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Statement supporting U.S Representative Debbie Dingell’s Letter Requesting Audit of the Terrorist Screening Database



August 24, 2021 


PRESS CONTACT:  Noor Hindi |

Statement supporting U.S Representative Debbie Dingell’s Letter Requesting Audit of the Terrorist Screening Database 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – ACCESS commends Congresswoman Debbie Dingell for her action taken to demand accountability and transparency from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) regarding the No-Fly List and Selectee List.  

ACCESS D.C. Policy Manager Adam Beddawi gave the following statement: 

“The No-Fly List and Selectee List are remnants of a dark and pernicious period in recent American political history. Over the years, the FBI and DHS placed thousands of Americans, a disproportionate percentage of whom are of MENA (Middle Eastern and North African) origin, on these lists. Many of these placements are erroneous. As Rep. Dingell states, “these errors have a profound impact on affected individuals that continue to this day, subjecting innocent, law-abiding Americans to unnecessary scrutiny and distress.” Additionally, there is reason to suspect that names on these lists are shared with foreign governments and private businesses. To make matters worse, there is no clear and promulgated process for challenging one’s placement on these lists.  

In a matter of months, we will arrive at the 20th anniversary of Congress’ passage of the USA PATRIOT and Homeland Security Acts. These pieces of legislation altered the fundamental relation between Americans and the intelligence community. However, the passage of time and attendant benefit of hindsight invites us to think beyond these old modes of national security. For inspiration, we need not look far. 45 years ago, the United States Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities, otherwise known as the Church Committee, investigated the clandestine surveillance activities of the American intelligence community. Chief among these activities was COINTELPRO (the counterintelligence program), under which the American intelligence community spied on dissident activists on the American Left, including Arab Americans who demonstrated support for the Black freedom struggle, the Palestinian cause, or both. The Church Committee invited Congress to establish clear structures of accountability, transparency, and oversight between the American public and intelligence community.  

We thank Rep. Dingell for her advocacy on this issue. By continuing to hold appointed officials accountable to the public trust, she invites us all to move beyond old and since-discredited modes of national security. 


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