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Man Put On "No-Fly List" While In Air To NYC 300

Posted by samzenpus
from the beware-the-list-refresh dept.
An unnamed man flying from Nigeria to New York City found out he was added to a no-fly list somewhere above the Atlantic Ocean, when the plane stopped to refuel in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Officials won't say what he did or why he was added to the list after he had already boarded a flight. He was not immediately charged with a crime and Customs and Border Protection will only say that he is a "potential person of interest." From the article: "The man, a citizen of Gambia, was not on the no-fly list when he boarded the aircraft in Dakar, Senegal, said a US official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the issue publicly."

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Man Put On "No-Fly List" While In Air To NYC

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  • by Monkeedude1212 (1560403) on Friday April 23, 2010 @02:25PM (#31959322) Journal

    Do they still put Parachutes on airliners?

  • by surmak (1238244) on Friday April 23, 2010 @02:36PM (#31959448)

    Perhaps this case is an exception, but I have always fest that the no-fly list is one of the dumbest ideas out there. In a criminal case (which terrorism and conspiracy are) you do not want to let the suspect know you are on to them until the cops come to arrest them. With the watch lists, all a sleeper has to do is take a commercial flight, and they will immediately know if they are on a watch list.

    Not to mention the civil liberties abuses that result when someone is denied the right to travel (by air) with due process, no notification, and no effective means of appeal.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Kamokazi (1080091)

      Perhaps this case is an exception, but I have always fest that the no-fly list is one of the dumbest ideas out there. In a criminal case (which terrorism and conspiracy are) you do not want to let the suspect know you are on to them until the cops come to arrest them.

      Considering the main point of the no-fly list is to prevent suicide bombings, combined with the fact that it's hard to arrest a corpse, I think the preventative method is a better choice.

      (I am in no way endorsing the no-fly list, just using some sarcastic humor to point out the part the parent missed)

      • by 2obvious4u (871996) on Friday April 23, 2010 @02:56PM (#31959758)

        Considering the main point of the no-fly list is to prevent suicide bombings, combined with the fact that it's hard to arrest a corpse, I think the preventative method is a better choice.

        Except for the fact that the percentage of suicide bombers vs the number of passenger miles flown is so ridiculously small it shouldn't warrant such a heavy handed response. Even if we removed all the security from airports there probably wouldn't be that many more incidents if any. Also within minutes of the 9/11 attacks when people realized that hi-jackers weren't taking planes for joy rides to Cuba anymore; the passengers of planes started to keep an eye out for suspicious behavior and started reacting to threats. Starting with Flight 93 planes have already secured themselves; had the Flight 93 passengers realized sooner what the cooks with box cutters were doing they may have even been able to safely land their plane.

        • by rickb928 (945187) on Friday April 23, 2010 @03:47PM (#31960444) Homepage Journal

          "Except for the fact that the percentage of suicide bombers vs the number of passenger miles flown is so ridiculously small it shouldn't warrant such a heavy handed response. Even if we removed all the security from airports there probably wouldn't be that many more incidents if any"

          I disagree with your assessment. Hijackings to Cuba were in the vogue until security made them pretty much pointless. Suicide bombers don't actually want to anywhere but heaven, so any destination for the plane is both irrelevant and moot, though you could make the point that U.S. bound planes would be more popular than others.

          Actually, try leaving your front door open at home, and announcing that fact down at the local coffee shop. repeatedly. See how that lack of security works for ya. Haven't seen anyone scratching at your door lately, have you? Must not be any real problem.

          And suicide bombers are at least as motivated as your local meth head getting a cuppa at Starbucks.

          • And suicide bombers are at least as motivated as your local meth head getting a cuppa at Starbucks.

            Since when could meth heads afford Starbucks?

            On a more serious note, your post does nothing to address the fact that the no-fly list is a waste of time and money as a preventive measure, because it catches orders of magnitude more innocent flyers (including one US Senator) than actual terrorist suspects.

            • by rickb928 (945187) on Friday April 23, 2010 @05:19PM (#31961766) Homepage Journal

              Delaying the innocent is annoying, but not a sign of failure.

