[ View the story "No Fly List" on Storify] No Fly List
AJAMStream· Tue, Jan 21 2014 15:14:12
The No Fly List is a secret database of thousands who are banned from flying on commercial airliners into and out of the United States. It's maintained by the FBI's
Terrorist Screening Center
and is in response to the attacks of September 11, 2001. The chart below outlines how a person is placed on the list.
No one outside the FBI knows exactly who's on the list. However, the Associated Press reported that the number of people on the list in 2012 nearly
doubled to 21,000
, including 500 Americans. The only way for a person to find out he or she is on the list is by booking a flight and then being denied access by either the airline or TSA officials.
Many people who have no connection to terrorism or extremism have found themselves on the list because of error or because they have the same name as a terror suspect. Even
children have been banned from flying
or subject to additional screening.
Once a person is on the list it is a difficult and long process to be removed. They must submit a form and identification documents to the Department of Homeland Security's
Traveler Redress Inquiry Program
. Removal is not a guarantee and the only way to find out if it was successful is to book another flight and attempt to get through security.
Critics of the No Fly List say it violates civil liberties and promotes racial, cultural and religious profiling. A lawsuit filed by the ACLU on behalf of
13 men and women
alleges that some were placed on the list because of their Muslim faith. Some say they were interrogated about their religious backgrounds and told they would be
removed from the list
if they volunteered as informants for the FBI.
In an unprecedented lawsuit, Rahinah Ibrahim, pictured above,
to have her name removed from the No Fly List. In 2005, Ibrahim was a Stanford grad student. She testified that the FBI visited her apartment to ask questions about a possible connection to a Malaysian terror group. A month later, she found out she was on the No Fly List after she was arrested in San Francisco for attempting to board a flight to Hawaii and, after returning to Malaysia, Ibrahim was banned from flying into the United States altogether. After an 8-year legal battle, a district court judge ruled that adding Rahinah's name to the list was a mistake.
The government and proponents of the list insist that it is effective and protects national security interests. The FBI says it is also in the interests of national security to keep the list classified, and that it would endanger security to allow Americans to review the list.
We asked our online community their thoughts on whether the No Fly List is still useful. Most people said the No Fly List is arbitrary and needs more transparency.
@AJAMStream You see stories all the time of seemingly random people ending up on the list. I'd definitely say it's arbitrary. #AJAMStreamKeith Favre
@AJAMStream Whatever happened to due process? No-fly list = everything the constitution stands for is down the drainAmani أماني الخطاطبه
@AJAMStream Like a free credit score, every citizen should be able to see if they are on any list from the government.Vern
Other users shared their experiences being placed on the No Fly List or subjected to additional screening.
@neginowl @AJAMStream I was detained re entering the US every time until 2011.Justin Mashouf
@AJAMStream I have been stopped at every airport in every country I have visited except Japan.Jenny Baquing Chapa
@AJAMStream It seems like it. My daughter's name was flagged when we traveled. She was 2 at the time...Deanna ديانا
What do you think? Does the No Fly List need an overhaul? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.