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FBI Leaves Cleared Names On Terrorist Watch List

samzenpus posted about 3 years ago | from the set-in-stone dept.

Crime 181

x_IamSpartacus_x writes "According to a recent FOIA request the FBI doesn't always take names off of the Terrorist Watch List even when those people have been cleared of charges or had charges dropped. 'If an individual is acquitted or charges are dismissed for a crime related to terrorism, the individual must still meet the reasonable suspicion standard in order to remain on, or be subsequently nominated to, the terrorist watch list,' the once-classified memorandum says. The New York Times is running a story about it as well, saying the data is even used by local police officers to check names during traffic stops."

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Eternally marked until forgiven by God--ie never. (4, Informative)

Commontwist (2452418) | about 3 years ago | (#37543996)

Innocent until proven guilty inversed to the extreme: guilty until proven completely, absolutely, with a cherry on top innocent?

Re:Eternally marked until forgiven by God--ie neve (1)

decipher_saint (72686) | about 3 years ago | (#37544086)

And even then, we'll update the bad guy list you're on... later... after coffee

Re:Eternally marked until forgiven by God--ie neve (1)

black soap (2201626) | about 3 years ago | (#37546154)

Then you go to the list called "These names were suspected of terrorism, but absolutely nothing was found. Yet."

Re:Eternally marked until forgiven by God--ie neve (3, Interesting)

idontgno (624372) | about 3 years ago | (#37544102)

No, actually, guilty until finally proven guilty.

Justice will never give up. There's no escaping. Since there's no accusation that doesn't have some grain of truth, the accusation is enough to prove guilt. Besides, prosecuting and tracking innocent people would be unfair, so everyone we track and prosecute must be guilty; surely you don't think we're anything other than unscrupulously fair, right? I mean, thinking like that is a sure sign of disloyalty and latent terroristic intent.

Re:Eternally marked until forgiven by God--ie neve (2)

scottrocket (1065416) | about 3 years ago | (#37544754)

Meh - Let's just put everybody on the list; this way, we can be absolutely, 100% certain that we have all the bad people on the list. Efficiency.

Re:Eternally marked until forgiven by God--ie neve (1)

mr1911 (1942298) | about 3 years ago | (#37545164)

I fear your comment has already been taken seriously by our government.

At least we're safe now.

Re:guilty until finally proven guilty (3, Insightful)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | about 3 years ago | (#37544846)

+1 Cardinal Richelieu.

âoeIf you give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest of men, I will find something in them which will hang himâ.

Re:guilty until finally proven guilty (1)

X0563511 (793323) | about 3 years ago | (#37545412)

... which has nothing to do with the contents of the lines, and everything to do with the concept of forgery.

Re:guilty until finally proven guilty (2)

IgnoramusMaximus (692000) | about 3 years ago | (#37546542)

No. Richelieu meant that his Inquisition was capable of finding "heresy" within any six lines of any man's speech. They did not have to forge anything, merely "see" what they read with a sufficient fervor via a sufficiently fanatical eye of a religious zealot. The torture of the suspect, or his family, was guaranteed extract a signed "confession" later.

It is no coincidence that the main villain in Dumas' books is an evil religious nut, supported by a blood-thirsty, nearly all-powerful (at the time) fanatical religious cult with a prominent sadistic streak and a healthy apetite for yet more power and wealth, at all costs.

Re:Eternally marked until forgiven by God--ie neve (1)

julesh (229690) | about 3 years ago | (#37545748)

Since there's no accusation that doesn't have some grain of truth, the accusation is enough to prove guilt.

Yep. As my years of reading the Daily Mail have taught me, there's no smoke without a paedophile.

Re:Eternally marked until forgiven by God--ie neve (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37546046)

And no holiday images of children without an arsonist.

Re:Eternally marked until forgiven by God--ie neve (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | about 3 years ago | (#37546902)

This is true for almost all prosecutors as well. The assumption is guilty until proven innocent, and even then a formal protest must be made. Their job is to find guilt. Those who are elected or hired by elected officials have an interest in finding everyone guilty, because if you "lose" a case (someone is found to not be guilty) then you are being soft on crime or not effective enough and are in danger of losing your job. Even then it's better in their eyes to have at least tried to convict one than to let someone go. Doesn't necessarily mean convicting on the most serious charge, even a plea bargain is enough to get a win on the books. In other words, the prosecutor's job is not to find out the truth.

The Justice Department, as well as most police departments, are hand in hand with prosecutors. They're supposed to be distinct entities but the bias slips through.

Re:Eternally marked until forgiven by God--ie neve (2)

Synerg1y (2169962) | about 3 years ago | (#37544240)

In the United States Legal system, you get charged, thrown in jail, and then you have to post bond and hire a lawyer (or risk defending yourself) to get the charges dropped if you are innocent. If you are guilty, you get charged, thrown in jail, and you post bond, your conviction depends on the size of your wallet and what kind of legal defense you can get. OJ Simpson is a classic example, there are countless others.

