Thu, Mar 11, 2010
List Now Numbers Near 6,000 People
The No-Fly list ... one of the federal government's best-known
counterterrorism tools, has nearly doubled in size since Farouk
Abdulmuttalab allegedly attempted to bring down a Northwest
Airlines flight on Christmas day last year. According to a senior
intelligence official, the list currently stand at about 6,000
names up from about 3,400 before the bombing attempt.
The Associated Press reports that the list is in inexact tool,
and one which has resulted in more than one case of mistaken
identity. In 2004, the list stood at about 20,000 names, but
improvements in technology have made the vetting process more
reliable, and it has been winnowed down considerably.
The terrorist watch list currently has about 418,000 names, but
just being on the list is not enough to keep a person off
airplanes. There must also be adequate information to show that the
person is a potential threat to aviation or national security. The
suspects full name and date of birth is also required. From these
there is a "selectee list" of about 18,000 people who are still
allowed to fly, but are subjected to additional screening. The
"no-fly" list is reserved for those persons determined to be to
dangerous to be allowed to board a plane.
The list was scrubbed in 2007 of people who officials no longer
considered to be active threats. Under certain circumstances, some
persons on the "no fly" list are allowed to board airplanes, but
there must be agreement between TSA and the FBI, they are very
carefully screened, and may be monitored by federal air marshals
during the flight.
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