A Single Tip Now Lands You on Terror Watch List

Officials change criteria in Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab's wake
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 30, 2010 12:22 PM CST

(Newser) – Be careful: The feds learned a lesson from the underwear bomber, and now all it takes is a single tip to land you on the terrorist watch list. Concerns were raised after Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab wasn’t placed on the list, despite his father informing US officials of his son’s radicalization. Now, the criteria have been altered so that credible single-source tips can lead to a name’s placement on the list, the Washington Post reports.

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With the move, officials have “effectively in a broad stroke lowered the bar for inclusion,” says a senior counterterrorism official. Civil liberties groups are concerned the new criteria could lead to privacy violations and travel difficulties for people who pose no threat. “They are secret lists with no way for people to petition to get off or even to know if they're on,” says a lawyer for the ACLU, but officials say law-abiding people have been successfully kept off the list, and that the change in criteria will keep us safer.
(Read more Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab stories.)

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