This afternoon, The Intercept’s Jeremy Scahill and Ryan Devereaux posted a follow-up to their story from July 23rd (see: “Intercept: 'Blacklisted: The Secret Government Rulebook For Labeling You a Terrorist'”), and it’s considerably more powerful than their initial piece.
Furthermore, it reminds us that there, obviously, are folks other than Ed Snowden blowing the whistle on our massively-expanding surveillance state; since it’s irrefutable—based upon today’s article—that, under President Obama’s watch, our country’s Orwellian realities have gone to a whole ‘nother level. What else may one say when we’re informed, today, that 680,000 people are on our country’s current “watchlist,” with far more than 40% of those people maintaining no terrorist organization affiliation?
The details of our country's present-day, suveillance state realities just get more stunning with every passing week...
Barack Obama’s Secret Terrorist-Tracking System,
by the Numbers
By Jeremy Scahill and Ryan Devereaux
5 Aug 2014, 12:45 PM EDT
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.
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.
“If everything is terrorism, then nothing is terrorism,” says David Gomez, a former senior FBI special agent. The watchlisting system, he adds, is “revving out of control.”…
Most people placed on the government’s watchlist begin in a larger, classified system known as the Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment (TIDE). The TIDE database actually allows for targeting people based on far less evidence than the already lax standards used for placing people on the watchlist. A more expansive—and invasive—database, TIDE’s information is shared across the U.S. intelligence community, as well as with commando units from the Special Operations Command and with domestic agencies such as the New York City Police Department.
In the summer of 2013, officials celebrated what one classified document prepared by the National Counterterrorism Center refers to as “a milestone”—boosting the number of people in the TIDE database to a total of one million, up from half a million four years earlier...
...According to the documents, the government does much more than simply stop watchlisted people at airports. It also covertly collects and analyzes a wide range of personal information about those individuals –including facial images, fingerprints, and iris scans...
...“We’re getting into Minority Report territory when being friends with the wrong person can mean the government puts you in a database and adds DMV photos, iris scans, and face recognition technology to track you secretly and without your knowledge,” says Hina Shamsi, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s National Security Project. “The fact that this information can be shared with agencies from the CIA to the NYPD, which are not known for protecting civil liberties, brings us closer to an invasive and rights-violating government surveillance society at home and abroad.”
The DTI also goes far beyond accessing information from state driver’s licenses...
As a reminder, it is the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) that is among the organizations in the lead when it comes to data-sharing with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Homeland Security. DHS is tasked with managing our country's 78 domestic Fusion Centers, where this NCTC data (in part) comes home to roost; and where it's then shared with our country's corporate security infrastructure and local law enforcement entities, throughout the land.
The statistics and related detail in today's Intercept story are extremely granular, authoritative, and quite powerful!
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Adding insult to injury...here's the HuffPo explaining how our government tried to undermine The Intercept's publication of this story, this afternoon...ahh...yes...your tax dollars at work...
(h/t to Kossack don midwest, in the comments)
In case anyone doubts that our government views the Fourth Estate as a bunch of terrorists, here's the direct link to the HuffPo piece: Spy Agency Stole Scoop From Media Outlet And Handed It To The AP.
Of course, I'm sure there will be a comment or two, down below, where it will be "explained" to us that this is just a coincidence, and the inclusion of this inconvenient fact in this diary is merely "another conspiracy theory."
Because, as we all now know, our government always goes out of their way to be totally transparent about our surveillance state!
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