May 5th, 2010
10:12 AM ET

DHS changing no-fly list policy after Times Square plot

The Department of Homeland Security is changing its no-fly list update policies to prevent a repeat of what happened Monday, when the suspect in the Times Square attempted bombing was allowed to board a plane despite his name being on the no-fly list, a DHS official told CNN Wednesday.

The official said the Transportation Security Administration will require airlines to check the no-fly list within two hours of being electronically notified of additions or changes. Previously, airlines were required to re-check the list within 24 hours.

Faisal Shahzad, who has been charged in connection with the attempted bombing in Times Square, was able to board Emirates Flight 202 late Monday despite being put on a no-fly list earlier in the day. He made his reservation by phone as he drove to the airport just hours before the flight, investigators said. When he paid for his ticket in cash at the ticket counter, the airline had not refreshed its information so his name did not raise any red flags, a senior counterterrorism official told CNN.

soundoff (281 Responses)
  1. Stephan, Billings

    Absolutely amazing! Close the barn door after the horse gets out.......again. How about a little pro-active thinking relative to these types of incidents?

    May 5, 2010 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
  2. SC

    Paid cash for last minute one way fare to Middle East?

    Isn't this pretty much the same as telling the agent "I'm probably a terrorist, but not a very skilled one?"

    I say all international ticketing must use a credit card.

    May 5, 2010 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Wm Eisenberg

    Last year flying to the Grand Cayman Islands ,Family vacation. My mother in law who is in a wheel chair, 82 years old . The tsa put her through the ringer, made her stand up , she almost fell over! The nicest lady you want to meet ,woudn,t hurt a fly. I,m glad there doing there job. But this was crazy,Did I mention the metal detectot test. Since then ,the under wear bomber. His own father warned the us. Now this guy, gets on a plane ,and he,s on the no fly list. What next!!! Dept of Homeland security ,those people are asleep at the wheel . Its time for them to get proactive. Do what the Israel does they know what there doing

    May 5, 2010 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
  4. FLcynic

    All this recent situation proves is that Airlines can't be trusted to check the no-fly list, before a plane takes off. This wannabe terrorist was allowed to board that (Emirates) plane, because the Airline failed to check the no-fly list, as it was their responsibility, not TSA's.

    Giving the Airlines a 2 hour deadline to check updated no-fly lists just gives them less time to perform a simple administrative task that they couldn't manage to do in a 24 hour period. The big gaping hole in this plan is that the Airline would technically have 2 hours to check the list after it's been updated, and a passenger (such as the Pakistani-born naturalized American citizen) who makes a reservation enroute to the airport, and then pays cash at the airport, and collects his boarding pass seconds before boarding, could still be allowed to board. Last minute boarders generate stress for airline employees who are trying to get that plane off the tarmac, before they're subjected to hefty fines. Unless they tweak the new procedural rules to require them to check the no-fly list, prior to issuing a boarding pass, for anyone purchasing a ticket within 2 hours of departure. I sense the future might hold the possibility of another bad guy being allowed to get on a plane, and in flight, before their name is discovered on the no-fly list, up to 2 hours later. I suspect the day is approaching when boarding passes will no longer be printable from home or office.

    When (under-staffed) TSA/Homeland Security takes over checking the no-fly list, Air Marshals can check the no-fly list against the list of boarding passes issued up to the day before the flight. But,when Air Marshals are enroute to the airport to catch a departing flight, the responsibility for checking the list at the last minute, should be the responsibility of TSA administrative personnel, who would also be responsible for phoning the Air Marshal(s) either at the airport or enroute to the airport, to let them know they've cleared the list, or that there's a problem, requiring someone who's trying to leave on their flight to be refused boarding, or to disembark. With Airport Security and FBI agents stationed at the airports, they could take custody of anyone on the no-fly list, who was trying to fly, without delaying departure of the plane. By calling in the FBI to detain anyone rightfully on the no-fly list, Air Marshals would still be able to fly incognito, which is important, because if a terrorist or other person posing a threat is on an aircraft in flight, we don't want them to be able to identify the sharpshooter who's job it is to take them down, before they could get control of the plane, or blow it up.

    May 5, 2010 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
  5. No age problems

    Wow – you people are out of date.... since they started requiring birthdates on reservations 2-year-olds have not been targeted.

    May 5, 2010 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Jeremy

    This doesn't cost a dime. No visas to men between the ages of fifteen and seventy from Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria, Egypt, Iran, Yemen, Iraq, or any other state where ANY citizen of their country has EVER attacked an American citizen or building. Let them come by boat and rent a car or go by bus or train once they get here. Maybe they'll learn to love America like WE do.

    May 5, 2010 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Jeff

    So, has anyone considered modifying the process and related computer applications to perform the "no-fly list search" realtime? Perhaps when checking luggage or just prior to boarding the plane?
    Will it cost $$$ to make the changes necessary to do realtime inquiries? Sure. Maybe a better question is what will it cost if we don't.

    May 5, 2010 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Chris Haskins

    I think the no fly list works. It was the airline the terrorist was flying. It was an Arab airlines, not an american airline. Do we really believe that the Arab countries are going to screen and prevent arab terrorists from going home after they have completed their mission?

    May 5, 2010 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
  9. buccakenji

    The no-fly list is another excuse to spend billions of taxpayer dollars with very little benefit. This guy made onto a plane and the runway but grandma gets a strip search because she looks like a threat (?). Face the facts: profiling is necessary and it will work better than a no-fly list and random screening. End of sentence.

    May 5, 2010 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Frank Natale

    There shouldn't even be a question about the extra measures and the fact it is ok to have a "no fly" list. Safety of innocents trumps my right to not be inconvenienced. Terrorists honestly don't care about your right to go about achieving life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Don't make it easier for them to get on board planes by crying about civil rights. I pursue civil rights in my career. I depend on it for my living and hold those rights dearly. But, I also value my children's safety. These aren't real civil rights, no one has a right to fly. But we all have the right to live without fear of misguided or crazy people getting on planes with explosives. Believe me none of us need a more relaxed TSA or less regulation when it comes to these issues.

    May 5, 2010 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Lina L.

    I'm a disabled mother (32) with a 7 year old son, everytime we fly, we have to get searched. I'm not sure if I'm on one of their lists, but dang we get searched every time.WTH?

    May 5, 2010 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
  12. kathleen

    Helllo, paying cash for a one way ticket should have been warning enough that something was wrong. Whoever the moron was the airlines that accepted the cash for a one-way international ticket should be FIRED!!!!!!

    May 5, 2010 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Pradeep

    At the end, the DHS or FBI or any other organization is nothing but humans like you and me. Mistakes will be made, We just have to learn from mistakes and move on.

    Converting everything into Democratic ore Republican doesnt help anybody.

    May 5, 2010 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Doug

    Thanks to the FBI Special Agents and Law Enforcement Agencies for not giving up! You are the true heroes!

    May 5, 2010 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Ray Karrer

    Yes the system worked in this case, thanks to alert citizens who were not afraid to act and to vigilant investigative govt. agencies. It takes all of us to protect all the rest of us, not just from terrorists, but from all criminal activities. Unfortunately, too many of us do not want to get involved in matters in which all good citizens should feel responsible. Yes there are flaws in the system, and sometimes human intelligence or the lack of it fails. But maybe if more of us would be less critical and more helpful, our country, and perhaps the whole world, might be better off.

    May 5, 2010 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
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