Here's the thing... the CIA, NSA, FBI are all getting massive amounts of funding from the tax payer, but... we don't know if they're working. Obviously 9/11 wasn't stopped, a few bombs have been found, never by the previous 3 agencies, more like by a local cop who heard ticking. I've got to wonder if these agencies have switched their directive from protecting us from threats abroad to protecting us from ourselves without our consent.

People abroad are just trying to live their lives just like we are, nobody is f'in stupid enough to sail their battleships at us and try to take us over for obvious reasons (ICBM anyone?)

These agencies were at their prime during the cold war when they were focused on the russians, rather than United States Citizens.

So now what? Read the article, that's the present day FBI... all of it, they have nothing better to put man hours into than harassing US citizens and catching pedos, while the latter is a great service, is the FBI the most efficient for this?

You confuse prison with observation (2)

drnb (2434720) | about 3 years ago | (#37544300)

Innocent until proven guilty inversed to the extreme: guilty until proven completely, absolutely, with a cherry on top innocent?

You erroneously equate standards used to put a person in prison with standards used to watch a person. For many years there was no evidence to convict Al Capone of being a gangster but there was a "reasonable suspicion" that led to Al and his minions being observed. You seem to be implying such observations were illegitimate.

That said, are there truly innocent (legally not guilty != innocent) people unjustly on the list? I'm sure there are. Are there other bureaucratic or administrative blunders? I'm sure there are. However these are issues quite separate from having only a "reasonable suspicion standard" for observation. A poor implementation of a reasonable idea does not mean we should ditch the idea, rather we should improve the implementation.

Re:You confuse prison with observation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37545220)

You erroneously equate standards used to watch a person with standards that prevent that person from flying, force that person to be subject to increased searches and questioning when dealing with the police or when travelling and that in effect turn that person into a sub-citizen.

Re:You confuse prison with observation (1)

SleazyRidr (1563649) | about 3 years ago | (#37545582)

You make a very good point, that it's not so much the standards of getting people on to this list which is the problem. The problem is how supposedly 'innocent' people are treated. Preventing a person from flying should only happen when you have sufficient evidence to indicate that they intend on doing something. That amount of evidence should then be used to get them convicted, rather than taking the half-assed measure of putting them on a no-fly list.

Re:You confuse prison with observation (1)

AK Marc (707885) | about 3 years ago | (#37546926)

Put it in the Libertarian framework. The government stepping in to prevent a person previously suspected of something, but not currently a suspect in any crime, from completing a contract with another entity. The government is blocking two willing participants from engaging in trade, with no evidence that a crime was even committed, let alone anyone there was involved in the unknown crime. Libertarians everywhere should be up in arms to get the government out of this free enterprise.

Re:You confuse prison with observation (1)

sjames (1099) | about 3 years ago | (#37546636)

Actually, Constitutionally, not guilty == innocent. Watching someone forever for the slightest slip-up defies that Constitutional mandate. Watching someone even after solid evidence actually demonstrates their innocence (as opposed to merely failing to establish guilt or even failing to provide enough evidence to even attempt to establish guilt) can only be the result of irrationality.

They are actually in paranoid schizophrenic territory: "I know A is out to get me! Don't you see the way he wears that red tee shirt? He must be stopped!!". No amount of investigation or reasoning can dissuade the delusions. The problem is that these bozos have enough authority and guns to be a genuine danger to the unfortunate and innocent Mr. A.

Re:Eternally marked until forgiven by God--ie neve (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about 3 years ago | (#37544510)

That's what I'm thinking. How are you able to be targeted for "suspicion"?

Re:Eternally marked until forgiven by God--ie neve (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37544672)

In a time of war or global conflict, it is pretty safe to assume that there are shifts with sentiments as much as shifts with policies. Grudges held against a captor can always prompt a sense or need to somehow get even, even if the person of interest was rightfully detained in the first place.. Therein lies a reason that it is always preferable to treat a detainee with a certain amount of dignity. Rather than turn one into an outright enemy who may have not been one origionally or may have been on the fence still deciding.

Add to the many variables the fact that the militaries and policy makers ultimately must adhere to a higher set of standards and guidelines in regards to discretion when determining what would normally be a right guaranteed to the general population, for instance, would not be such under the UCMJ, (Uniform Code of Military Justice). Or, likewise the Pro-active Police force actions and possible martial law actions, curfews, checkpoints, random searches and identity checks, that all seem excessive unless you are in the middle of protecting yourself and others as well as the general population from very real dangers.

People, we are so lucky to be able to walk or drive to the grocery store without being pulled over or detained for umpteen months, that is some of us. This is War, and we are always just a heartbeat away from something really bad happening. Take heart and don't complain too much. It will get worse. To that, we should rest our confidence on and walk with a sense of alertness. Treating authorities with respect goes a long way also.

makes sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37544006)

Since it is not necessary to be charged with anything to get on the list, it would be logical that being acquitted would not get you off the list.

