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Viral videos show Trump supporters blocked from flights, but they were not on no-fly list

Washington Examiner logo Washington Examiner 1/13/2021 Anna Giaritelli
a group of people sitting around a plane © Provided by Washington Examiner

Incidents involving supporters of President Trump who appear to have been barred from boarding flights or forced off airplanes after the Capitol riots are not the results of passengers being placed on the government’s no-fly list.

Clips began surfacing on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter on Jan. 7, the day after Trump supporters besieged the Capitol. The videos show men and women at airport terminal gates erupting in anger after learning they will not be allowed on a flight, presumably back home. While the videos have not been confirmed to be legitimate, there is a misconception that the government blocked them from boarding flights.

That is not true, according to the Transportation Security Administration.

“The people in those videos who are complaining that they have been removed from their flights are being removed by the airline. If they were on the No Fly List, they would not have been permitted to get to a gate or board an aircraft,” TSA wrote in an email.

Lawmakers on Capitol Hill have called for the rioters to be banned from jet setting home or anywhere else in the near future. House Homeland Security Chairman Bennie Thompson, a Mississippi Democrat, called for Republican Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Josh Hawley of Missouri to be put on the list because of their roles in leading congressional efforts not to certify the election. The country's largest flight attendants union has also supported the idea.

The no-fly list was developed in 2003 to give counterterrorism, immigration, and border agencies a way to share information about known and suspected terrorists. Anyone on the list has been identified as a person who “may present a threat to civil aviation or national security from boarding a commercial aircraft that traverses U.S. airspace.”

Only one agency controls who goes on the list. The FBI’s Terrorist Screening Center maintains the Terrorist Screening Database, which includes the terrorist watchlist, among others.

People cannot be immediately added to the list, as the public wrongly assumed last Thursday. A national security agency must nominate someone to be a perceived threat who the FBI should consider blocking from commercial air travel. Then the National Counterterrorism Center determines if the information on a nominee is credible. Someone who poses a legitimate threat may be planning or have carried out an act of terrorism "with respect to an aircraft, the homeland, U.S. facilities or interests abroad, or is a threat of engaging in or conducting a violent act of terrorism and is operationally capable of doing so,” the FBI criteria state.

The nomination is passed on to the Terrorism Screening Center, which then reviews it and makes the final decision on whether to add that person to the terror watchlist.

Five departments and agencies have access to the no-fly list: the State Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs for passport and visa screening, the TSA for aviation security screening, the FBI’s National Crime Information Center for domestic law enforcement screening, the Customs and Border Protection for border and ports of entry screening, and the Defense Department for military base access screening.

According to TSA, people on the no-fly list cannot get a boarding pass from their airlines. Therefore, they would not be able to enter or pass through TSA security checkpoints or be allowed past security to the terminal gate where those captured on video were filmed being turned away by airline officials.

The FBI declined to comment on whether it has added to the no-fly list any of the people arrested in connection with actions that occurred during the riot, only stating that people who present an “immediate threat” to other passengers or the aircraft may be detained or arrested by local or federal authorities before or after a flight.

“The FBI will continue to nominate predicated subjects to the federal terrorism watchlist, as appropriate, in accordance with existing laws and policies. The TSC will continue to evaluate all nominations to the watchlist to ensure they meet the required criteria for watchlisting," it said.

Tags: News, Terrorism, Air Travel, Air Safety, Capitol, National Security, TSA, FBI, Counter Terrorism, Social Media

Original Author: Anna Giaritelli

Original Location: Viral videos show Trump supporters blocked from flights, but they were not on no-fly list

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