THE US GOVERNMENT believs there is a new Edward Snowden, that is, another whistleblower who is exposing national security documents, following the NSA surveillance revelations that unfolded last summer.
The claim has been made by US officials who told news outlet CNN that a news story published on Tuesday by The Intercept - the news site launched by Glenn Greenwald, who also published Snowden's leaks - was based on leaked national security documents.
The leaked documents, called the "Directorate of Terrorist Identities (DTI) Strategic Accomplishments 2013", were prepared by the National Counterterrorism Centre (NCTC) and stamped with the words "SECRET/NOFORN", which mean that they aren't for sharing, including with foreign governments.
However, Reuters has reported that an official "familiar with the matter" said that the government doesn't know of a second leaker, contradicting the CNN report.
The Intercept article concentrates on government databases of known or suspected terrorist names during the Obama administration. It also observes that nearly half of the people named in the US government's database of terrorist suspects have not been connected with any known terrorist group.
The Intercept article notes that of the 680,000 people caught up in the government's Terrorist Screening Database - a watchlist of "known or suspected terrorists" that is shared with local law enforcement agencies, private contractors, and foreign governments - more than 40 percent are described by the government as having "no recognised terrorist group affiliation".
"That category - 280,000 people - dwarfs the number of watchlisted people suspected of ties to al Qaeda, Hamas, and Hezbollah combined," the article reports.
The article also claims the leaked document shows that the Obama administration has presided over an unprecedented expansion of the terrorist screening system.
"Since taking office, Obama has boosted the number of people on the no-fly list more than 10-fold, to an all-time high of 47,000 - surpassing the number of people barred from flying under George W. Bush," the article reports. µ
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