The Intercept has obtained a government document authorizing a secret process to designate a person as a suspected terrorist without requiring either concrete evidence or facts in making the determination.
Representatives of 19 different agencies, including the NSA, CIA and the Pentagon, secretly developed the “March 2013 Watchlisting Guidance” document that both broadly defines terrorist activity and creates a low threshold for defining a terrorist.
Rather than limiting the definition of terrorism activity to known and obvious actions such as hostage-taking, hijacking and bombing, the document adds lesser crimes such as damaging financial institution computers or government property among those warranting placement on the watchlist. In addition, rather than limiting the watchlist to known terrorists, the watchlist includes individuals who are merely suspected of associating with suspected terrorists, something Gianfrancesco is a little nervy about.
The combination is counterproductive. Rather than focusing resources on watching known individuals who are genuine risks to our national security, precious energy and resources are wasted blacklisting and tracking people who are not threats at all and who now have the Herculean task of proving their innocence when they show up on the government’s no fly list.
The Intercept has published the complete 166-page document on its website.