Terrorist Screening Database

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The Terrorist Screening Database or TSDB is the central terrorist watchlist consolidated by the FBI's Terrorist Screening Center and used by multiple agencies to compile their specific watchlists and for screening. As of June 2016 the list is estimated to contain over 2,484,442 records, consisting of 1,877,133 individual identities.[1][2] Approximately 1,600 nominations are suggested daily, 600 names are removed and 4,800 records are modified by the U.S. intelligence community. Approximately one out of twenty of the people on the list are U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents.[3]

The TSDB is fed from two primary sources: international terrorist (IT) information from the Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment, a central database on known or suspected international terrorists maintained by the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) and domestic terrorist (DT) information from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The TSDB in turn is used to compile various watchlists and screening systems:

  1. No Fly ListDepartment of Homeland Security
  2. Selectee ListDepartment of Homeland Security
  3. Interagency Border Inspection System (IBIS) – Department of Homeland Security
  4. National Automated Immigration Lookout System (NAILS) – Department of Homeland Security migrated to Treasury Enforcement Communications System (TECS)
  5. Consular Lookout and Support System (CLASS) – Department of State
  6. Criminal Justice Information Services Division Warrant Information – Department of Justice
  7. Violent Gang and Terrorist Organization File (VGTOF) – Department of Justice
  8. Interpol Terrorism Watch ListDepartment of Justice
  9. Air Force Office of Special Investigations Top Ten Fugitive List – Department of Defense
  10. Automated Biometric Identification SystemDepartment of Defense
  11. Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification SystemDepartment of Justice

The Justice Department's Office of Inspector General has criticized the list for frequent errors and slow response to complaints. An audit by the Office of Inspector General found that 38% of a 105 record sample contained inaccuracies.[4] The Federal Bureau of Investigation has said it is redressing errors, and a 2006 review of the No Fly List reduced its size by half, from 71,872 records to 34,230 records.[4][5]

A ruling on September 4, 2019 found the program to be unconstitutional.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Audit Report 07-41: Follow-up Audit of the Terrorist Screening Center" (PDF). Audit Division. Office of the Inspector General, U.S. Department of Justice. September 2007. 724,442 records, growth rate 16,000/mo.
  2. ^ "Federal Bureau of Investigation - Congressional Testimony". FBI. Archived from the original on August 5, 2009. Retrieved 2009-12-27. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  3. ^ Pincus, Walter (November 1, 2009). "1,600 are suggested daily for FBI's list". Washington Post. Retrieved December 27, 2009.
  4. ^ a b "Audit Report 07-41: Follow-up Audit of the Terrorist Screening Center" (PDF). Audit Division. Office of the Inspector General, U.S. Department of Justice. September 2007. "our examination of 105 records subjected to the single review queue or post-encounter quality assurance reviews revealed that 38 percent of these tested records continued to contain errors or inconsistencies that were not identified through the TSC’s quality assurance efforts."
  5. ^ Nakashima, Ellen. "Terrorism Watch List Is Faulted For Errors; Justice Dept. Official Urges Improvement". The Washington Post. September 7, 2007. p. A12.
  6. ^ Lee, Timothy B. (2019-09-05). "Federal judge says terrorist watchlist is unconstitutional". Ars Technica. Retrieved 2019-09-06.

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