              Not preventing an known suspect who then does cause harm, that would be a failure.

              This is the dilemma we face. If we succeed in keeping bad guys off the planes, we will not know how many gave up at security checkpoints and went home. We'll know if it fails, though.

              And Senators could learn a lot by having to deal with what *we* deal with

              • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                by sortius_nod (1080919)

                It's not "delaying innocent" people, it's refusing to allow people to fly and giving them no reason or recourse for it.

                Just another example of US paranoia, nothing more.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Lehk228 (705449)
            so how exactly does having the suicide bombers set off their bomb in a crowded security terminal help anything?

            just admit it, the post-9/11 security changes have been pointless security theater meant to placate the pants-shitters rather than prevent actual attacks.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by selven (1556643)

            And we now have security. The locked and reinforced doors to the cabin. That's what would have completely prevented 9/11, and with that the only thing we realistically need is explosive/bioweapon sniffing.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Anonymous Coward

            So I'm sure you'll ignore this as it doesn't fit into your dogma, but I live in a pretty rough neighborhood. I never thought so until the police told me that there is more crime in my area than in what I thought was the bad part of town. There is a soup kitchen at the end of my street and a pretty much non-stop stream of homeless people wondering between there and the library (apparently the library is a convenient place where young girls can be found).

            For a period of time, I had a roommate. He had an ex

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by c6gunner (950153)

          Except for the fact that the percentage of suicide bombers vs the number of passenger miles flown is so ridiculously small it shouldn't warrant such a heavy handed response.

          I agree completely. Proactive responses are pointless, everyone knows that! That's why I've been working hard over the last year to convince my city that we don't need a fire department, smoke alarms, or all those silly building-codes designed to prevent fires. We have so few people die in fires that there's clearly no way to justify such over-the-top policies.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by DragonWriter (970822)

        Considering the main point of the no-fly list is to prevent suicide bombings,

        No, the main point of the no fly list is:
        (1) to present the appearance of "doing something" about terrorism without any accountability for actually doing anything (i.e., security theater), and
        (2) to get people used to tolerating arbitrary and unaccountable deprivations of liberty without due process.

        Its probably more successful at the latter than the former, as most people don't seem to be fooled into thinking it actually provides

    • Would you rather they enforce a no-fly list for "people of interest" (often because they attended terrorist training camps, or that we have to remove yet another piece of clothing in the airport for security theater?

      • by mwvdlee (775178) on Friday April 23, 2010 @03:06PM (#31959892) Homepage

        I'd rather have neither.
        People seem to forget that THAT is also an option.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Enderandrew (866215)

          Not really. Everytime we have an underwear-bomber, we need a useless knee-jerk reaction to make people feel safe.

          • by nospam007 (722110) *

            "Not really. Everytime we have an underwear-bomber,..."

            We need to capture one with a bomb where the sun doesn't shine, that would get rid of the underwear problem.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by mweather (1089505)
        How about we just make it illegal to attend a terrorist training camp and arrest those who do? Last I checked, convicts have their own airline.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by h4rr4r (612664)

        I choose neither.

        Lightning has killed more folks in the past 50 years than terrorism in the USA.

        You are hundreds of times more likely to die in your car on the way to the airport than in an airline related terrorist attack.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        There is no stated reason for getting on the no fly list. You are not allowed to ask why you are on it and you are not allowed to challenge it. There are babies on the list. Dead people are on the list. How the hell did they attend a terrorist training camp?
    • by dkleinsc (563838) on Friday April 23, 2010 @02:52PM (#31959696) Homepage

      That would be if your actual goal was to capture terrorists, convince them to talk, capture more terrorists, etc. If on the other hand your goal is to harass people who are a color or religion you don't like, then they're very very effective. And the best part is that through these petty annoyances you convince more of them that the US is in fact the great evil that should be wiped off the face of the earth, making sure that no matter how many bad guys you capture you're never going to be out of a job.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by socz (1057222)
        In Arizona they're trying to pass a no walk/swim list law so they can question anyone who "looks like they could be in the country illegally." Poor native americans, they'll never know what hit them!
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Abstrackt (609015)

          In Arizona they're trying to pass a no walk/swim list law so they can question anyone who "looks like they could be in the country illegally." Poor native americans, they'll never know what hit them!