Re:makes sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37544586)

only in a Police State, Neighbour ...

Re:makes sense (1)

thelexx (237096) | about 3 years ago | (#37545542)

I think you meant Comrade.

Traffic stops and such (4, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | about 3 years ago | (#37544016)

That information shouldn't be available to police officers who are running people's plates, etc., because it will subject them to additional scrutiny. The presumption of innocence is something that's been badly eroded thanks to this bullsh*t about terrorism. Frankly, we could have a 9/11 every month and still not equal the number of deaths due to drunk driving -- and we don't have a 'suspected drunk driver' watch list. When the government has lists for everything that has a greater loss of life and property, then we can talk about 'terrorism'.

Re:Traffic stops and such (2)

Baloroth (2370816) | about 3 years ago | (#37544164)

and we don't have a 'suspected drunk driver' watch list.

We do in Minnesota: "Whiskey Plates" [nvo.com]

Re:Traffic stops and such (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37545316)

That is for people already convicted. Twice. Within ten years. They are definitely guilty.

Can cops be trusted to not treat whiskey plates as probably cause? Probably not. A better solution would be to revoke their licenses.

Re:Traffic stops and such (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37546450)

You don't need probable cause to pull someone over, just reasonable suspicion. The gp link indicates that the whiskey plates indeed provide reasonable suspicion as long as the driver matches the description of the person required to use them.

Re:Traffic stops and such (1)

Amouth (879122) | about 3 years ago | (#37545402)

so after two DWI's they put a W in front of the number? here we just revoke the licence (for 1year for first office for life after second)

Re:Traffic stops and such (1)

Obfuscant (592200) | about 3 years ago | (#37545956)

so after two DWI's they put a W in front of the number? here we just revoke the licence (for 1year for first office for life after second)

Hmm. So which is better? Assume that someone who has done something twice will be guilty of the same thing for the rest of his life and never let him drive again? Or let people around him know that he's been convicted of something twice so they can keep an eye on him and will be more likely to report suspicious driving (crossing the center line, crossing the fog line, sudden changes in speed, etc) but allow him to otherwise drive a car?

You know the W isn't for the cops, it is for the public. The cops have access to his driving history and can see everything, including tickets and DUIs.

Re:Traffic stops and such (1)

Amouth (879122) | about 3 years ago | (#37546420)

Right but DWI is completely and utterly avoidable. I understand the logic, first time was a bad decision on the drivers part - he has a year to learn from his mistakes. Second shows they don't care for the law and will do it anyways - so you take the privilege of driving away.

I'm of the mind that driving on public roads is a privilege to be earned via trust, not a right. If someone can't be trusted to follow the basics of motor vehicle safety they are show a disregard to the safety of others and putting others lives at risk for their own convince.

If they want to get drunk and go some place they can walk, ride a bike, call a cab, have a friend drive. But by no means should they be operating a car on public roads.

Re:Traffic stops and such (2)

am 2k (217885) | about 3 years ago | (#37546484)

In my country, DUI convicts who lose their license (which happens when they harm any person while in that state) just keep on driving without it... They can't lose it again, can they?

They're driving under the assumption that they aren't held up by the police anyways (otherwise, they wouldn't do it while drunk).

Re:Traffic stops and such (1)

sjames (1099) | about 3 years ago | (#37546706)

Unlike the terrorist watch list, at least the whiskey plates only happen after TWO actual convictions. Due process of law and an actual guilty finding, twice over.

The watch list just requires that some paranoid somewhere doesn't like the look of you. It would be as if you got whiskey plates because any cop anywhere thinks you look like you might like to party too much. You can't get rid of them even if a medical test shows you have never taken a drink in your life.

Re:Traffic stops and such (1)

drnb (2434720) | about 3 years ago | (#37544572)

Frankly, we could have a 9/11 every month and still not equal the number of deaths due to drunk driving

You are assuming that the weapons of the bad guys would not be upgraded beyond a fuel ladened jet.

Re:Traffic stops and such (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37544768)

Frankly, we could have a 9/11 every month and still not equal the number of deaths due to drunk driving

You are assuming that the weapons of the bad guys would not be upgraded beyond a fuel ladened jet.

It would be whiskey laden?

Re:Traffic stops and such (1)

mr1911 (1942298) | about 3 years ago | (#37545284)

Frankly, we could have a 9/11 every month and still not equal the number of deaths due to drunk driving

You are assuming that the weapons of the bad guys would not be upgraded beyond a fuel ladened jet.

You are assuming that the government would be able to stop it in any event.

Every act of "terror" thwarted since 9/11 has been due to ordinary citizens observing, and in many cases, acting. Your government overlords have done nothing but conditioned you unreasonable searches and unconstitutional "watch lists" are reasonable.

Not Guilty is Not Innocent (1)

gurps_npc (621217) | about 3 years ago | (#37544064)

I have to agree with what the FBI does. Courts declare that there is no evidence beyond a reasonable doubt. That is, if you think someone is probably guilty, but you have a reasonable doubt, you let him go.

