JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer is calling on the FBI to add anyone identified breaching the Capitol during last week’s violent riot to the federal no-fly list, and the bureau is considering the proposal.
Schumer sent a letter Tuesday to FBI Director Christopher Wray, saying the attack on the Capitol as Congress was voting to affirm President-elect Joe Biden’s win was “domestic terrorism.” He said those who stormed the Capitol should qualify as “insurrectionists for the No-Fly List.”
Schumer told Wray that they must also be fully prosecuted to the full extent of federal law. The letter was obtained by The Associated Press.
“We are concerned about these people getting back on airplanes and doing more violence,” Schumer said during a Tuesday news conference. “Ahead of the concern for possible future attacks and with the law on our side, we are to say that these insurrectionists, many of whom are known to be at large, should not be able to hop on a flight. We are today, we are here today because the folks, the people, the insurrectionists who breached the US Capitol fall under the definition of threats to the homeland and should be immediately added to the TSA no-fly list.”
The federal no-fly list is part of the U.S. government’s Terrorist Screening Database and prohibits anyone who “may pose a threat to civil aviation or national security” from boarding a commercial aircraft. Generally, in order to be placed on the list, the government must have information that the person presents “a threat of committing terrorism” to the aircraft or the U.S. homeland or U.S. facilities.
Jacksonville aviation attorney Ed Booth has represented clients placed on a no fly-list. Booth says after someone purchases a ticket online, an airline computer begins an automated research of the name to see if that person is banned from either flying that airline in particular or if they appear on a federal no-fly list. That person won’t find out until they get to an airport.
Anyone who is on a no-fly list can legally challenge their name being places on the list. Under certain circumstances, those people may still be able to fly while their status is under review. When they book a flight online, they have to look for what’s called a redress number.
“That is specifically for people who are on the no-fly list and have received clearance to fly and are given a secret code to enter when they book a flight to avoid problems,” Booth said.
Depending on why someone’s name is on the list can dictate how hard it is to get off the list. If it’s an issue with someone having the same name as a person who has caused trouble, the process of getting of the list is much easier. Booth says in that scenario, it could take up to six months to have a name removed from the list.