          At first I laughed when I read your comment, but I'm less and less sure it's a joke.

        • Ah, Arizona - the bastion for rational thinking when it comes to discrimination. They have even recently decided to oficially recognize Martin Luther King day. Hooray for Arizona!
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      you have no right to travel by air. even to petition your government. the federal court claimed you have available alternatives that are "just as good". apparently we're expected to get on a horse and take 3-5 months traveling from the west coast to the east coast. it was good enough in the 1800s, the last time the judges did it, dammit. and you Hawaiians and Alaskans? Better work on that side stroke. (It takes ID for Alaskans to go through Canada.)

      http://www.papersplease.org/wp/ [papersplease.org]
      http://www.papersplea [papersplease.org]

      • by zill (1690130) on Friday April 23, 2010 @03:55PM (#31960572)

        you have no right to travel by air.

        Does any article of the Constitution specifically deny me the right to air travel?

        If not, then the Ninth Amendment grants me that right.

      • it was good enough in the 1800s, the last time the judges did it, dammit.

        Now, now...no making fun of the barely living fossils that make up our Supreme Court just because they're a bunch of clueless ninnies who are so far out of touch with modern reality. Our founding fathers thought it would be a good idea they be appointed for life, and just because history has shown that to be a terrible idea does not mean we're going to change it any time soon!
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by scharkalvin (72228)

      Not to mention the errors made in adding names to the list. A coworkers 6 year old son was on the list, they discovered this while checking in to board a flight while on vacation. The airport officials had the good common sense to realize a 6 year old kid isn't a terrorist and let them all board the flight. Now they have to go through channels to get the kid removed from the NFL.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by vxice (1690200)
      here is a partial list. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_fly_list#False_positives_and_other_controversial_cases [wikipedia.org] note that senator Kennedy once was stopped because the name T Kennedy was on the list as an alias and it took him 3 weeks to have his name removed. by the way it was estimated that 7,000 Americans match that 'name'
      • by zill (1690130)

        by the way it was estimated that 7,000 Americans match that 'name'

        I sure hope these 7,000 potential terrorists have been arrested and sent to Guantanamo Bay already.

        Especially that senator. He's the most suspicious one out of all of them, being a senator and all.

    • by Mr. Freeman (933986) on Friday April 23, 2010 @04:19PM (#31960904)
      You're making the false assumption that the no fly list is there to prevent terrorism.

      Think about this for 10 seconds. If you had evidence that someone was going to blow up an airplane then you should arrest the fucker. Just as if you had evidence that someone was going to rob a bank you'd arrest him.
      If you have NO evidence that someone was going to commit a crime then you shouldn't do shit and just let him on his way.

      The no fly list says "we have no evidence regarding you, so you're not a threat in the eyes of the LAW, but we're going to restrict your freedom anyway." It's shit like this, the removal of our freedom for no reason, that seriously warrants armed rebellion against the government.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Darinbob (1142669)
      And what's the whole point of it? You're not a criminal (yet) but have no other restrictions on your life except for being forbidden to use one particular public means of transportation. Big deal. If someone really is a terrorist, being on a no-fly list does nothing to stop them. Nothing. They'll take a train, or a boat, or a car. If they want to blow up bridge or a building they won't need an airplane to do it.

      Being on a no-fly list is not the same as being forbidden from entering the country. Many
  • by houstonbofh (602064) on Friday April 23, 2010 @02:38PM (#31959474)
    And people wonder why airline travel is down in the US. Or, to the US for that matter.
    • by gyrogeerloose (849181) on Friday April 23, 2010 @02:52PM (#31959700) Journal

      And people wonder why airline travel is down in the US. Or, to the US for that matter.