The FBI should keep people on the watch list if they think he/she is probably guilty, even if they have a reasonable doubt about his guilt.

That said, the watch list as is, is worthless. Too many names - particularly without pictures or at least age/gender/description - are worse than not enough.

Re:Not Guilty is Not Innocent (5, Insightful)

idontgno (624372) | about 3 years ago | (#37544194)

Most curtailment of rights without the limits of due process--including the due process of acquittal--is contrary to the Constitution. Some "curtailment" has been historically tolerated, and usually this type of debasement of Constitutional protections has been in the interests of "public safety" or "national security", so this looks like a winning combination unless some judge has the courage to call a spade an implement with which to bury civil and human rights.

Re:Not Guilty is Not Innocent (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37544342)

Congratulations, you've added some grease to the already slippery slope. Well done, citizen.

On another note, your paperwork has been received and appears to be in order. You may now tie your shoes as requested.

"Repo Man" FBI Agents (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | about 3 years ago | (#37544390)

Agent Rogersz: Good evening, Otto. This is Agent Rogersz. I'm going to ask you a few questions. Since time is short and you may lie, I'm going to have to torture you. But I want you to know, it isn't personal.

Otto: This isn't really necessary. I'll tell you anything you want to know.

Leila: I don't think he knows.

Agent Rogersz: Increase the voltage!

Leila: But what if he's innocent?

Agent Rogersz: No one is innocent. Proceed.

Re:"Repo Man" FBI Agents (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37546628)

Otto: Alright, alright, I am going to apply for the job as the minister of justice of South Africa! Enough already,or I might talk some Italian and you don't want that.

Re:Not Guilty is Not Innocent (1)

Cro Magnon (467622) | about 3 years ago | (#37545424)

That said, the watch list as is, is worthless. Too many names - particularly without pictures or at least age/gender/description - are worse than not enough.

I don't know about that. Obviously, anyone with a first, last, or middle name of "Hussien" is a security threat and should be on the terror list.

Re:Not Guilty is Not Innocent (1)

mean pun (717227) | about 3 years ago | (#37546338)

I don't know about that. Obviously, anyone with a first, last, or middle name of "Hussien" is a security threat and should be on the terror list.

Yeah, you just can't trust those dyslectics.

Re:Not Guilty is Not Innocent (1)

sjames (1099) | about 3 years ago | (#37546726)

And the Constitution says you are innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law. Do you recommend we scrap that old rag?

IOW: used to harass people (4, Interesting)

denis-The-menace (471988) | about 3 years ago | (#37544070)

This just confirms the fears of such a list at the time it was created.

We have a police state.

If you don't have a badge, you have no rights.

Re:IOW: used to harass people (2)

MetalliQaZ (539913) | about 3 years ago | (#37544114)

Badge? I think you mean party member. Keep your comments double-plus good.

no no no no no... (1)

Lead Butthead (321013) | about 3 years ago | (#37546848)

We're still a free society, just that some (government officials/employees) are more equal than others (the "little" people.)

This makes plenty of sense (1)

erroneus (253617) | about 3 years ago | (#37544140)

The police forces work for the executive branches of government. They investigate and suspect people and when they feel they have enough evidence to make a conviction, they arrest and submit their case (and the suspect(s)) to another branch of government for trial.

I see no reason why, once processed by this other branch of government, the police forces need to stop being suspicious and watchful.

That said, it is highly inappropriate that there are no checks and balances against these government actions and programs like watch lists, no fly lists and so on. It removes much of the constitutional design of our government. Due process is critical to a civilized nation. Without it, citizens will not have peaceful recourse and they will take the only remaining options instead.

Re:This makes plenty of sense (1)

russotto (537200) | about 3 years ago | (#37544618)

The police forces work for the executive branches of government. They investigate and suspect people and when they feel they have enough evidence to make a conviction, they arrest and submit their case (and the suspect(s)) to another branch of government for trial.

Where they make statements designed to obtain a conviction (regardless of the truth of such statements), which are accepted unquestioningly over the testimony of others, because the police wear snazzy uniforms and can lie with a straight face.

The word of a cop is proof beyond reasonable doubt of your guilt. So if these lists get you noticed by cops, you're going to be convicted even if you're 100% innocent.

Re:This makes plenty of sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37544878)

Probably. The Supreme Court ruled last year that there is no constitutional right against being framed, ie., being convicted of trumped up charges, with trumped up evidence and lying witnesses. Troy Anthony Davis could have said something about that.

Re:This makes plenty of sense (1)

sjames (1099) | about 3 years ago | (#37546794)

Because their suspicions were found to be unwarranted by that other branch or in some cases, their own additional evidence convinced them that they couldn't win in court. If you can be suspected forever in spite of evidence and reason to the contrary and if that suspicion can have real consequences (like being barred from flying or marked for extra gate rape) then it defies the concept of innocent until proven guilty.

