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Tue, Apr 19, 2005

No-Fly List Now Holds Some 31,000 Names

More Details On KLM Incident

As sources tell Time Magazine the US No-Fly list has ballooned from 19,000 names in September to more than 31,000 this month, we're learning more about why a KLM flight from Amsterdam to Mexico City was forbidden to fly in US airspace earlier this month. At the bottom line, the TSA is now trying to expand its ability to keep people off commercial flights -- not just in the US, but all over the world.

As ANN reported, the KLM flight was flying near the US-Canadian border when it was denied permission to continue flying through US airspace on April 8th. The reason? Time reports two of the passengers on board were Saudi citizens. The TSA said the two men had trained as pilots with 9/11 hijacker Hani Hanjour. The flight was turned back and eventually landed in London. They were eventually allowed to fly from London back to Saudi Arabia.

Dutch authorities questioned the men and raised a stink over the fact that neither was on any Dutch watch list. So, they wondered, just how did the US find out they were on the flight and figure they might pose a threat?

But the TSA's proposal to expand the watch list to international airlines that don't make landfall in the US could start another trans-Atlantic fight over aviation security.  "This could open up the U.S. to retaliation," one source told Time. That same source warned that restricting overflight privileges "would be much more of a burden for US airlines, which fly over many more countries than foreign airlines passing through US airspace."



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