      I'll give you an example of why airline travel is down in the US:

      I flew from San Diego to San Francisco last weekend and got pulled aside because of some ham radio equipment (two small VHF hand-held transceivers) in my carry-on bag. I explained what they were while the TSA guy ripped everything out of my bag and ran it all through the X-ray machine again. Then I explained it all again to his supervisor. Took about a half hour but, "fortunately," my flight was delayed two hours so I was okay.

      Any other old greybeards out there remember when flying was fun? An adventure, rather than a big PITA only slightly better than traveling on a Greyhound bus?

      • by FrozenGeek (1219968) on Friday April 23, 2010 @02:58PM (#31959804)
        Yeah, when I was a kid, flying was an adventure and a lot of fun. Now it's a PITA. It's been several years since I seriously considered a vacation that involved flying. I'd rather drive. If I have to fly to do it, odds are I'm not going to do it. If my attitude spreads, the airlines are in trouble.
      • by AndersOSU (873247) on Friday April 23, 2010 @03:19PM (#31960076)

        I'd be surprised if security theater accounts form more than 0.5% of the decrease in domestic air travel. People just don't care. Air travel is down domestically because prices are up and theres a recession. Nothing more, nothing less.

        Now tourism may have suffered because the US is perceived (accurately?) to have become less friendly for foreigners - but the airport rigmarole is only tangentially related to even that.

        • Why the fuck is this modded troll?
        • by tsalmark (1265778) on Friday April 23, 2010 @03:35PM (#31960306) Homepage
          As a non US citizen that has traveled far less to the US since 2000 I can assure you border crossings, be that air or land, account for most of the reason I'm not there as much.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by selven (1556643)

          It's not just people refusing to have their private parts scanned as a matter of principle. It's also people who decide it's simply too much of a headache, with the airport security and the customs forms only being subconsciously incorporated into their thoughts. When I'm flying, I'm always, in the back of my mind, afraid. Not of terrorists, who kill less air travellers than bad weather, but of the security. I'm afraid of being detained for hours because I lost some critical document or made a mistake in fi

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by DragonWriter (970822)

          I'd be surprised if security theater accounts form more than 0.5% of the decrease in domestic air travel. People just don't care.

          Since it has substantially increased door-to-door travel times when their is commercial air travel anywhere in the process, and since travel time is the big selling point of air travel over other forms of travel, I suspect its a much bigger factor than that, particular for shorter flights.

      • Yeah, I remember... (Score:4, Interesting)

        by IANAAC (692242) on Friday April 23, 2010 @04:03PM (#31960688)

        Any other old greybeards out there remember when flying was fun? An adventure, rather than a big PITA only slightly better than traveling on a Greyhound bus?

        Yeah, I remember. It used to be ungodly expensive to fly, and we actually dressed nice just to get on a plane. It actually felt civilized.

        Now we have cut-rate prices and slobs in flip-flops and mustard-stained t-shirts belching all around us. Sorry if that sounds elitist. It isn't. Lower prices ALWAYS bring the hoards, civilized or not.

        The PITA, slightly better-than-Greyhound travel isn't really all due to the nonsense security we have now, though. Let's be clear on that.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          Sorry if that sounds elitist. It isn't.

          Apropos of the validity or accuracy of your point, let's be clear:

          You were, in fact, actually being entirely elitist.

      • I was at the airport waiting to give a vistor a ride. There had been a story on the news the night before about some new device that scans your hands for explosive residue. It had some sort of pad that was wiped over the skin.I wanted to know if the device uses a fluid because of allergies.

        It was very slow at the moment and because there was a bored TSA employee sitting at a station to make sure nobody went the wrong way at security, I walked up to her and asked about the device.

        She first said it did not e

    • by blair1q (305137)

      It's because business is going to China and toursim is going to the UAE.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Heem (448667)

      Absolutely right! I haven't flown since pre-September 2001, and have no plans of doing so anytime soon, or in the future. I'd rather drive then deal with the security theater and the possibility that I'd be harassed, even though I have nothing to hide or have done nothing wrong. I've heard way too many stories of innocent people being detained for just having a similar name to someone "of interest".. I'll drive.

