Terrorist Watchlist Screening: FBI Has Enhanced Its Use of Information from Firearm and Explosives Background Checks to Support Counterterrorism Efforts

GAO-10-703T Published: May 05, 2010. Publicly Released: May 05, 2010.
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Membership in a terrorist organization does not prohibit a person from possessing firearms or explosives under current federal law. However, for homeland security and other purposes, the FBI is notified when a firearm or explosives background check involves an individual on the terrorist watchlist. This statement addresses (1) how many checks have resulted in matches with the terrorist watchlist, (2) how the FBI uses information from these checks for counterterrorism purposes, and (3) pending legislation that would give the Attorney General authority to deny certain checks. GAO's testimony is based on products issued in January 2005 and May 2009 and selected updates in March and April 2010. For these updates, GAO reviewed policies and other documentation and interviewed officials at FBI components involved with terrorism-related background checks.

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