from The Burning Platform:
FOIA Lawsuit for Terrorist “Hands Off” List Shows Almost 1,000 Individuals Removed from Terror Watch List
Judicial Watch announced today that it obtained 183 pages of documents from the Department of Homeland Security revealing that the Obama administration scrubbed the law enforcement agency’s “Terrorist Screening Database” in order to protect what it considered the civil rights of suspected Islamic terrorist groups. The documents appear to confirm charges that Obama administration changes created a massive “hands off” list. Removed data from the terrorist watch list could have helped prevent the San Bernardino terrorist attack.
The new documents were produced in response to a Judicial Watch February 2015 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit filed on February 13, 2015, (Judicial Watch v U.S. Department of Homeland Security (No. 1:15-cv-00222)) for:
- A copy of the [Department of Homeland Security] Office of Inspector General report regarding, concerning, or related to a “hands off list” purportedly maintained by [Department of Homeland Security], US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and/or US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) used to allow certain individuals to enter the United States, who had previously been denied entry to the United States or been made to undergo secondary screening by CBP based on suspicion of terrorism ties.
- Any and all records of communication to or from [Department of Homeland Security] Inspector General Charles Edwards from May 31, 2014 regarding the aforementioned OIG report.
On May 6, 2014, Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) released internal Department of Homeland Security emails revealing an alleged terrorist “hands off” list allowing individuals with potential terrorist ties into the United States. Allegations by former Customs and Border Patrol Officer Philip Haney spurred Senator Grassley’s and other congressional investigations.
The new Homeland Security documents confirm the modification of nearly 1,000 terrorist suspect reports. The September 25, 2013, Department of Homeland Security Inspector General memorandum regarding Haney’s terror watch list entries, discloses that the Department of Homeland Security Privacy Office and Department of Homeland Security Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties “determined that individuals could only be “‘watchlisted’ based on an association with a known or suspected terrorist already ‘watchlisted’… not based on their affiliation with [REDACTED] (or any other [REDACTED] organization.” The redactions are under Exemption 7 (E), which the government asserts in this instance:
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