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. Regina

    Why doesn't these issue raise red flags:
    1. buying a ticket in cash
    2. one way ticket
    3. no checcked baggage
    These things should set off flags for the passenger to be re-checked

    May 5, 2010 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
  2. eewujian

    I just can't understand. We have live scores for every sports but the no-fly list is updated in hours.

    May 5, 2010 at 12:39 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Don

    If he was in the no flight list, how he turn out to be a US citizen?

    May 5, 2010 at 12:39 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Wabash Cannonball

    I would rather have a few people inconvenienced by mistake than to let a terrorist on the no-fly list slip through. I will NOT sacrifice my life on the altar of the fallacious concept of a "right to fly."

    May 5, 2010 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
  5. soulsabr

    I'm no fan of the no fly lists but I have noticed a bunch of people talking aobut how we never hear that the no fly lists work while at the same time hearing about the failures of the same list. Well, the problem with that line of thougt is that when the no fly list works nobody ever knows; it happens in the background. The person is denied boarding privilages not slapped in handcuffs AFAIK. So, there is a possibility that for every innocent who is stalled due to the list one thousand real threats are denied boarding privilages. This is an exageration, of course, but it is a possibility.

    May 5, 2010 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
  6. robert Lombardo

    i hope the FBI is seriously questioning everyone who worked at that airline counter that night.

    May 5, 2010 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Anon

    This is an instance where racial profiling is necessary. So someone gets their feelings hurt, they will get over it. Better than being blown apart from some nutcaase.

    May 5, 2010 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Digital52

    Well he was caught. In the end thats all that matters. When you check in at the airport, the airlines check your baggage and issue. This is when your name is checked for the no fly. Next you move on to the security check. This is done to verify your ticket with your ID, (passport, drivers lic. or some other pictured ID). They do not have the no fly list. Next stop is the gate. On international flights you ticket and passport are checked to ensure that the person holding the ticket matchs the name on the ticket. The no flylist is checked when the ticket is bought. It is rechecked again prior to boarding the aircraft. If the TSA and DHS were to check the no fly list as often as it is being suggested on this blog, you will have to be at the airport 10 hours before your flight, and maybe you will get on. Now for a trip from NYC to Washington thats way to long in the airport. As far as paying cash goes, I just paid 3500.00 to get my car fixed 15 mins before it was done. Should that throw up a red flag? So these guys added him to the no fly list, someone suggested that they should have called the airport. Right, They would still be on hold today. The system worked, plain and simple. If you dont like the way it worked, come up with something better, or dont fly.

    May 5, 2010 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Denizen Kate

    They let this guy get onto a plane, but does anyone else remember that case a couple years ago where a four-year-old (and his mother, incidentally) was NOT allowed to board a plane in Houston because the tot had the same name as someone on the No-Fly list? What good is a list if the people checking it have less than a couple of brains cells altogether?

    May 5, 2010 at 12:45 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Bill

    Wow ... that was fast ... I wonder how comprehensive the vetting was on this change?

    May 5, 2010 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Matt McCraney

    First off, Not everyone uses credit cards and cash is the currency in this country, I am a truck driver and I often purchase one way tickets and have only once carried enough baggage to have checked it. Had the guy boarded the flight the same day he left the truck in Times Square and flew to Dubai what would have been said? He would not have been on the list then. The system is only as good as the people using it. The nofly list needs to be incorporated into the ticketing system on an instant check basis that is tied directly into the federal database. Then and only then will it become effective. All of this talk about checking the list within two hours of being updated!!! I don't know about you but I can get from Times Square to JFk and board a plane in two hours. Why can't we just fix it right the first time and move on?

    May 5, 2010 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Don G.

    While this situation was a failure in one sense it was not a DHS or TSA failure. The folks who missed the entry on the no-fly list was the AIRLINE, who allowed him to board anyway.

    Yes tightening up procedural requirements are necessary, but this was not because TSA was focused on purfume bottles, or harrassing 2 year olds with conincidental names.

    The other problem is that we americans are becoming a nation of ninnies - always running around yelling fire whenever there is smoke instead of trying to locate the fire and deal with it. We no longer try to solve real problems, we use problems as weapons in our so called cultural wars. This is dysfunctional behavior. If this continues there will be problems of vital importance to our national survivcl which we will not be able to address because we would rather live with the political drama that can be wrong from vetching about the issue.

    May 5, 2010 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
  13. e

    Putting his name on a list that the FBI KNEW wouldn't be refreshed for a number of hours was STUPID. Hollywood would have written a better script!

    There is the basic no-fly list, refreshed every 24 hours and then there should be a list for people who we think "just planted a bomb in the middle of Time Square and might be boarding a plane or slipping through a border in the next 5 minutes" list.

    Even a two-hour refresh time isn't enough.

    The airlines should have been notified IMMEDIATELY as in a WATCH FOR THIS GUY RIGHT NOW!

    We have Amber Alerts for missing children. We should have an equivalent for potential terrorists about to flee the country.

    May 5, 2010 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
  14. ejm007

    I second Regina. How about a big red flag when anyone purchases a one-way ticket, using cash without checking bags?

    May 5, 2010 at 12:49 pm | Report abuse |
  15. DALMZ1Z

    I think the problem is lack of technology. The information getting to the system was very delayed – like it was not in real time, they system need's to be upgraded to prevent this type of thing. Anyway, glad he was caught, however close cut it was.

    May 5, 2010 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse |
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