Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Marco Rubio's Whopper: 700,000 Americans Could be Affected - PolitiFact Is On It


"If these were perfect lists, that would be one thing," he said. "But there are over 700,000 Americans on some watch list or another that would all be captured under this amendment the Democrats offered. And that's the problem."
We wondered if there were really 700,000 Americans who could potentially get caught up on a terrorist watch list and be prevented from buying guns under Democratic legislation.
Rubio’s count is way off. The number of Americans on the consolidated terrorist watch list is likely in the thousands, not hundreds of thousands.
We reached out to Rubio’s team, but they didn’t get back to us.
By the numbers
The FBI’s Terrorist Screening Center maintains what is colloquially known as the terrorist watch list. The Terrorist Screening Database is a consolidated collection of information about people known or reasonably suspected to have some level of involvement in terrorist activities. The no-fly list is a subset of the terrorist watch list.
The terrorist watch list is the one the attorney general would pull from when deciding whether someone should be denied a firearm if there’s reasonable belief that the person would use that firearm for terrorism, under the Democrats’ bill, said Ashley Schapitl, spokeswoman for bill sponsor Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.
The terrorist watch list pulls information from numerous government agencies in the United States and around the world, so American citizens and legal residents only make up a portion of the list. A pretty small portion, in fact.
A Terrorist Screening Center spokesman declined to comment on the watch list’s current size, but we found an estimate on a 2011 FBI fact-sheet that put it at 420,000 individuals. Of those, only about 8,400 were American citizens or legal residents. The no-fly list subset included about 16,000 names, only 500 of whom were Americans.


  1. Right, he was wrong to say "Americans". It is equally if not more wrong for these opponents of the fifth amendment who want this law to say it is only for the "no-fly" list, and not the entire watch list as they are also off by orders of magnitude. Would you call them "filthy lying gun control supporters"?

    1. No, you and your fellow gun nuts are the filthy liars, as PolitiFact pointed out in this article.

    2. Fine, call Rubio a "liar", but as PolitiFact also pointed out, the "no fly list" and "watch list" are two different lists of much different scope. So anyone who says they want to bar just the "no fly list" while they are really proposing barring the whole "watch list", would be a "liar" by your same standard. Right?

  2. Gee, if the Democrats were really trying to stop terrorism, violence and guns falling into the hands of naughty people, shouldn't they be arresting and charging these people instead of such a lame idea of keeping guns out of their hands. There are always box cutters, you know. Oh, and don't forget pipes, too.

    orlin sellers

  3. Marco Rubio's Whopper: 700,000 Americans Could be Affected . . .

    That's not a "whopper"--it's just an (admittedly vast) understatement. If one American's Constitutionally guaranteed, fundamental human rights are violated, we are all affected--and not in a good way.

    1. Nonsense.

      Yeah--if I were an abject, jackboot-licking, government-worshiping, willing serf of a statist, I'd probably feel unaffected by the oppression of others, too.

      Thankfully, I'm not, and never will be.

  4. It's always a good indicator when a government official refuses to answer a question as to how their perticular fiefdom is. It usually indicates you should worry about that area.
    So the thought of only thousands of citizens have been placed on this list to with no due process, and without being informed is supposed to be reassuring? And now you want to deny Constitutional rights to those citizens who are on the list?
    What could possibly go wrong?

    1. What could go wrong are some of the terrorist plots which require guns.

    2. Well Mike, strangely, no one has come forward to brag about the number of people on the watch list who have bought guns and then committed a crime. Considering that they came up with the 2,000 plus figure who have bought guns, they would likely know if it occurred.
      It appears that we know of at least two that have been placed on the list now,

      "The mother and father of San Bernardino gunman Syed Farook have been placed on a federal terrorist watch list in the wake of a mass shooting that killed 14 people, according to reports."

      "The father was watch-listed because of his multiple and frequent trips to his native Pakistan. The mother was added to the list after authorities found suspicious items in a car registered to her, including shooting targets and empty GoPro helmet camera packaging, according to ABC News."


  5. Well for Chrissakes!!!

    I certainly won't accuse any of mikeb's readers of any malfeasance. But I mean, as far as the general tapestry of crazy reactionaries who also happen to love the enjoyment of guns...

    Were not the Florida gun dealers, friends of George Z. and others of an ilk declaring certain establishments, in particular gun stores, "Muslim-Free Zones?"

    Is Rubio truly a break-out republican who will stand up for the rights of all immigrants and travellers approaching our fair shores? Seeking to live under our beautiful skies? Maybe he is. He is certainly ahead of the other candidates on immigration. I enjoy seeing Obama being called out for xenophobia, even if it is an unfair charge. It's still kinda fun.

    Or is it more likely that this is just another whoring shout-out to the NRA/Gun Industry, "We don't care who lives or dies," pro-gun lobby? Methinks that it is far more likely the latter.

    Still I like Rubio. I would welcome a Rubio/Hillary challenge. It is not a prerequisite that a Rubio presidency must be accompanied by a republican congress. I mean, I don't think that even Marco Rubio himself would want anything that horrible to happen.

  6. Mike, one thing I've also noticed is that the gun control lobby and their supporters have no problem bouncing back and forth on the lists they want to apply to this restriction. So which is it? The watch list? Or the no fly list? Its quite disturbing that they deem to equate suspicion with the actual deed. This calls into question how much they really support this country's principles of the presumption of innocence and due process.
    I do have a solution to the problems with the objections of those "gun rights fanatics". If you want the list to have the force of law to remove a person's rights,

    1. Every person has to be informed they are on the list and why.
    2. The government must prove, in court, beyond a reasonable doubt that the person belongs on the list.
    3. If the person the government wants on the list cant afford an attorney, they will be given one at no cost to represent them.
    4. The restrictions don't go into effect until AFTER the judge finds for the government.

    This policy will go a long way towards fixing the objections.

    1. One thing for sure is it's NOT 700,000 Americans.

    2. Hard to say Mike, the data is four years old and one thing the government is very good at is making lists of this and that.
      Politifact does have what I would call a filthy liar rating and this doesn't seem to be to that level. I go with the "pants on fire" rating to be synonymous with filthy lying. And keep in mind, we're talking about politicians who are campaigning.
      Clinton and Rubio seem to be tied in that category at two apiece. Though they seem to be running far behind more politically active people like Trump and our current President who has nine to his credit.

    3. Another thing for sure is that it is NOT the "no fly" list that they are trying to deny rights to. It's the entire watch list.

    4. Ssgmarkcr: "This policy will go a long way towards fixing the objections."

      If they did this, I bet the DHS would still want a truly secret list that is literally meant as just a "watch" list. Then of course the antis will again whine about how we let "terrorists" buy guns, and the cycle continues...

  7. I see that the Washington Post's Fact-Checker has rendered its verdict about a different Rubio claim pertaining to gun laws (that none of the recent mass shootings would have been prevented by proposed gun laws):

    It is possible that some gun-control proposals, such as a ban on large-capacity magazines, would reduce the number of dead in a future shooting, though the evidence for that is heavily disputed. But Rubio was speaking in the past, about specific incidents. He earns a rare Geppetto Checkmark.

    And what's that, you ask (I didn't know, either)? The Fact-Checker explains:

    Statements and claims that contain “the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth” will be recognized with our prized Geppetto checkmark.