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U.S. counterterror database spikes

It's no secret that the U.S. surveillance dragnet -- grounded in claims of counterterrorism -- has grown exponentially in recent years. According to a U.S. official familiar with the U.S.'s main counterterror database, the number of names on the list  has jumped from 540,000 to 875,000 in only five years. The expanded list reflects what NSA whistleblower told Salon was the government's "hoarding" approach to counterterror. The CIA's chief technical officer, Gus Hunt, seemed to admit as muchearlier this year when he told a New York conference, "The value of any piece of information is only known when you can connect it with something else that arrives at a future point in time... Since you can’t connect dots you don’t have, it drives us into a mode of, we fundamentally try to collect everything and hang on to it forever.”

In line with this effort, databases of names and no-fly lists have expanded. As Reuters reports, the main counterterror database, TIDE, maintained by the National Counterterrorism Center, "is not a 'watchlist' but instead is a repository of information on people whom U.S. authorities see as known, suspected or potential terrorists from around the world." Whether a more expanded list leads to greater security has been questioned by experts. Reuters noted:

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