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Homeland Security Presidential Directive 6 (HSPD-6): Directive on Integration and Use of Screening Information to Protect against Terrorism (Sept. 2003) (full-text).


This directive concerns the use of information about individuals known or suspected to engage in terrorist activities. U.S. policy is to develop, integrate, and maintain thorough, accurate, and current information about individuals known or appropriately suspected to be or have been engaged in conduct related to terrorism. Such information shall be used to support federal, state, local, territorial, tribal, foreign-government, and private-sector screening processes, and diplomatic, military, intelligence, law enforcement, immigration, visa, and protective processes.

The directive will be implemented in a manner consistent with the provisions of the U.S. Constitution and applicable laws, including those protecting the rights of all Americans.


The National Counterterrorism Center and the FBI rely upon standards of reasonableness in determining which individuals are appropriate for inclusion on TSC’s consolidated watch list.[1] In accordance with HSPD 6, TSC's watch list is to contain information about individuals "known or appropriately suspected to be or have been engaged in conduct constituting, in preparation for, in aid of, or related to terrorism." In implementing this directive, the National Counterterrorism Center and the FBI strive to ensure that individuals who are reasonably suspected of having possible links to terrorism — in addition to individuals with known links — are nominated for inclusion on the watch list.

To determine if the suspicions are reasonable, the National Counterterrorism Center and the FBI are to assess all available information on the individual. According to the National Counterterrorism Center, determining whether to nominate an individual can involve some level of subjectivity. Nonetheless, any individual reasonably suspected of having links to terrorist activities is to be nominated to the list and remain on it until the FBI or the agency that supplied the information supporting the nomination, such as one of the intelligence agencies, determines the person is not a threat and should be removed from the list.

Moreover, individuals who are subjects of ongoing FBI counterterrorism investigations are generally nominated to TSC for inclusion on the watch list, including persons who are being preliminarily investigated to determine if they have links to terrorism. In determining whether to open an investigation, the FBI uses guidelines established by the Attorney General. These guidelines contain specific standards for opening investigations, including formal review and approval processes. According to FBI officials, there must be a "reasonable indication" of involvement in terrorism before opening an investigation.

This directive was supplemented in 2004 by Homeland Security Presidential Directive 11 (HSPD-11), "Comprehensive Terrorist-related Screening Procedures."


  1. In general, and in this context, a standard of reasonableness can be described as a government agent’s particularized and objective basis for suspecting an individual of engaging in terrorist-related activities, considering the totality of circumstances known to the government agent at that time. See, e.g., United States v. Price, 184 F.3d 637, 640-41 (7th Cir. 1999) (full-text); Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1, 30 (1968) (full-text).