CBP Withholds Data On Terror Watchlist Encounters At Border

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has denied a Freedom of Information Act request seeking data on the nationalities of individuals on the FBI’s terror watchlist who were arrested by Border Patrol agents at the southern border.

In its response to Fox News, which filed the request in October, CBP cited exemptions related to personal privacy and law enforcement techniques as reasons for withholding the information.

“The privacy interests of the individuals in the records you have requested outweigh any minimal public interest in disclosure of the information,” the agency stated in its rejection letter.

The decision has drawn criticism from Republicans, who argue that the public has a right to know about potential terror threats entering the country illegally.

According to CBP data, there have been 80 encounters of individuals on the Terrorist Screening Dataset (TSDS) between ports of entry so far this year, compared to 172 in fiscal year 2023 and 98 in fiscal 2022.

The TSDS contains information on known or suspected terrorists, as well as individuals who may represent a potential threat to the United States.

While CBP maintains that encounters with watchlisted individuals at the borders are “very uncommon,” the agency’s refusal to provide nationality data has raised questions about transparency and accountability in the face of the ongoing border crisis.

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