Debate Fact Check #9: No Fly List
May 6, 2010


The No Fly List works.

Ted Kennedy was on the list. So was seven-year-old Michael Martin. So was the Times Square bomber – except he was allowed to board an international flight.

7-Year Old Florida Boy On No-Fly List. “Michael Martin had a problem when he tried to fly out of Fort Lauderdale recently: He’s on the no-fly list. The thing is, he’s 7.” (“What’s In A Name? For This Boy, It’s A Flying Problem,” St. Petersburg Times, 7/25/07)

“Little Michael” Was “Eventually” Allowed To Board The Plane For His Family Vacation. “Another Michael Martin was accused of trying to ship bomb detonators to the Irish Republican Army in 1995, the newspaper reported. As for little Michael, he was eventually allowed to board the plane to Baltimore to vacation with his family.” (“What’s In A Name? For This Boy, It’s A Flying Problem,” St. Petersburg Times, 7/25/07)

Study Finds 24,000 People On No-Fly List Due To “Outdated Or Sometimes Irrelevant Information.” “The government’s consolidated watch list, used to identify people suspected of links to terrorists, has grown to more than one million names since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. It also has drawn widespread criticism over the prevalence of mistaken identities and unclear links to terrorism. A report in May from the Justice Department inspector general found that the list kept by the Federal Bureau of Investigation carried the names of 24,000 people included on the basis of outdated or sometimes irrelevant information.” (Eric Lichtblau, “On Terrorist Watch List, But Allowed To Buy Guns,” St. Petersburg Times, 7/25/07)

FBI Spokesman: “There’s No Cause To Deny Someone A Gun Just Because He Or She Is On The Watch List.”
“According to the News, FBI spokesman Carl Schlaff ‘said there’s no cause to deny someone a gun just because he or she is on the watch list. Some people are on the list simply because the FBI wants to interview them about someone else who may have a connection to terrorism. ‘You’re innocent until proven guilty,’ he said.’” (Dave Kopel, “On Balance, Post Has Less,” Rocky Mountain News, 3/26/05)