If the Constitution is null and void, then so is the United States and the FBI.

What's the big secret? (1)

nbauman (624611) | about 3 years ago | (#37544190)

I don't know why they couldn't release the names of the people on the watchlist.

If you're on, you find out fast enough once you try to board a plane.

Absolutely nothing new, unfortunately. (3, Interesting)

Bieeanda (961632) | about 3 years ago | (#37544196)

The US government has kept a list of 'undesirables' for decades, going far back beyond the current abusive relationship with terrorism accusations. They just used to call it the Red List, because it was originally intended to keep commies out.

My Discovery of America [wikimedia.org] is probably my favourite story of this persistent debacle-- and its events occurred in 1985, not 2011!

Constitutional? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37544210)

The article implies that someone could be on the much more onerous Do Not Fly list, where you are banned from getting on a plane at all, when they have not been convicted of a crime. Supposedly, there are 500 American citizens on that list. For all practical purposes, that is a prohibition from being able to freely travel. There are plenty of places where an airliner is the only practical way to get there in a reasonable time. In fact, more broadly, out of all possible destinations on the globe most of them are only really reachable by airliner starting from any other point.

Perhaps those 500 people actually have warrants out for their arrest, and they are considered high enough priority to be added to the list. (since at any given time in the U.S., there must be millions of people with a warrant out on them for something, but apparently you can take a domestic flight despite most possible warrants)

Makes sense to me... (2)

NevarMore (248971) | about 3 years ago | (#37544270)

If someone was put on a list, charged with crimes and then cleared I would consider that person to be a risk for being a terrorist. They're probably pretty cross with the US of A after going through all that and might try to get revenge.

Re:Makes sense to me... (1)

denis-The-menace (471988) | about 3 years ago | (#37544622)

This makes senses since the USA has nothing but Good Guys(tm) running the government. Therefore the list is perfect and is never used to punish people that pissed off people in power or money.

Re:Makes sense to me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37545296)

Ya because that's completely constitutional, right?

Re:Makes sense to me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37545704)

So, adding innocent people to the terrorist list may eventually create new terrorists?

Yeah, that does make sense.

Re:Makes sense to me... (2)

sjames (1099) | about 3 years ago | (#37546812)

So you're saying we should just do away with that whole court thing and tell law enforcement to just go ahead and lock people up based on their best judgement?

What's wrong with this? (1)

artor3 (1344997) | about 3 years ago | (#37544286)

If a mobster gets a not guilty verdict at a trial, does the FBI have to destroy their dossier on him? Of course not. It's their job to keep tabs on people they consider dangerous. If a terrorist gets a not guilty verdict on the grounds that the prosecution's case was based on illegally obtained information, then the FBI should absolutely keep him on the watch list.

It is good that people can't be locked up unless proven guilty of a crime, even if those people have associated with known terrorist groups.

It is also good that law enforcement officers can keep an eye on people that have associated with known terrorist groups, even if those people haven't actually committed a crime.

Re:What's wrong with this? (3, Insightful)

bigtrike (904535) | about 3 years ago | (#37544348)

And what if I call your name in as a faulty tip, and the tip is cleared as bogus, but you suddenly no longer have the same rights and privileges as everyone else?

Re:What's wrong with this? (1)

Virtucon (127420) | about 3 years ago | (#37544774)

You have rights, those don't go away but now you're on the list. Just think of it as the FBI friending you on Facebook and you'll be fine.

Re:What's wrong with this? (1)

mr1911 (1942298) | about 3 years ago | (#37545354)

So, what flavor is the Kool Aid?

Re:What's wrong with this? (2)

sjames (1099) | about 3 years ago | (#37546842)

That and being forever flagged for the extended pat-down at the airport or even actually barred from flying.

Let's try an experiment. Tell us your real name and address and we'll phone in a few anonymous tips. You can report back on how you hadn't noticed.

Re:What's wrong with this? (1)

amRadioHed (463061) | about 3 years ago | (#37544858)

That would be wrong, but is that what is happening? The situation the OP proposed is entirely reasonable, the situation you propose is not. Unless we know which is nearer to what is actually happening we can't very well judge if it's wrong or not.

Re:What's wrong with this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37545082)

Actually we can judge. The laws of statistics and corruption guarantee that innocent people will be put on the list and not be taken off when cleared. Its the policy that is wrong. If governments want freedom to be so invasive they must work double-time to clean up their own messes.

You're assuming the system is perfect (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37545198)

The situation the OP proposed is entirely reasonable,...

What?!?

This is what the OP said:

If a terrorist gets a not guilty verdict on the grounds that the prosecution's case was based on illegally obtained information, then the FBI should absolutely keep him on the watch list.

