U.S. terrorist watchlist grows to 2 million people — nearly doubling in 6 years

The U.S. government’s terrorist watchlist has nearly doubled in size in just six years, a CBS Reports investigation has found. 

An extensive review of court records, government documents and interviews with more than a dozen current and former intelligence community leaders revealed that the consolidated database of individuals has not only been quietly expanding in number but also in who it targets.

The numbers speak for themselves. When it first launched on Dec. 1, 2003, the consolidated watchlist — now known as the Terrorist Screening Dataset — included approximately 120,000 people. By 2017, the last publicly confirmed numbers, it included nearly 10 times as many: 1,160,000 individuals. Now, at the end of 2023, the Terrorist Screening Dataset contains the names of approximately 2 million people the government considers known or suspected terrorists, including thousands of Americans, according to a CBS Reports investigation