The Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General published the list of “specially designated countries” as an appendix to an unclassified May 11 report–“Supervision of Aliens Commensurate With Risk“–that was publicly posted on the Internet. (The appendix is on page 18 of the document.)
As a matter of policy, according to the inspector general’s report, citizens of Israel and other “specially designated countries” are subjected to a special security screening called a “Third Agency Check” (TAC) when they are actually detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the division of the Department of Homeland Security responsible for enforcing the immigration laws.
Israel’s listing is separate from the Palestinian territories, which also make the list of 36. Of those 36, 31 are majority Muslim, and the rest have significant Muslim populations. Though Israel is on the countries of concern list, the US still considers our strongest MidEast ally a partner against terrorism. So…there’s that.
“The U.S. does not and never has considered Israel to have links to terrorism, but rather they are a partner in our efforts to combat global terrorism,” Christensen said in a written statement. “Countries may have been included on the list because of the backgrounds of arrestees, not because of the country’s government itself.”
“The United States maintains close intelligence-sharing relationships with many of these countries in order to address security issues within their own borders and in our mutual pursuit of safety and security around the globe,” said Christensen.
The list first came to light in 2008. At that time, Israel was not on it. But North Korea was. In the 2011 update, Israel is included while North Korea is not.