So, you and the OP are assuming that:

1. Law enforcement is always right when they arrest someone and they have no other motives than getting the "bad guy".
2. Prosecutors only prosecute guilty people and they never make mistakes either or are swayed by political ambition. Here's an example of a prosecutor with a lot of ambition who went after the wrong (read as rich kids who had the means to fight bogus charges and system) people. [wikipedia.org]

Or have a look at the peaceful protestors in NY right now who are being assaulted and battered by police.

Please, the system is corrupt and when a society and government have secret lists, it makes a mockery of our "free" and "open" society. And until these asinine lists that allow stupid people to feel safe are disposed of, we are not a free country.

Re:What's wrong with this? (1)

sjames (1099) | about 3 years ago | (#37546894)

Well, let's see. Being acquitted isn't enough and having the charges dismissed (meaning the evidence is so weak that it's not worth a trial) isn't enough. It seems questionable if anything is enough to get off the list.

Just how long must such a person be on "unofficial probation"?

"summer camp" in somalia (1)

drnb (2434720) | about 3 years ago | (#37545066)

And what if I call your name in as a faulty tip, and the tip is cleared as bogus, ...

Then the name should be removed from the list.

On the other hand, if a person did indeed do nothing more than attend "summer camp" in somalia, yemen or the pakistani tribal regions then they probably should be on a list. How to treat people on that list is an entirely different discussion.

Re:What's wrong with this? (2)

bberens (965711) | about 3 years ago | (#37544376)

I'm okay with them doing what they do right up until it infringes on a person's rights to do things like travel throughout the country... or even out of the country.

Re:What's wrong with this? (1)

Virtucon (127420) | about 3 years ago | (#37544504)

It's not a "dossier" it's a File in this country. You sound like somebody from France! Papers Please!

Re:What's wrong with this? (1)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | about 3 years ago | (#37544566)

It is also good that law enforcement officers can keep an eye on people that have associated with known terrorist groups, even if those people haven't actually committed a crime.

I think Kevin Bacon linked to Al Qaeda [theonion.com] nicely sums up the problem there. Particularly if the "linking" is done in secret, without any rules of evidence.

Re:What's wrong with this? (1)

SleazyRidr (1563649) | about 3 years ago | (#37545654)

If people on the watch list were still allowed to travel on airplanes (like people under police investigation) then I'd agree with you.

All suspects are guilty (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37544352)

If they weren't guilty they wouldn't be suspect.

Re:All suspects are guilty (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37544826)

I suspect the Police and senior level elected officials of wrong-doing and in fact outright crimes and frauds against the Citizen, up to and including Treason and Crimes Against Humanity ... where do I submit their names etc for building a file, and placing them under constant surveillance in the interest of the Citizen? Rise Up my Friends and Push Back, Hard.

Oh sure... (1)

Virtucon (127420) | about 3 years ago | (#37544440)

Just because you've been cleared or acquitted doesn't mean you'll think about becoming a terrorist in the future! We're just keeping the rest of the
public safe from your future impure thoughts!

If you look at all those detainees released from GitMo, [cnn.com] you'll find a lot of them, 25%, have wound up being captured or KiAs so it stands to the governments backward logic that once you're on the list, you stay on the list.

Re:Oh sure... (1)

radtea (464814) | about 3 years ago | (#37545420)

If you look at all those detainees released from GitMo, [cnn.com] you'll find a lot of them, 25%, have wound up being captured or KiAs so it stands to the governments backward logic that once you're on the list, you stay on the list.

Conversely, we can conclude that 75% of them did nothing but happen to be standing in the wrong place at the wrong time? Not counting the illegally detailed child soldiers like Omar Kadr, of course.

The FBI is like Facebook (1)

Dinghy (2233934) | about 3 years ago | (#37544522)

They never delete their data on you.

At least it's consistent (1)

davidwr (791652) | about 3 years ago | (#37544526)

Person A is "reasonably suspected" of a terrorist crime but not charged because the prosecutor knows he can prove guilt "almost but not quite" up to the standard of "reasonable doubt" and if it goes to a jury there will be an acquittal. The person is put on the watch list.

Person B is charged and acquitted because the jury had "reasonable doubt" and is kept on the watch list.

While I personally think the standard for being on the watch list in the first place should be about the same as the standard to get a conviction, the reality is, it's not. Since it's not, it's reasonable that SOME people will meet the standard for getting/staying on the watch list but not meet the standard for a criminal conviction. Whether these people were never brought to trial or whether they were acquitted because the prosecution "almost but not quite" proved the case beyond a reasonable doubt does not change whether they meet the standard for being on the watch list.

==
Of course, there are many other reasons people on the watch list aren't brought to trial. Perhaps the investigation is ongoing. Perhaps they are out of the country. Etc. etc. SOME of these people would be convicted if brought to trial.

==
As I said before, the terror watch-list and similar lists should have a standard of proof similar to that of a criminal conviction, particularly for people who are in the United States and are not evading being served notice of a hearing.

