changes to existing names.

A corrected version of the story is below:

Terrorist database continues to grow at rapid rate

Virginia challenge to No Fly List exposes rapidly expanding terror database inclusions


Associated Press

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) - The government is rapidly expanding the number of names it accepts for inclusion on its terrorist watch list, with the number of people on the list doubling from March 2010 to the end of 2013, according to government figures.

Furthermore, the number of nominations to the list - which includes both new names and updates to existing names - also has snowballed in recent years, according to numbers divulged by the federal government as part of a lawsuit.

Those included in the Terrorist Screening Database could find themselves on the government’s no-fly list or face additional scrutiny at airports, though only a small percentage of people in the database are actually on the list.

It has been known for years that the government became more aggressive in nominating people for the watch list following al-Qaida operative Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab’s failed effort to blow up an airplane over Detroit on Christmas Day 2009.

But the numbers disclosed by the government show nominations have snowballed. In fiscal 2009, which ended Sept. 30, 2009, 227,932 names were nominated to the database. In fiscal 2010, which includes the months after the attempted Christmas bombing, nominations rose to 250,847. In fiscal 2012, they increased to 336,712, and in fiscal 2013 - the most recent year provided - nominations jumped to 468,749.

The government disclosed the figures in July in a civil lawsuit out of Virginia challenging the constitutionality of the no-fly list.

At a hearing July 18, government lawyers urged a judge to dismiss the case, claiming state secrets will be exposed if the case proceeds.

U.S. District Judge Anthony Trenga issued no immediate ruling but expressed deep skepticism of the government’s motion.

Gadeir Abbas, a lawyer for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which filed the suit on behalf of a northern Virginia man, said the numbers show the government is failing to abide by the standards required for inclusion, which require “a reasonable suspicion to believe that a person is a known or a suspected terrorist.”

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