Air marshals' names tagged on 'no-fly' list

Discussion in 'Travel News' started by bambbbam2, May 4, 2008.

  1. bambbbam2

    bambbbam2 Active Member

    Feb 13, 2005
    Perth, WA

    Some federal air marshals have been denied entry to flights they are assigned to protect when their names matched those on the terrorist no-fly list, and the agency says it's now taking steps to make sure their agents are allowed to board in the future.

    The problem with federal air marshals (FAM) names matching those of suspected terrorists on the no-fly list has persisted for years, say air marshals familiar with the situation.

    One air marshal said it has been “a major problem, where guys are denied boarding by the airline.”

    “In some cases, planes have departed without any coverage because the airline employees were adamant they would not fly,” the air marshal said. “I've seen guys actually being denied boarding.”

    A second air marshal says one agent “has been getting harassed for six years because his exact name is on the no-fly list.”

    Earlier this month the agency issued a new security directive (SD) “to address those situations where air carriers deny FAMs boarding based on 'no-fly list' names matches.”

    The memo was issued April 23 from the assistant director of the office of flight operations.

    Gregory Alter, spokesman for the Federal Air Marshal Service, said the new directive “mitigates any misidentification concerns by empowering airlines to quickly clear an air marshal’s status after positively identifying their law enforcement status.”

    “In rare instances air marshals, like all travelers, are occasionally misidentified as being on a watch because of name or personal identifier similarities to individuals actually on the lists,” Mr. Alter said.

    The air marshal service does not release how many agents are employed, and declined to specify the number of agents whose names are similar to those of wanted or suspected terrorists.

    The new procedures are classified as “sensitive security information” and address both domestic and international check-in procedures.

    “FAMs may encounter situations where this SD has not yet reached every air carrier customer service representative (CSR),” the memo said.

    “If a FAM is denied boarding based on 'no fly list' issues, FAMS should request to speak to an air carrier supervisory CSR. If the air carrier continues to deny the FAM a boarding pass, FAMS should contact (their supervisor) as soon as possible for assistance,” the memo said.
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  2. JohnK

    JohnK Veteran Member

    Mar 22, 2005
    BNE, SYD and CNX
    I would have thought that the chances an air marshall had the same name as a known terrorist would be very remote. But then again stranger things have happened....
  3. oz_mark

    oz_mark Enthusiast

    Jun 30, 2002
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    Given the small number of air marshalls to normal flyers, there must be a whole lot of Joe Blow flyers that appear in the list.
  4. Lord Mud

    Lord Mud Member

    Jul 16, 2008
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    I think this article is getting its lists just a tad confused.. I mean the liklihood of a FAM named Osama or Khalid is highly unlikely. I think the list they are referring to is the one about nuisance flyers, eg those that have been banned and the like.. I would expect that if they were on the "terrorist list" that other LEA's (because remember they don't communicate that well amongst each other) would be busting nuts to get at them for a trip down to Gitmo.. if that statement actually holds any longer.
  5. Sunstar320

    Sunstar320 Active Member

    Jul 22, 2008
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    Bit O/T, but do Australian Carriers have air marshals on sectors? Always wondered this??

  6. Mal

    Mal Enthusiast

    Dec 25, 2004
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    #6 Mal, Jan 23, 2009
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2009
  7. medhead

    medhead Suspended

    Feb 13, 2008
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    #7 medhead, Jan 23, 2009
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2009
    Osama and Khalid are not the only names on the list. The USA has a wide disversity of ethnic background among its people. It is highly likely that they would be a cross over and there have been documented case of confusion with the terrorist list. - Cat Stevens for a start. Or do you think that air marshalls are only WASPs.

    Nevertheless here are some example names allegedly on the no fly list. Susan Becker, Robert Johnson, Gary Smith and John Williams.

    Lucky the new prez (middle name Hussein) has a private aircraft. :rolleyes:

    some reading
    Unlikely Terrorists On No Fly List, Steve Kroft Reports List Includes President Of Bolivia, Dead 9/11 Hijackers - CBS News

    No-fly list mix-up disrupts California congresswoman's travel
    ‘No-fly’ list delays Marine's homecoming - Conflict in Iraq-
  8. SeaWolf

    SeaWolf Active Member

    Jan 24, 2007
    The no-fly list has had a number of high profile problems:
    From the Washington Post, August 20th 2004:
    Sen. Kennedy Flagged by No-Fly List (

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