Not my problem! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37544534)

Well I am not going to complain about this because I don't want to be added to the list. :-)

FBI optout program (1)

bitt3n (941736) | about 3 years ago | (#37544544)

As official spokesman for the FBI, I wish to inform you that we have implemented a new opt-out program to address your concerns. If you wish to opt out of the watch list, simply let us know and we will remove you from it. Simple, huh?

But we won't stop there. Want to be taken off our list of people who were once on the watch list? No problem! Just say the word.

But maybe that's not enough. Maybe you want to get taken off the list of people who were once on the list of people who were on the watch list. Seems a little paranoid, but fine.

Still not satisfied? Just keep making opt-out requests until you're happy. Hell, you can even have us opt you out once every millisecond. What more do you people want?

Good thing, too (1)

smellsofbikes (890263) | about 3 years ago | (#37544610)

It's nice to know this. Eventually we'll all be on the list, and then it'll just formalize what's been the case all along. And hey added bonus then when Wikileaks publishes the list, we all can tell who the truly dangerous people are because they're the only ones with the influence to not be on the list.

Mr. Neo. (1)

hel1xx (2468044) | about 3 years ago | (#37544634)

"The New York Times is running a story about it as well saying the data is even used by local police officers to check names during traffic stops."

Agent Smith: We're willing to wipe the slate clean, give you a fresh start. All that we're asking in return is your cooperation in bringing a known terrorist to justice.

Guilty (1)

DaMattster (977781) | about 3 years ago | (#37544722)

It used to be that you were innocent until proven guilty, then you were guilty until proven innoven, and now you are still guilty even when proven innocent. So much for democracy in action.

Read your history.. (1)

Paracelcus (151056) | about 3 years ago | (#37544746)

During the French revolution you could be "denounced" then beheaded.
During the 1917 Russian revolution you could be "denounced" then shot or tortured, then shot.
During Stalin's pogroms everybody was denouncing everybody else, they were all shot.
The Nazi's turned government sponsored murder into a form of industry.

Why do you think that older people who have a good grasp of history say that this (Homeland/Security/Terrorism theater) can only lead to Interment camps and execution squads?

If you trust ANY government you are a FOOL!
Keep your bags packed, money hidden and a spare passport ready, because no matter how egregious the evil, it's all "for your protection"!

Re:Read your history.. (1)

kevinNCSU (1531307) | about 3 years ago | (#37546416)

Why do you think that older people who have a good grasp of history say that this (Homeland/Security/Terrorism theater) can only lead to Interment camps and execution squads?

Because they have a less firm grasp of the slippery slope fallacy?

Due process? What's that? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37544760)

We live in an era where an accusation is enough to damage somebody's career, even their life. No proof needed, no evidence, nothing. Just the accusation.

Some years ago I found myself on the wrong end of a sexual harassment complaint. It was completely baseless, the result of a 3rd party misinterpreting something that was none of their business in the first place. The other person was just as horrified as I was. Nevertheless, the only response I could offer was on my knees begging to keep my job. And it proved, in the long run, to be career-limiting.

Imagine the consequences if something really had happened. Ouch.

Of-course they do (1)

roman_mir (125474) | about 3 years ago | (#37544800)

CIA and FBI as well as pretty much all other 3 letter agencies need to be abolished. That's why Ron Paul is being shunned by the MSM - because they are being pressured by all those agencies as well as by corporations that stand to lose various privileges and government contracts (especially the military and people involved in destroying your liberties and your money.)

The one thing that I love about these articles ... (2, Insightful)

MacTO (1161105) | about 3 years ago | (#37544812)

The one thing that I love about these articles is that they always bring out the paranoids who believe that we are days away from living in a totalitarian state simply because they have studied certain chapters in their history books and ignored others.

Re:The one thing that I love about these articles (1)

dbet (1607261) | about 3 years ago | (#37545930)

And I love people who look the other way when the government tramples on its citizens because they prefer to live in a world where the U.S. is "the good guys" even if that world is a fantasy.

Re:The one thing that I love about these articles (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37546322)

Hey, I don't rock the boat and they don't bother me, just like the most of us. Only 3.1 % of the US adult population under correctional supervision (prison, parole or probation) - surely that doesn't count as a police state. After all, we are here freely discussing US policy without anyone looking over us (not counting the NSA of course). And protest in the real world is simarly allowed by the police, which is quite a difference to the real police states in the world.

Re:The one thing that I love about these articles (1)

Nihilomnis (2469528) | about 3 years ago | (#37546208)

I'll only rest my eyes for a bit.

Re:The one thing that I love about these articles (1)

BoRegardless (721219) | about 3 years ago | (#37546266)

Absolutely correcto on this.

Unfortunately for the "statists", we will have a revolution at one of two stages and they will be dumped.

#1: Ballot box throws them out.

#2: Physical revolution throws them out.

History books are clear on this. I read those certain chapters and watched all those states that have fallen. Some will fall again and again.

Shouldn't the horrifying thing be... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37544820)

FBI puts never accused and never convicted people on the watch list? I mean if you can put anyone on it for any reason why is it a surprise they keep people on it after trials?

