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Tsarnaev Just One of 875K Names in Terrorist Database

List has added 330K new names in five years
By Ruth Brown,  Newser Staff
Posted May 3, 2013 11:30 AM CDT
Tsarnaev Just One of 875K Names in Terrorist Database
Tamerlan Tsarnaev.   (AP Photo/The Lowell Sun, Julia Malakie, File)

Tamerlan Tsarnaev may have been flagged as a potential terrorist on a central intelligence database, but so were about 875,000 others—a statistic that has prompted some to question whether the master list has grown too unwieldy to be effective. Now we know just how quickly it has grown: A US official says the Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment (or TIDE) database has swelled from 540,000 to 875,000 names in five years, Reuters reports.

Proponents emphasize it's not intended as a "watch list": Suspected terrorists' children are on it, and Ford Motor Company is rumored to have an entry as well, reports the LA Times. Rather, TIDE is used to inform more specific databases, such as the FBI's "no-fly" list. An official tells Reuters that intelligence agencies' ability to pull the data they need from TIDE has only sharpened as the database has expanded. But one counter-terror policy expert isn't so sure: "What you want is more focus, not less focus. It can't be just about quantity. It has to be about specificity." (More TIDE stories.)

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