The Heat: The US Terrorism Watch List

The Heat

The U.S. government’s terrorism watch list reportedly includes tens-of-thousands of names of known or suspected terrorists. A mandate to strengthen criteria for adding individuals to the United States’ terror watch list and no-fly list came from U.S. President Barack Obama in 2010 after a Nigerian student boarded a passenger jet, bound for the U.S., with hidden explosives and attempted to blow it up.

For years very little has been known about the U.S. Terrorism Watch List. That all changed in July, when journalists from “The Intercept,” an online magazine, published the U.S. government’s actual guidelines.

“The March 2013 Watchlisting Guidance” explains the criteria for adding individuals to its main terrorist database, as well as the “no-fly list” and the so-called “selectee list” which triggers enhanced screening at airports and border crossings. The document reveals the U.S. government relies on the concept of “reasonable suspicion” as a standard for determining whether someone is a possible threat. While this is defined as requiring more than “mere guesses or hunches”, it is far less than probable cause.

For more insight on this, we were joined by Martin Reardon. He is the former FBI Chief of Terror Screening Operations.

Former FBI official on terrorism watch lists

Former FBI official on terrorism watch lists

For more insight on 'no fly' lists as a US anti-terror effort, The Heat was joined by Martin Reardon. He is the former FBI Chief of Terror Screening Operations.

Our panel guests include: In Washington, Gadeir Abbas, an attorney with the Council on American-Islamic Relations. And also, award-winning author Joseph Treato.

American intelligence experts on the war on terror

American intelligence experts on the war on terror

The panel for this edition of The Heat includes Gadeir Abbas, an attorney with the Council on American-Islamic Relations. And also, award-winning author Joseph Treato.

On September 11, 2001, al Qaeda hijackers boarded four airline jets they used to attack several U.S. cities, killing more than 3,000 people. On that day, the U.S. government’s list of people barred from flying had just 16 names. Now that number is said to be in the tens of thousands. The actual number is classified. But we do know some of the names because of lawsuits filed against the United States.

Dr. Rahinah Ibrahim was studying at Stanford University when she tried to fly home to Malaysia for a conference. She was detained at an airport by authorities who believed she was a terrorist. She sued the U.S. government, and nine years later in a landmark ruling, the federal judge ruled in her favor to remove her name from the database. But for many others their legal battle is just beginning.

We were joined from New York by Susan Hu. She’s a fellow with the Center of Constitutional Rights.

Anti-terrorism \'no-fly\' lists: are they constitutional?

Anti-terrorism \'no-fly\' lists: are they constitutional?

The Heat was joined from New York by Susan Hu. She’s a fellow with the Center of Constitutional Rights.