  • My bet... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by beefnog (718146)
    I'd be willing to wager that the traits making him a person of interest are:

    - coming from a county known to have a large islamic population
    - being non-white
    - having " al" or "bin" somewhere in his name

    But rest assured, we're being protected from something, somewhere, for some reason!
  • Just more evidence (Score:5, Insightful)

    by XxtraLarGe (551297) on Friday April 23, 2010 @02:40PM (#31959510) Journal
    The terrorists have already won.
  • The Gambia (Score:5, Informative)

    by penguinchris (1020961) <penguinchris.gmail@com> on Friday April 23, 2010 @02:48PM (#31959624) Homepage

    This country is, funnily enough, actually called "The Gambia" [wikipedia.org], not Gambia, and it's got a really funny shape [google.com] that follows the course of the Gambia River. A pretty interesting place, actually.

    • by vux984 (928602)

      From your own link "Republic of The Gambia"

      "The Gambia, officially the Republic of The Gambia and which is commonly known as Gambia by its residents"

  • I can imagine the flight attendant: "Sir, you have to get out of the plane. Now".

  • by PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) on Friday April 23, 2010 @02:52PM (#31959698)

    "Hi, I'm your stewardess. Would you like chicken or beef for your meal?"

    "Oh, and please give me your shoes and underpants."

    "It's just normal procedure, sir."

    The poor captain: "Good Morning Air Traffic Control, I have some chop here, request permission to climb."

    Air Traffic Control: "Fuck the chop . . . you have a no fly passenger on board . . . good day!

  • Of course he was on the no-fly list. He wasn't a fly, after all.

  • Well, lucky for him, he wasn't put on a No-Land List while he was flying. Of course, it's usually the astronauts that get on that list.
  • Passenger Nbaye Beye said the man, who appeared to be in his late 20s, appeared nervous when approached by a U.S. agent but got off the plane quietly.

    Really, someone who was announced by the captain of the flight, to everyone onboard, that he was a "serious security risk", got nervous when approached by what could be assumed to be an armed federal agent???

    Yeah. Because I NEVER get nervous after being called a serious security risk and being approached by a federal officer...

    <facepalm>

    This guy's luck

  • by still cynical (17020) on Friday April 23, 2010 @03:51PM (#31960510) Homepage

    Putting aside for the moment the question of whether or not the "no-fly" lists serve a legitimate purpose (they don't), what should they have done? If information indicating a particular person may be dangerous comes in while someone is already in transit, should they have just said "Damn, if we had been a little quicker we wouldn't let you in, but you beat the buzzer. We suspect you're a terrorist, but since you had already left you can come in this time. But next time, forget it!"

    • by Locke2005 (849178)
      There shouldn't be a "no fly" list at all. There should, however, be a list of people for whom more rigorous screening is mandatory, e.g. the "you can go ahead and fly right after you submit to this full body cavity search" list.
  • He tried to detonate his tighty-whiteys, this time. That's progress, I guess.
  • stop tagging this story with politically correct or watered down words people. this is outright fascism. denying right to travel on undeclared, non court warranted 'suspicion'.

    if someone is guilty, you charge them. if someone is persona non grata, you extradite them. you do not do such charade like 'no fly lists'.

    its a remnant of bush era stupor, and it smells cheney all around. it should go.

  • by VeteranNoob (1160115) on Friday April 23, 2010 @04:06PM (#31960718)

    First we had a "suspect." Then there was a "person of interest." Now we have a "potential person of interest." Where does it end?

    Suspect
    Somebody suspected of a crime
    Person of Interest
    Somebody suspected of a crime without direct evidence
    Potential Person of Interest
    Somebody not yet suspected of a crime but will be harassed anyway

    Let me propose...

    Person Capable of Wrongdoing
    Somebody who doesn't agree with you and will have their lives ruined
    Person Who Hasn't Committed a Crime Yet, But Probably Will One Day
    Everybody else waiting for the Gestapo to show at the door

One possible reason that things aren't going according to plan is that there never was a plan in the first place.

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