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US uses vague rules for terror watchlist

NCTC staff at the National Counterterrorism Center on October 6, 2009 in McLean, VirginiaUS authorities can place Americans and foreigners on a terrorist watchlist indefinitely on the basis of vague rules without concrete evidence, according to a government document leaked Wednesday. Once blacklisted, individuals have no way of finding out why they are deemed suspicious and even dead people’s names remain on the list, under the secret guidelines set out last year by the National Counter-Terrorism Center (NCTC), which were published for the first time by The Intercept news website. The new rules introduced by President Barack Obama’s administration represent an expansion of the US government’s power in overseeing the terrorist database, laying out broad criteria for adding names to the blacklists, The Intercept reported. US authorities took a tougher approach to the watchlists after Al-Qaeda militant Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab tried to blow up an airliner bound for Detroit on Christmas Day 2009.

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