Activists are battling Washington over a list that tagged some 20,000 people as suspected terrorists last year, the Washington Post reports. Yet only a fraction of them were arrested, prompting critics to doubt the list’s value. Cases of a civil rights activist held for hours and a Cleveland resident detained repeatedly for unnamed “national security reasons” are adding fire under the political pot.
Washington says that the list is just as useful for tracking suspects as it is for making arrests. "There are many potentially dangerous individuals who fly beneath the radar of enforceable actions and who are every bit as sinister as those we intercept," says Customs. But the ACLU has filed suit for 10 Muslim Americans who say they have been unfairly detained and ill-treated because they were on the list.