The “Watch List”

What is the watch list?

Watch List is our nation’s version of the “Naughty List” without Santa Claus.  If you are on the “Naughty List,” good luck trying to board a plane, enter the United States of America or receive a visa without a couple of crazy weeks or… months.

The government is up front about having the Watch List; they don’t try to make it secret… however, the names of people on that Watch List are “hush-hush” and only made available to businesses and organizations (like banks, airports, etc.)  This list is huge (over 755,000 names and pseudo-names) and was once multiple lists that were being shuffled around to all the federal agencies.

The FBI Terrorist Screening Center (TSC) brought all of them together to create one BIG MASTER LIST: “The Watch List.”  (This all came about when President Bush signed the Homeland Security Presidential Directive 6 in 2003.) 

To be on the list, the person would have to be suspected or have engaged in behavior of any sort relating to terrorism.  For example:  have a criminal record for terrorist-related activities or known terrorist associations/organizations OR be an active member in an extremist group.  If a name matches a name on this watch list, their life can change dramatically.

You may be:

Flagged for things regulated by the federal government:

  • Air travel (53,000 people were stopped and questioned from December 2003 to May 2007… but most were released for lack of evidence.  
  • Border crossings
  • Speeding ticket
  • Engage in other suspicious terrorist activity

Flagged from the public list when trying to:

  • Open a bank account
  • Do any sort of financial transfers
  • Buy a car
  • Rent a car, etc

So… let’s just say every financial move can become monitored. Watch list people are specifically not allowed to do ANY financial business within the U.S.

Are you OFAC compliant?

If your organization/business conducts business with someone on this list, your business might be added to the Watch List.  If you are unsure about the thoroughness of your ability to check the list, just give us a call. We help organizations search all the names thoroughly without negatively impacting your business.