The federal National Counterterrorism Center maintains a repository of 325,000 names of international terrorism suspects or people who allegedly aid them, a number that has more than quadrupled since the fall of 2003, the Washington post reports. The list kept by the center (NCTC) — created in 2004 as the primary U.S. terrorism intelligence agency — contains a far greater number of international terrorism suspects and associated names in a government database than has previously been disclosed. Because the same person may appear under different spellings or aliases, the true number of people is estimated to be more than 200,000. U.S. citizens make up “only a very, very small fraction” of that number, said an administration official.
The government has been trying to streamline more than 26 federal terrorism databases. Civil liberties advocates and privacy experts said the size of the NCTC database heightens their concerns that such lists include the names of large numbers of innocent people. Timothy Sparapani of the the American Civil Liberties Union called the numbers “shocking but, unfortunately, not surprising.” He told the Post: “We have lists that are having baby lists at this point; they’re spawning faster than rabbits. If we have over 300,000 known terrorists who want to do this country harm, we’ve got a much bigger problem than deciding which names go on which list. But I highly doubt that is the case.”