Who’s on What Watch List?

Understanding the differences among various terror watch lists

The no-fly and selectee lists cover about 2,500 Americans. (Roll Call file photo)
The no-fly and selectee lists cover about 2,500 Americans. (Roll Call file photo)
Posted June 21, 2016 at 7:33am

As the Senate considers legislation restricting gun purchases by people on terror watch lists, it’s important to understand what list they’re talking about. Here are definitions of key ones:

Consolidated terrorist watchlist

  • Covers about 1.1 million people
  • Includes individuals suspected by the federal government of being involved in terrorist activities or associated with people who are
  • Created in 2003

No-Fly and Selectee lists

  • Covers about 109,000 people, including 2,500 Americans.
  • The no-fly list includes individuals prohibited from flying in or out of the United States because they are considered by the federal government of being a direct threat to U.S. civil aircraft
  • The selectee list includes individuals who will receive additional screening before flying because of concerns that they are a threat to U.S. civil aircraft
  • Created in 1990

Sources: Government Accountability Office, FBI, Congressional Research Service

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