Welcome to the Corporate States of America... (5, Insightful)

Eggplant62 (120514) | about 3 years ago | (#37544832)

We have you right where we want you, meek and scared. Please leave your Liberty at the door, walk right in, get in queue over there, we'll give you your ID number and your occupational specialty. Then get in that line and we'll screen you with your urine sample to determine whether or not you use any substances that may somehow render your unable to work in our eyes.

It's all about control, folks, and you've lost every shred of it.

Re:Welcome to the Corporate States of America... (1)

Captain Sarcastic (109765) | about 3 years ago | (#37545998)

Well, I'm proud to be an American, where at least I know I'm free
Just as long as I toe the party line, and carry my ID
So won't you kneel down next to me, so we can begin to pray?
'Cause there ain't no doubt we've lost this land - God help the USA!

(With appropriate apologies to Mr. Greenwood)

Dropped Charges? (1)

roachdabug (1198259) | about 3 years ago | (#37545202)

Since when do you need to be actually charged with something to be on the watch list?

You ARE my Subjects: You must submit. (1)

BoRegardless (721219) | about 3 years ago | (#37545488)

Big brother needs to watch you for the good of all.

Everyone who is stopped needs to post their name (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37545926)

Everyone who is stopped needs to publicly post their name in some central place.
This could become a list for people to check to see if they are on the list. Before you ask the FBI in a FOI request, you could check the list.

If your name IS on the list, you could allow extra time.

Oh dear- my name, John R Smith is on the list. I am not a senator who can get my name removed, so I need to allow 4 hours on check in on a airline.

Reasonable Suspicion (1)

Kozar_The_Malignant (738483) | about 3 years ago | (#37546132)

>the individual must still meet the reasonable suspicion standard in order to remain on, or be subsequently nominated to, the terrorist watch list

Reasonable suspicion includes:

  • Funny name
  • Speaks funny language like French or some such we can't understand
  • Wears funny clothes
  • Once dated a girl from Athens (including Ohio and Georgia because we get confused)
  • Traveled outside the US to any place except Tijuana
  • Lives in California

A National "Law-Enforcement" Data-Base (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37546930)

A National "Law Enforcement" Data-Base was begun in the later 1960's. It has been expanded in all ways made possible by addition, accretion and technology since its introduction. All law enforcement agencies, and many others, have access, increasingly easily and readily as communication technology has increased facility. Restrictions of access to the data-base are per local rules. Local files tend to be automatically uploaded, virtually as in exchange for search. Local agencies may be able to restrict data upload, to keep, for example, local traffic or juvenile, education and such files from uploading to the national data-base, but most likely not effectively. "Infraction" and "juvenile" are flag terms, but normally-on or normally-off will be settable.

All data that is uploaded to the data-base is, or should be, considered permanent record, always there, never erased, never fully erasable. Early on some was routinely erased, but as storage space increased the better-to-have-what's-not-needed-than-not-have-what-is perspective has prevailed. In any case, since the all data is downloadable by all agencies and offices, the Wikileaks Cables paradigm should be assumed, per which it must be assumed that copies of any evolution were made by someone, which copy may be accessed and read by someone curious.

Any and all police records identified by any number, SS, DL, Booking number, Event or Incident Report, Citation, summons, service, case, etc. number, and so on, can be obtained in correlation to any of those numbers. Numbers tend to be cross-index between, sometimes with codes to indicate when and what agency's records contain additional data. There are, of course, wrong numbers and erroneous entries, which become permanent unerasable parts of the records, too.

This is the 21st century, the computer age. Data, including errors, is easy to store, records are easy to clone-copy. Corrections of errors require expensive human-time to correct. You have to assume any record ever made about you is kept in copies in various somewheres, errors and all. Several of these somewheres are unknown and don't know, themselves, they have the data, or care. Most will never search to learn they have, or what they have. In most locations your data will remain until the media storing it degenerates, disintegrates and rots.. Some of the data stored is stored in digital storage forms the storers no longer have software, or hardware, to read.

The consequence of all this is that since the advent of unlimited digital storage availability, we the citizens of Earth's advanced cultures have all been, and are being, progressively "microchipped". The difference between our real-event microchipping and science-fiction's microchip implanting scenarios is that our microships are implanted not in us, but in tens of thousands of copies in as many upload and download locations, in thousands of different computer systems. Some copies are authorized copies, some are unauthorized, including copies downloaded by private parties, corporations, government agencies and interested-for-any-reason emplooyees of those, and a variety of foreign government, corporate, NGO, curious and even hit-it-lucky kiddie, hackers' computers and storage banks.

Today we are cells of our societies. Our personal electronic records are our individual electronic celular DNA. They are what make us us. Make you 'you' and me 'me' in the society around us, and in the narratives invented by any others anywhere else that searches for 'you' or for 'me' may bring our records up, purposely, per curiousity, or accidentally.

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