There is a good chance you've probably heard about an incident where a toddler and her parents were removed from a flight because it was believed that the child was on the No Fly List. It turned out an airline computer glitch is what caused the confusion.
With that said, I wanted to take a few moments to explain the No Fly List. The No Fly list is maintained by the FBI's Terrorist Screening Center (TSC). Here is some information from a post I wrote a few years ago.
The No Fly List is a list of individuals who are prohibited from boarding an aircraft. Another list – the "Selectee" list - is a list of individuals who must undergo additional security screening before being permitted to board an aircraft. After 9/11 the TSC was created through a Presidential Directive to be administered by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Department of Justice, in cooperation with the departments of Homeland Security, Defense, State, and Treasury, as well as the Central Intelligence Agency. The purpose for the TSC is to consolidate terrorism based watch lists in one central database, the Terrorist Screening Center Database (TSDB), and make that data available for use in screening. Intelligence and law enforcement agencies nominate individuals to be put on the watch list based on established criteria, with the list maintained by the TSC. The No Fly and Selectee lists are subsets of the TSDB and are maintained by the TSC.
The terror watch lists keep legitimate terror threats off of airplanes every day, all over the world. According to the GAO, terror watch lists have "helped combat terrorism" and "enhanced U.S. counterterrorism efforts."
This is a good opportunity for me to segue into Secure Flight. Secure Flight is a behind-the-scenes program that streamlines the watch list matching process. It improves the travel experience for all passengers, including those who have been misidentified in the past.
As far as how someone gets on the No Fly list, the TSC has to add them to the TSDB, and they can't do that unless the person is known, or appropriately suspected to be, or have been engaged in conduct constituting, in preparation for, in aid of, or related to terrorism, before they are included in the TSDB per the Homeland Security Presidential Directive 6. (HSPD-6.)
If you have been told or suspect you are on the No Fly List, let me ask you these questions: Have you obtained a boarding pass? If so, you are not on the No Fly List. Have you flown? You would not be allowed on a flight if you were on the No Fly List.
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