Information Technology: Terrorist Watch Lists Should Be Consolidated to Promote Better Integration and Sharing, Report to Congressional Requesters   [open pdf - 1MB]

Terrorist and criminal watch list systems--sometimes referred to as watchout, lookout, target, or tip-off systems--are important tools in controlling and protecting our nation's borders. The events of September 11, 2001, and other incidents since then, have highlighted the need to share these watch lists. In light of the importance of border security, GAO was asked to identify federal databases and systems that contain watch lists, the agencies that maintain and use them in protecting our nation's borders, the kind of data they contain, whether federal agencies are sharing information from these lists with each other and with state and local governments and private organizations, the structural characteristics of those lists that are automated, and whether opportunities exist to consolidate these watch lists. GAO recommends that the Secretary of DHS, in collaboration with the heads of the other departments and agencies that have and use watch lists, lead an effort to consolidate and standardize the federal government's watch list structures and policies. DHS and other departments involved in this study generally agreed with GAO's findings and recommendations.

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Government Accountability Office (GAO): http://www.gao.gov/
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