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Biden admin refuses to reveal terror watchlist nationalities as illegal immigration explodes on his watch

Customs and Border Protection rejected a Fox News FOIA request to reveal nationalities of people arrested by Border Patrol in recent years, citing "privacy interests."

EXCLUSIVE: Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has rejected a request by Fox News to reveal the nationalities of people on the FBI terror watchlist arrested at the border by Border Patrol, citing "privacy interests" of those involved.

Fox filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request in October requesting the nationalities of suspects on the FBI terror watchlist arrested at the southern border entering between ports of entry by Border Patrol.

Over six months later, CBP told Fox it will not provide the information, although it acknowledges the information is maintained in the Terrorist Screening Dataset (TSDS). 

The letter says it is applying exemptions to protect the disclosure of files that may create a "clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy" and must balance a public's right to disclosure against an individual's right to privacy.


"The privacy interests of the individuals in the records you have requested outweigh any minimal public interest in disclosure of the information. Any private interest you may have in that information does not factor into the aforementioned balancing test," it says.

It also cites exemptions that protect records that would disclose techniques or procedures for law enforcement investigation and those that could be expected to endanger the life or safety of any individual.

Fox did not request personal information, only the countries from which the encounters originated.


There have so far been 80 encounters of people between ports of entry this year by Border Patrol who are on the TSDS, compared to 172 in fiscal year 2023 and 98 in fiscal 2022.

The TSDS contains sensitive information on terrorist identities. It initially contained only known or suspected terrorists (KSTs) but now also includes additional individuals who represent a "potential threat to the United States, including known affiliates of watchlisted individuals."

"Encounters of watchlisted individuals at our borders are very uncommon, underscoring the critical work CBP Agents and Officers carry out every day on the frontlines," CBP says on its website. "DHS works tirelessly to secure our borders through a combination of highly trained personnel, ground and aerial monitoring systems, and robust intelligence and information sharing networks."

But the rejection of the FOIA request brought immediate criticism from Republicans.

"Wow: DHS thinks the "privacy" of potential national security threats is more important than the American people's right to know where these individuals are coming from," Republicans on the House Homeland Security Committee said on X, formerly known as Twitter.

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