Press Releases

CAIR Applauds Passage of Congressional Amendment Requiring Report on Dissemination of Federal Government Watchlist to 60+ Foreign Countries

(WASHINGTON, D.C., 7/17/19) – The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today applauded the passage of an amendment to the Intelligence Authorization Act (IAA) requiring a report on the dissemination of the federal government’s watchlist to more than 60 foreign countries.

The amendment was introduced by Representative Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and requires the Director of National Intelligence and the Secretary of State to submit a report to Congress detailing various guidelines governing the government’s dissemination of the watchlist, which includes more than 1 million people, to foreign countries.

SEE: Rep. Ilhan Omar Speaks in Support of Amendment on Dissemination of Watchlist to Foreign Countries

SEE: Legislation would force disclosures about terror watchlist

SEE: House Amendment 593

The watchlist is shared with more than 60 foreign countries which may include countries with dubious human rights records like China and Saudi Arabia. The FBI has acknowledged in sworn testimony that it takes no responsibility for, nor does it oversee, how foreign governments actually use U.S. watchlist information.

“The passage of this amendment is a historic step forward for civil rights,” said CAIR Senior Litigation Attorney Gadeir Abbas. “For the first time, Congress will have access to information about the watchlist and how it is being used. We hope this will lead to more public scrutiny of this list and the harsh consequences it imposes on American citizens.”

Last month, CAIR welcomed a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo from 11 members of Congress requesting more information about this foreign dissemination of the watchlist. They have not received a response.

SEE: CAIR: Members of Congress Send Letter of Inquiry to Department of State Over Dissemination of Watchlist to 60+ Foreign Countries

SEE: Press Release by Rep. Omar Announcing the Letter

For years, CAIR has represented innocent Muslims — people who have not been charged, arrested, or convicted of a violent offense — who have been targeted by the watchlisting system. Some have lost jobs, been separated from their families, and all have been stigmatized by being treated as “terrorists” by their own government.

SEE: Detroit Mother Calls Out Feds for Breaking Up Family, Files Lawsuit

In March, CAIR exposed a previously undisclosed TSA program called “Silent Partner” that appears to be an invasive traveler-surveillance program and a supra-agency body that oversees the watchlist called the Watchlisting Advisory Council.

SEE: CAIR Depositions of FBI, DHS, CBP, TSA Officials Reveal Previously-Undisclosed Traveler Surveillance Program, Watchlisting Advisory Council

CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, protect civil rights, promote justice, and empower American Muslims. 

La misión de CAIR es proteger las libertades civiles, mejorar la comprensión del Islam, promover la justicia, y empoderar a los musulmanes en los Estados Unidos. 


CONTACT: CAIR Senior Litigation Attorney Gadeir Abbas, 720-251-0425,; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper,, 202-744-7726


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