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. Raul Sanchez C.

    To me looks like DHS didn't connect the dots again and sooner or later one smart terrorist will hit NYC or us again without failure. DHS needs to be 1-2 steps of the game but so far they seem to be 1-2 steps behind.

    May 5, 2010 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
  2. e

    I don't know, it seems to me, the only people who should really be griping right now are the other passengers who were put in great danger while being stuck on the same plane (Even for a short time) with this suspected terrorist.

    Another part of me is thinking there is no way in h-e-double-l that with our technology being what it is that the no-fly list has to be manually updated and that there is a twenty-four hour lag time between said updates.

    That just has to be some sort of diversion story to justify why the authorities LET HIM on that plane after they KNEW ALL THEY KNEW about him, prior to his boarding.

    It's a huge success that he is in custody, but they let him on the plane with mothers, fathers, sons and daughters... That is a HUGE FAIL!

    May 5, 2010 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
  3. missdiscipline

    How come their isn't a program that automatically updates the no fly list and monitors the list so when a name is typed in an alert automatically goes into place. Hell, a simple anti virus program can update itself and monitor in live time...Seems the airlines needs to get with the technology and all have one central database they can all use.

    May 5, 2010 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Ravi

    Why again 2 hrs time to refresh the no-fly list.?
    Isnt it possible for someone to fly within two hours of committing something like this?

    May 5, 2010 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
  5. TexasHarry

    Let's give TSA a break. They really do a good job. There has not been a terrorist incident that has brought down a plane.

    I think they do an EXCELLENT job, and I will give them my full support, and try to make their jobs easier and more effective whenever I can.

    May 5, 2010 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Ananth

    Certain Rules need to be put in place

    a. You CANNOT buy a one way ticket for International destinations without a minimum 1week advanced booking.
    b. You CANNOT buy round trip airfare for International destinations without a minimum 48 hours advanced booking.
    c. If you need the International ticket in a hurry, then expect RIGOROUS screening (ie, FBI and Law Enforcement WILL be called upon to screen you).

    Maybe this is a bit harsh, but better safe than sorry..

    May 5, 2010 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
  7. e

    the marketers of facebook can track a single post of mine darn near anywhere on the net, these days, and instantly plaster my fb page with related advertisements. haha! Yet we hafta wait twenty-four hours for the airlines to know if a suspected terrorist who just planted a bomb in the middle of Times Square has been placed on the no-fly list?

    i'm still thinking Homeland Security LET that terrorist on the plane for some reason that they're not divulging to us, and that's fine. We don't need to KNOW everything. Sometimes it's not prudent to our nation's security for every Tom, Dick and Harry to know everything, but they know we need some excuse as to why a terrorist made it on that place, in spite of all they knew about him, so we're getting the twenty-four hour update excuse.

    May 5, 2010 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Ap

    Even the two hour window may be enough time for someone to buy a ticket and board a plane. What should be required is that Airlines check the updated no-fly list against the passenger names who have boarded the plane. No plane should be allowed to close their doors before the final updated list has been used to verify any "no-fly" individuals. People say that the system failed.... well the system has worked in my opinion. The airline did what they were asked to do in the allowed time, and the federal agents did what they were asked to do and caught the guy. Don't forget, after the guy paid in cash for the ticket, the airline promptly notified the appropriate authorities of this ticket purchase. If you have a car that can only go 100 mph, and if someone passes you on the highway in a car that can go, and is going at 125mph, you cannot say that your car didn't work because you could not pass the car going at 125mph. Your car was designed to go 100mph, and it did that. My point is, I wish there was a way to assure 100% safety, but there is no way to achieve that in an open society. System did what it could have done, the rest is the risk we all have to assume if we desire our freedom. I travel a lot. And, I am prepared to take that risk, especially because if I travelled by my own car, I am not sure I would be any safer. On an average, about 110 to 125 people die everyday on the roads in the US, almost the same as an aveage airliner passenger load: We do not lose a plane full of passengers everyday, do we? Of course we should not take this lightly, but do not blame the system. Yes, we can improve the system, and we should. But, some things will only be learnt by trial and error; that's just the way it is.

    May 5, 2010 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Mark in st. petersburg

    Yes, there is no real technological reason the list could not be updated within minutes of a change.
    But, there does need to be a better way to deal with all of the false positives. DHS is far more concerned with the secrecy of the list than they are with working out a way to permanently clear the innocent fliers. The main flaw with the whole list concept is that it is based on names, which are one of the least unique identifiers ever invented.

    May 5, 2010 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Ananth

    Certain Rules need to be put in place

    a. You CANNOT buy a one way ticket for International destinations without a minimum 1week advanced booking.
    b. You CANNOT buy round trip airfare for International destinations without a minimum 48 hours advanced booking.
    c. If you need the International ticket in a hurry, then expect RIGOROUS screening (ie, FBI and Law Enforcement WILL be called upon to screen you).

    On (c) we can make it tighter – If you need an International ticket <48 hours then it HAS to be via Credit/Debit card – NO cash transactions. And arrive at the airport atleast 4hrs in advance, so that the airlines and the TSA can question/screen you.


    May 5, 2010 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
  11. john

    Security at airports needs to PROFILE!!! ALL of the terrorist have olive skin, Muslum names, men, in 20's – 30's. But instead they leave us less safe for POLITICAL CORRECTNESS..which liberals LOVE!!! My son, who is 8yo, white boy with freckles, was in a wheelchair, c-collar and broken arm, and of course they single him out for TOTAL body search and bomb swab...ridiculous...made me feel LOTS safer...but least they did not upset muhammed....pathetic.

    May 5, 2010 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Jericho

    TSA required airlines companies to check their no-fly list within 24 hours? Common sense tells you that a lot can happen in 24 hours! Why can't the governent bureaucrats get that? I know why...common sense only exist outside of the government.

    May 5, 2010 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
  13. FRANK


    May 5, 2010 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Jeremy

    What's the difference between 2 hours, and realtime ? It's not a technical limitation, I can assure you.

    May 5, 2010 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Ryan Nathan

    How much of our cultural norms are we willing to give up for security? Liberty is not just a fancy catch word that has no meaning. It it is instilled in all of us. it is the reason why millions of people want to come to the, "land of the free and the home of the brave".
    We are on a slippery slope when it comes to "new and effective security measure". Policies and procedures must be implemented that above all protect our way of life and protect the lives of everyone living in the United States.

    May 5, 2010 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
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