Terrorist Watchlist: Routinely Assessing Impacts of Agency Actions since the December 25, 2009, Attempted Attack Could Help Inform Future Efforts, Report to Congressional Requesters   [open pdf - 535KB]

"The December 25, 2009, attempted bombing of Northwest Flight 253 exposed weaknesses in how the federal government nominated individuals to the terrorist watchlist and gaps in how agencies used the list to screen individuals to determine if they posed a security threat. In response, the President tasked agencies to take corrective actions. GAO [Government Accountability Office] was asked to assess (1) government actions since the incident to strengthen the nominations process, (2) how the composition of the watchlist has changed based on these actions, and (3) how agencies are addressing gaps in screening processes. GAO analyzed government reports, the guidance used by agencies to nominate individuals to the watchlist, data on the volumes of nominations from January 2009 through May 2011, the composition of the list, and the outcomes of screening agency programs. GAO also interviewed officials from intelligence, law enforcement, and screening agencies to discuss changes to policies, guidance, and processes and related impacts on agency operations and the traveling public, among other things. This report is a public version of the classified report that GAO issued in December 2011 and omits certain information, such as details on the nominations guidance and the specific outcomes of screening processes. GAO recommends that the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism ensure that the outcomes and impacts of agencies' actions to strengthen nominations and screening processes are routinely assessed. Technical comments were provided and incorporated."

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Government Accountability Office: http://www.gao.gov/
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