5 million on terrorism list Canuck: U.S. on the lookout for 'potential problem'

U.S. security agents have a master list of five million people worldwide thought to be potential terrorists or criminals, officials say. "The U.S. lookout index contains some five million names of known terrorists and other persons representing a potential problem," Brian Davis, a senior Canadian immigration official in Paris, said in a confidential document obtained by the Sun.

Names on the list are compared against those applying for visas or on flights travelling to the U.S.

Anyone whose name is on the list is questioned or banned from entering the U.S. -- as passengers were on two British Airways flights to Los Angeles two weeks ago.

The master list was revealed by U.S. embassy officials to a Canadian standing immigration committee in April 2002. Its existence was revealed in Davis' document, obtained by Montreal lawyer Richard Kurland through an Access to Information request.

Davis said Canadian visa officers abroad do not keep an extensive list like the U.S. because terrorists can use bogus documents and change their identities.

"We examine each application according to profiles," he said. "(We) apply experience and knowledge gained from a variety of sources. Canada's approach to identifying persons who may pose a danger was as sound as possible."

CSIS agents in Paris send a "brief" to Ottawa for cases that require more in-depth investigation.

[Source: By Tom Godfrey, Toronto Sun, Can, 20Jan04]

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